Unknown Donor

Definition - What does Unknown Donor mean?

An unknown donor is an egg, sperm or embryo donor who is unknown to the recipient. This means that they are not a friend, family member or personal acquaintance of the intended recipient.

Fertility clinics can typically offer access to unknown egg, sperm and embryo donors. The donor goes through a process of screening, counseling and consent before donation takes place. Clinic-recruited donors (unknown donors) do not have any legal responsibilities or rights to a child.

With the availability of at-home genetic testing, it is likely not possible to ensure the ongoing anonymity of an unknown donor.

FertilitySmarts explains Unknown Donor

Countries vary in their laws regarding unknown donors. Some types of unknown donors may be able to be identified; others may not.

A donor-conceived person from an anonymous donor typically does not have rights to identifying information about the donor. An identifiable donor is unknown to the recipient at the time of donation but can be identified when the child has turned 18. They are sometimes referred to as an "open donor." An ID release donor can be identified by the recipient and/or the donor-conceived person at a specified time.

Persons who are considering an unknown sperm, egg or embryo donor through a clinic will usually begin by reviewing donor profiles. Donor profiles offer the potential recipient basic non-identifying background information to consider, and might also include baby photos of the donor. The profile will also include information on whether the donor wishes to remain anonymous or whether they are willing to be identified.

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