How Do Sperm Donation Laws Differ By State?

Infertility plagues many couples and families, completely preventing them from having children. One of the solutions to this problem is to receive a sperm donation, for this to happen, there needs to be a donor. There are many reasons why someone would donate sperm. First, donating sperm can be a great way to earn some extra cash, being a fantastic way to supplement your base income. In addition, it can be a great feeling knowing that you helped a family achieve their dreams of having a child. However, before you agree to become a sperm donor, there are some things you need to consider. In addition, sperm donation law varies from state to state, greatly altering the concerns of a potential donor. So, what do you need to look out for as a sperm donor, and how do different state fertility laws affect these concerns? Here’s how sperm donation laws differ by state. 

Parental Obligations

The first difference between sperm donation laws by state is the parental obligations of the sperm donor. Typically, if a child is conceived through sperm donation, the donor has no parental obligations towards the child. In most cases, when you donate sperm, the donor is only considered the child of the parent if there is a written agreement signed beforehand. However, that isn’t always the case across all states. While most states determine the father of the child by whoever is listed on the birth certificate, states like Pennsylvania determine parenthood by genetics. As a result, if you donate sperm in PA and show up on a genetic DNA test, you will be considered the legal parent with parental responsibilities of the child. When donating sperm, you typically don’t want to get tangled up in parental responsibilities or duties and are usually just looking for some quick cash. As a result, determining the parental obligations of a sperm donor in a specific state becomes extremely important. 


Another big concern as a sperm donor is anonymity. Some sperm donors wish to remain anonymous, wanting nothing to do with the children that are conceived from their donation. However, this sometimes conflicts with what the child wants, as they often want to know who helped contribute to their conception and what they’re like. Most states will allow the child to figure out the identity of the sperm donor once they reach adulthood, so that’s something you need to look out for. However, some states require different ages to lift anonymity, and some areas completely forgo the idea entirely. That being said, if you’re worried about staying anonymous as a sperm donor, then you should definitely look into your state’s laws around anonymity. 

Contract Agreements

When donating sperm, it is not uncommon to enter into a contractual agreement that outlines your parental involvement. The contract may be one that completely gives up your right as a parent of the child, forfeiting your potential rights as a parent. However, these types of agreements may not hold up in every single state. Due to this, in some states, you may have an agreement that states that you are not responsible for the child, only for a state court to determine you are required to take part in your parental obligations. Before you enter into any agreements or donate your sperm, ensure that the state law will actually uphold and honor that contract. Some states won’t, and if you’re not prepared, then you could end up being responsible for the child in those states. 

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