By admin on July 26, 2008

Before you choose a Danish sperm bank (or an anonymous sperm donor), please try and remember that many donor conceived people want very badly to connect with their half siblings and/or donors.

February 01, 2008
Danish Sperm Bank Deposits to Remain Tax-Free and Anonymous

By Daryl Lindsey

For a while, it seemed the stream of male students visiting the Cryos sperm bank in Aarhus, Denmark might dry up. But a recent decision by the Danish Tax Ministry means that donors can remain anonymous and won’t be forced to report their earnings to the tax man.

For the better part of two decades, young men could step into the offices of Denmark’s largest sperm bank in Aarhus and make a deposit. For their trouble, and depending on the quality and quantity of his semen, the average Lars, Anders or Niels could earn anywhere from 267 to 500 crowns for a few minutes of his trouble. A perfect way for a cash-strapped student to earn book money.It was also, the government thought, a great way for the state to earn a bit of extra money. In 2004, the Danish Tax Ministry began an offensive that threatened to tax sperm donors — thereby eliminating anonymity and endangering the supply of donors coming through the doors. Indeed, it is only now, after long negotiations with the government and a decision by the Tax Ministry to allow donors to remain anonymous that Cryos International, one of the world’s leading sperm banks, can breathe a sigh of relief.

“We started giving out a questionnaire,” Cryos CEO Ole Schou told SPIEGEL ONLINE, “and it turned out that only 7 percent would continue (to donate) if they had to register. People just didn’t want to give up their anonymity. It sent us a strong signal that if the Tax Office succeeded with its policy, we were going to have major problems. We probably would have had to close down in Denmark.”

The problems started when Tax Ministry officials decided that donating sperm should be considered the same as any other taxable labor — no different from pulling a pint or working as a soda jerk. But the reporting requirement would have required donors to register by name. Furthermore, for students, who make up the bulk of sperm donors in Denmark, reporting those earnings might have meant a loss of student loans and other subsidies.

Schou says the intense media coverage of the tax office strife contributed to a significant drop in sperm donors at his Aarhus bank in 2006. When the maelstrom calmed in 2007, though, Danes started lining up again.

And late in December, the media reported this week, the Tax Ministry partially backed down, saying the country’s sperm banks could continue their practice of accepting anonymous donations. Although fees paid by sperm banks in Denmark to donors had always been tax deductible, in 2004 the Tax Office moved to force banks to report the names of donors who had received the payments. The Tax Office has now dropped that requirement. Technically, sperm donors are required to claim such payments on their taxes, but the new system relies on good-faith and has no controls in place to conduct witch hunts of sperm donors who don’t declare their earnings.

A Global Leader in Sperm Banking

Under new European Union regulations issued in April 2007, member states are required to register sperm donations, but there are no rules regarding anonymity. In Denmark, anonymous donations are permitted under what Schou describes as a “politically responsible” policies that ensure a steady supply of sperm donors and prevent the creation of black markets or the promotion of “fertility tourism” to other countries. Britain two years ago passed a law requiring the disclosure upon request of donors once the children conceived with their sperm came of age. Other European countries have also imposed similar or more limited restrictions on anonymity, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Austria.

In its 20 years in business, Cryos has become an international force — selling its Danish sperm around the world and helping around 15,000 women to become pregnant, Schou says. The Danish English weekly Copenhagen Post has even described it as “one of the country’s great export success stories of the last decade.” That accomplishment even earned Cryos headlines in the English-language press — most, of course, based on caricatures of Scandinavia: “Vikings’ test tube invasion,” “The Vikings Are Back for Britain’s Women,” or “Tall, Blond and Danish?”

But Schou, who is not a doctor and has a business degree — downplays the blond-hair, blue-eye factor. Indeed, the Cryos homepage shows a quartet of babies representing a handful of ethnicities. “It’s actually a problem for us that we can only supply donors from Denmark who are blond-haired and blue-eyed,” he says, “but we have to take what we get, and about 90 percent of the Danish population is blond. But we also have a few brown-eyed donors.”

Cryos, though, is expanding internationally, and it soon hopes to offer a bank of 1,500 sperm donations a year from offices in different parts of the world, including a new branch in New York. Schou is banking on the fact that Cryos will soon have a bigger gene pool to sell.

By admin on July 25, 2008

This information was taken from both the CLI and Fairfax websites. It
was sent to me by a member. I question a few things….4-5,000
children born each year from DI? All other estimates hover around
30,000-40,000. How in the world is anyone getting any numbers that
they then present as truth?! And they think it’s rare to have more
than 20 siblings for any given donor? As the DSR is a small sampling
of donor families, I think we’ve shown that to not be the case. Also,
we have heard several times of women meeting up in a park, or party
and discovering that their kids were half siblings. It does indeed
happen. Donor siblings can connect from “various sites that third
parties set up…”? If you knew how many times I have called these
sperm bank directors to have them please tell their clients about the
DSR. Also, when an anonymous donor changes his mind about connecting
with families, he is not allowed to know his donor number. Fairfax and
CLI will not release donor numbers to their former donors. So if a
donor wanted to share important medical information (or just connect)
with their offspring listed on the DSR, the bank would prohibit this
from happening. “Protecting families”? I think not. Protecting themselves…I
think so.

From the sites:

“The typical family who uses donor sperm is changing. Originally donor
insemination was offered exclusively to married couples who were
experiencing infertility. Today, infertile couples are still helped by
donor sperm but other types of families are as well. Single women are
increasingly choosing to have children on their own with the help of
donor sperm. Same sex couples are, too. Where 20 years ago it was
easier to keep the donor sperm story a secret, it is now much more
obvious when a father is not around while a child is growing up.
Children born from donor sperm are learning about the circumstances of
their conception in ever increasing numbers. We estimate that now
about 4,000 to 5,000 children a year are born in the US as the result
of anonymous donor insemination.

Today, we ask all new donors if they want to be known. If they agree,
they become an ID Consent donor. If they decline, they will remain
anonymous. All donors who began donating prior to 2005 signed an
agreement with us in which we agreed to keep their identifying
information private. Many families were created with the understanding
that their specific donor would be anonymous forever, and they very
much want this information to stay private. We have very specific
understandings with donors and families that we will protect the
information of not only the donor’s identity but also the identity of
the families who used that sperm donor. Our policy is that once a
donor is designated as an anonymous donor or an ID Consent donor, his
status cannot be changed, e.g. from an anonymous donor to an ID
Consent donor, or vice versa. Therefore, for our anonymous donors, we
are not mediating contact between families and their donors.

There is a considerable amount of information we do have on our
donors, both anonymous and ID consent, that is extremely valuable in
learning about the donor as a person rather than a cold statistic.
Donors today have audio interviews recorded, childhood photos, some
have adult photos, and all have detailed medical and personal
histories. Their ethnicity, talents, interests, and even their
favorite color and song are presented. Donors who are no longer
donating also have information saved. (See more about donor
information at this webpage about donor information.) In addition,
half siblings who are interested are able to connect with each other
via various sites third parties set up for this purpose on the web.
Although the donor may be unknown, half siblings often find shared
traits that they determine are likely from their biological fathers.
This discovery of sibling relationships, along with the extensive
information already available on the donor, may help some children as
they seek to learn more about their genetic heritage.

Donor sperm from one donor usually results in several pregnancies over
many years. Some families store units from the same donor in order to
have biologically full siblings, so the age range of all the children
from the same donor may be considerable. In accordance with the
guidelines set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine
(ASRM), we strictly limit the number of donor units sent to the same
geographic area. But since donor sperm is shipped all over the US and
several other countries, the donor usually sells out before he reaches
our distribution limit. It is highly unlikely you would ever meet
another one of your half siblings randomly, (i.e., someone who was
conceived with the exact same donor). It is rare for one of our donors
to have more than 20 reported offspring.”

By admin on July 24, 2008

We are looking into have a Q & A page where donors can answer as many of these questions as they are comfortable with, within their DSR posting. For now though, here is a listing of some of the things donor conceived people would like to know about their unknown sperm donors. If you are currently a posted donor, answering some of these questions within the body of your posting (until we create a separate page just for the Q & A’s)  would be very helpful.

What types of skills come from your family (art, scientific,
Do I have siblings?
Where did you grow up?
When did you start to see gray hair?
Are there illnesses in the family (asthma, diabetes, high blood
pressure, heart disease, cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, learning
disabilities, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse?
Do you wear glasses?
Are there twins in the family?
Why did you donate sperm?
What was the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Do you speak any other languages?
Do you have a sense of humor?
What type of sports do you like?
What type of art do you like?
Are you religious? Spiritual?
What political party do you belong to?
What organizations do you support?
What size shoe do you wear?
What are your pet peeves?
If you won the lottery, what wish would you make come true?
What career did you want to follow as a child?
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite animal?
When is your birthday?
Do I have any uncles, aunts?
If you are married, does your wife know that you donated?
What are your hobbies?
Do you play an instrument?
Are there any interesting stories about your early childhood/
What are your values?
What type of moral behavior is important to you?
What is the average height in your family?  How tall are your mother,
sisters & aunts or father, brothers, & uncles?
Do you like to travel?
Are men bald in your family?
What kind of books do you read?
How do you handle conflict?
Are you kind?
Are you happy?
Did you have a good relationship with his parents?
What is your favorite vehicle?
Do you worry about the environment?
Do you hunt?
Are you a vegetarian?
Do you openly trust people?
Do you have many friends?
Do you like to dance?
Do you like to sing?
What type of music do you like?
What type of landscape is your favorite?
What is your favorite season and why?
May I have a photo of your parents or grandparents?
Are there things that you hoped to pass on to me?
Do you think about me?
Who have you told?
How did your ancestors come to this country?
Are you married?
What is your profession?
Do you have children? If so, will you tell a bit about them?
How did you meet your wife/husband/significant other?
What’s your favorite joke?
What is the saddest thing that ever happened to you?
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
What generation do you feel a part of?
What great cause do you feel strongly about?
Which ancestor do you admire most?
What’s your family’s “brush with history”?
What did your ancestors do for a living?
What was your childhood like?
What subject in school were you best at?
What brand/model was the first car you drove? Owned?
What does that type of car say about you?
Do you have a nickname? How did you get that nickname?
Where have you traveled? Farthest? Most memorable?
What is you dream destination and why?
What is your best accomplishment or proudest moment of your life (so far)?
Favorite memory of mother?
Favorite memory of father?
Favorite memory of grandparents?
Did you get into trouble as a child?
What was the worst thing you did as a child?
Share one of the “stories you never told your parents”?
Who were your friends when you were young?