This page includes information pertaining specifically to the reproductive medicine industry. Learn about all the issues related to donor conception, including what's new in the industry and the related legal implications.

A note regarding the right to test your own or your child's DNA: No sperm bank has ever sued anyone for testing their own or their child's DNA. No sperm bank has ever sued anyone for reaching out to their own or their child's genetic relatives, including formerly "anonymous" donors. Thousands of donor families have connected via DNA websites since 2005 and only one was threatened with a fine, mother Danielle Teuscher. She then sued the sperm bank (California Cryobank/NW Cryo) and ended up walking away with a $75,000 settlement. See the related 2019-2020 Teuscher lawsuit documents below, along with the CBS News story, and the attorney's Q&A/case summary.

A note on the doctors who have been caught using their own sperm to impregnate their patients: While there are many more cases that we know about, beginning in the 1940s and ending in the late 1980s to early 1990s, here is a short list of the public cases involving doctors who have used their own sperm to impregnate their patients:

Dr. Mere Berger, Boston IVF
C.F. Douglas Ackman, McGill Clinic, Montreal
Martin Greenburg, NY
Marvin Yussman, Kentucky
Gerald Mortimer, Idaho
Donald Cline, Indianapolis, IN
Cecil Jacobson, Fairfax, VA
Roger Abdelmassih, Brazil
Ben Ramaley, Connecticut
Norman Barwin, Ottawa
Bertold Wiesner, UK
Thomas Lippert, Utah (convicted kidnapper)
Norman Tony Walker, South Africa
Jan Karbaat, Barendrecht, the Netherlands
Jan Beek, The Netherlands
Henk Nagel, The Netherlands
John Boyd Coates III, Vermont
Dr. Katzorke, Germany
Paul Jones, Colorado
Kim McMorries, Texas
Michael Kiken, Virginia
Phillip M. Milgram, California
Jan Wildschut, Zwolle, The Netherlands
Gary Vandenberg, California
Quincy Fortier, Nevada
Philip Peven, Michigan
David Claypool, Spokane, WA
Morris Wortman, Rochester, NY
Gary Phillip Wood, AR
James Blute III, AZ
Edwin Delfs, CA
Gary Don Davis, ID
Sidney Yugend, IA
Robert Tichell, NY
Dr. Burton Caldwell, Yale-New Haven Hospital 
Dr. John G. Marsh, Orlando, FL
Dr.John Doherty, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Christopher Herndon, WA
Dr. Merle Berger, MA

A note on "open" or "willing to be known" donors.  Our white paper. The Ambiguity of Open Gamete Donation.

November 2023 NEWS: NW Cryobank is closing on 12/20/23.

Bills Introduced and/or Passed

January 2023:  Maryland House Bill 482The bill proposed bringing the minimum donor age to 21 years old, limiting the number of families per donor to 25, and would give a donor-conceived person access to their donor's identity and medical history when they turn 18. June 2022: Fraud in Assisted Reproduction Act passed in Iowa.

June 2022: Iowa Bill 529: Fraud in Assisted Reproduction Act.

May 2022: Senate Bill 224 passed in the Colorado legislature. 


The bill prohibits gamete vendors in the state of Colorado, and out-of-state gamete vendors selling gametes to Colorado recipients from being permitted to facilitate an anonymous donation.

But....all sperm and eggs are and will still be sold as anonymous, be it for 18 years or forever. When the first donor child found their biological father via a DNA test in 2005, anonymity should have no longer been promised or mandated. Why continue to perpetuate the deception and false narrative of 18 years of anonymity?  And...nothing changes for the millions of donor-conceived people already born or for those who will be born in the next 3 years. We won’t know if anything has really changed until the year 2043 when the first affected donor children turn 18.

The bill states that any donor will be required to consent to the release of their medical history when any donor-conceived person, conceived using that donor’s gametes, reaches the age of 18. 
But... since the advent of sperm banks, for many decades, families have been receiving self-reported non-identifying medical information from donors on their donor profiles. This bill doesn’t mandate collecting, updating, or sharing new medical information with the families. So what changes?

The bill stops egg and sperm banks from permitting more than 25 family recipients for any given donor’s gametes. For counting purposes, the 25 families are based on “live births,” do not limit a family from additional siblings, and do not count family-to-family embryo donation. You can’t set “limits” until there is accurate record keeping, which doesn’t exist and can not without mandatory birth reporting. Facilities do not know how many children are born from any one donor. Many egg and sperm donors donate to more than one clinic.

So who will mandate, oversee, or pay for the new accurate record-keeping between now and 2043?
The answer: no one.

March 2022:Two bills recently introduced in Michigan make it a felony to provide false or misleading information related to an assisted reproduction procedure and permit victims (including offspring) to file suit for damages resulting from such information.

February 2022: California: Existing law requires the State Department of Public Health to license and regulate gamete banks, defined as tissue banks that collect, process, store, or distribute gametes, including facilities that provide professional reproductive services. (This bill passed 9/1/22)

December 2021: New York: Senate Bill S2122 the "donor-conceived person protection act" to ensure that reproductive tissue banks, licensed by the department of health, collect and verify medical, educational, and criminal felony history information from any donor it procures reproductive tissue from and to disseminate such information to a recipient before a recipient purchases or otherwise receives such tissue, and to donor-conceived persons, if any, when such persons turn eighteen years of age or earlier upon consent of the recipient parent or guardian; defines terms; makes related provisions.

Recent Media: What's New in the Donor Conception Industry?


Wendy Kramer, director and co-founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, disagrees. “[O]ur research paints a different picture. In our first published study of 155 egg donors, we found that 30.3% reported Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS),” she previously wrote. “In our second survey of 176 egg donors in 2014, we found that 32.4% of egg donors reported complications such as OHSS and infection. In our third Study of 363 egg donors in 2021, 22.4% reported experiencing OHSS.”

Wendy Kramer is working to change that. Her son, Ryan, was conceived with donor sperm and born in 1990. She was honest with him about his conception from an early age. When Ryan was about 6 years old, he asked to meet his biological father. The sperm bank wouldn’t share any information. So around 2000, Kramer started to connect with other people like her and Ryan to create The Donor Sibling Registry, a nonprofit organization that has enabled more than 25,000 half-siblings and/or their donors to meet to date (including many of Greene’s donor-conceived children). 

In 2005, Kramer’s son took a DNA test, which led mother and son to seek out and build a relationship with his biological father. To date, Wendy and Ryan Kramer have also identified 28 half-brothers and sisters. Kramer says that many of those siblings weren’t told by their parents that they were donor-conceived and were caught off-guard when they learned the truth through genetic testing. “You get families that are imploding. Kids who are struggling. Trauma,” she says. “Some of [Ryan’s] half-siblings thought it was a prank. They deleted the emails from the half-siblings saying, ‘Someone’s pranking people in 23andMe. My parents didn’t use a donor.’” 

Kramer recommends that donor parents tell their kids the truth before the child can even speak, and that sperm banks should enable connections at any age. Just as openness has risen around adoption, she’d like to see that happen with donor conception. “Then it’s just a part of their story to be proud of,” she says.

After a Connecticut woman took a DNA test, her life was turned upside down. She discovered she was likely a product of fertility fraud and that she had at least 22 half siblings, one of whom was her high school boyfriend.


A lawsuit accused the doctor of 'surreptitiously' inserting his sperm into the patient instead of a donor's.

December: Hey Reprotech

When the donor dies

Their donor died unexpectedly. Every time a new sibling finds them, they, the recipients — not the sperm bank, not the donor's family — have to break the news.

In June 2023, Anke Wesenbeek, a 30-year-old Belgian donor-conceived woman won a landmark court case after a year-long battle to gain information about her paternal heritage.

Both were from Utah and had sons born via IVF. But the Johnsons and the McNeils, it turned out, had much more in common than that …

Finding lots of siblings is common and a result of a lack of donor limitations, co-founder says
Wendy Kramer is a co-founder and director of the Donor Sibling Registry, a Colorado organization that helps people conceived via sperm, egg, or embryo donation find relatives. It happens every day through her organization, she said.

She has been connecting people from Siperko’s group for decades, including 38 of Siperko’s siblings. Altogether, the group has connected nearly 25,000 people with their half-siblings and biological parents. And while some people are happy to find so many siblings, there is still an underlying issue she wants to see addressed: a lack of limitations on donating sperm.

Many sperm banks initially promised that each donor would result in no more than 10 kids, Kramer said, but − evidenced by Siperko's case − that obviously didn't happen. 

What sperm banks are missing, Kramer said, is "accurate record-keeping on the children born."

“That's why we have so many half-sibling groups over 100 and even over 200," she told USA TODAY. "Those groups just keep growing.”

“We all came to understand that that was a complete lie and they still lie about it,” she said, noting that in some cases, people find out they have more than 200 siblings.

Large sperm banks also ship sperm to clinics across the country and sometimes worldwide, she said. Her organization has asked donors and parents of donor-conceived people what they think the limit should be and the most common number they hear is 10. 

She said it’s unethical and irresponsible for the reproductive medicine industry to create so many half-siblings groups without updating families on medical information and limiting the number of births there are from each donor.

Part of the problem, she said, is that companies need to do a better job at keeping track of births. They aren’t always reported and record-keeping isn’t as precise as it should be.

“It's just about a profit for selling sperm with no thought whatsoever given to the human beings they're helping to create,” Kramer said. 

“I used California Cryobank and my son has … half-siblings coast to coast, up and down, even in Puerto Rico,” she said. “You never know where your half-siblings can be.”

What's it like to discover siblings?
How people respond when they find out they have so many siblings depends largely on the person, said Kramer. For introverts, finding out about lots of siblings could be “scarier” than it is for extroverts, she said. It’s deeply personal and there’s no telling how incorporating new people into your life will go.

But according to Kramer, there are many benefits to finding one’s siblings as well, including both medical and psychological. 

“It's an innate human desire to want to know where we come from and who we come from,” she told USA TODAY. “Allowing donor-conceived people to know about their ancestry, their close genetic relatives and their family medical history is crucial.”

There are some key differences between the experiences of adopted and donor-conceived kids, but one thing remains the same: They should know about their origins.

A Southern California couple is suing a fertility clinic for fraudulent concealment claiming they mistakenly transferred an embryo carrying a rare stomach cancer gene and then falsified patient records to cover up the error.

Jason and Melissa Diaz claim their young son now faces the potential of stomach cancer or possible stomach surgery to avoid the rare cancer. They filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday against Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group, also called HRC Fertility. The couple’s doctor and IVF coordinator are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.


The report shows more than half of donated sperm used in UK fertility clinics comes from abroad.
52% of new sperm donors registered in the UK were from "donor imports" in 2020 (including 27% from the USA and 21% from Denmark)
The number of new UK sperm donors has remained consistent at around 400 a year since 2012, while new imported donors have more than doubled from almost 200 in 2013 to 400 in 2020.
Meanwhile, from late 2023 onwards, most donor-conceived people in the UK turning 18 will be able to apply to access identifying information about their donors.
However, the HFEA admits there could be problems contacting a biological parent if they live abroad. 
[Yes, the DSR has been saying this for years: local laws are virtually meaningless when the donors come from the US and Denmark.]

But the US sperm-donation industry “is largely unethical and irresponsible,” according to Wendy Kramer, an American author and advocate who has been fighting for the rights of donor-conceived children for more than twenty years. Most US sperm banks promise donor anonymity, making it difficult for families who use the service to learn about health developments in their donor that may be genetic or to know about other children conceived from that donor’s sperm. Kramer, who has written extensively about the problems of donor anonymity and advocates for more medical screening, says that, with insufficient oversight and regulation of the sperm-donor industry, “money is put before the well-being of the children being born.”
In 2000, along with her son, Ryan, Kramer co-founded the Donor Sibling Registry, an organization that helps donor-conceived people track down their donors and half siblings. (The process ensures the donor and siblings agree to be contacted.) The organization has since helped more than 25,000 people in more than 100 countries contact their biological families and has allowed Ryan to contact some of his half siblings.

He was also able to find his donor through DNA testing and publicly available information. “If we had not met my son’s biological father, we would not have known about some pretty serious medical issues,” Kramer says. Now Ryan and his half siblings can watch out for signs and get annual screenings for inherited health conditions.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of sperm used in the UK is imported from overseas.

Lifting anonymity from birth would pave the way for the possibility of more contact between donors, donor-conceived people and their parents, and such a proposal would be likely to spark intensive debate.

Today, at 18-years old, Daily-Anderson has 237 half brothers and sisters that he knows of. Some live near him in Virginia, but others are spread out across the United States and the world. According to the family, all the siblings are linked to the same man who donated his sperm to Fairfax Cryobank over many years. [NOTE: the DSR connected almost 200 of these half-siblings, not a "small handful" as the article says.]

Allegations against Dr. Paul Brennan Jones surfaced in 2019, when the now-grown children of his former patients found each other through DNA tests.

On July 7, 2021, Sultan implanted what was supposed to be the couple’s embryo into the woman’s uterus during a visit to the clinic, court records state. The following month, the couple confirmed they were expecting a baby. The pregnancy progressed normally — then the couple’s obstetrician asked for the genetic tests that later revealed their DNA did not match that of the fetus, court records state.

A Florida woman who accused a Vermont doctor of impregnating her with his own sperm instead of a donor’s in 1977 was awarded $5.25 million by a federal judge on Wednesday.

February: Toronto Life

The Lie that Made Me

In 1989, Norman Barwin, a respected fertility doctor, helped my mother get pregnant with donated sperm. Decades later, we discovered that Barwin was secretly inseminating patients with sperm that he had no right to use, including his own. How I finally learned the truth about my biological father.

The family has sued Nicholas Spirtos, the fertility specialist who performed the procedure in 1991, and the Ohio-based Summa Health System.

In May of 2020, Laura and Dave Gunner received the worst news parents can get: their son, Steven, had died of an accidental opioid overdose. He was 27. While the Gunners were devastated, as you can imagine, they had little idea that more heartbreak was on the way.

After Steven’s death, the Gunners activated an account at the Donor Sibling Registry, a non-profit that connects sperm and egg donors with donor-conceived individuals and families. Since Steven was conceived with donated sperm from Fairfax Cryobank’s donor 1558 and his mother’s egg, they hoped they might catch a glimpse of him in some of his donor siblings. They also felt an obligation to inform other parents and donor siblings that Steven, whom they loved with all their heart, had suffered from schizophrenia. As such, he was prone to addictions and erratic behavior and had been hospitalized on numerous occasions for mental health emergencies. 

The biological father of Steven Gunner, who battled mental illness before a fatal overdose, had his own psychiatric problems


A Rochester doctor is accused of using his own sperm to inseminate a woman after telling the prospective parents that the sperm would come from a separate donor, a new lawsuit alleges.

"The lawsuit alleges medical malpractice against Wortman and several employees at the facility, claiming that Wortman knowingly implanted his own sperm in the plaintiff’s mother and later treated her [his biological daughter] from 2012 through 2021, including conducting numerous pelvic examinations, transvaginal ultrasounds, and IUC placements under sedation."

Both families are preparing to file 2 separate lawsuits against the University of Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Families who claim disgraced Ottawa fertility doctor Norman Barwin used the wrong sperm — or even his own sperm — in the conception of at least 100 children could receive a portion of a multi-million-dollar payout after a judge certified the class-action lawsuit launched in 2016.

The Ontario Superior Court certified the class-action suit in the landmark case at a hearing on Wednesday, which includes a negotiated proposed settlement worth $13.375 million. 

BRISTOL, CT — A Superior Court judge awarded a Bristol family $37.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the state in connection with an insemination procedure at the UConn Health Center that led to the death of one child and a lifetime of medical needs for her twin, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Courant reports Jean-Marie Monroe-Lynch and Aaron Lynch filed a lawsuit that claimed Monroe-Lynch was inseminated with sperm from a donor who carried CMV, a virus that can cause severe birth defects or fetal death if contracted during pregnancy.
One child died in utero in January 2015 and her twin brother sustained a brain injury that requires lifetime medical attention, according to the Courant. 

June: Louisville Courier-Journal

Inseminated by doctor who used his sperm, woman says conduct 'unconscionable and depraved'.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Erin Crowder says her parents told her when she turned 18 her father had fertility problems and she was born after her mother was inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor.
But Crowder, now 45, said it was only when she underwent a genetic test from two years ago that she discovered the identity of her biological father.
Of all people, he was her mother’s Louisville fertility doctor, Dr. Marvin Yussman.
She learned as well she had at least seven half-siblings, all fathered by Yussman, who used his own sperm to inseminate patients.
Her mother, Susan Crowder, 73, formerly of Hopkinsville, said she was livid when she learned about she calls Yussman’s “unconscionable and depraved” conduct, which has come to be known as fertility fraud.

Bianca Voss, of Clifton, New Jersey, raised her daughter, Roberta, only knowing her father was an anonymous sperm donor that was allegedly selected by her fertility specialist, Dr. Martin Greenberg.  “He did say, ‘Do you mind if the donor was Jewish?’ And I said no. I kind of thought it might be a medical student from the hospital, but that was it,” Voss said.  Voss says at the time the doctor asked if she had a preference for ethnicity or religion. He charged a $100 fee to procure the sperm. But recently, daughter Roberta, now of Palisades, New York, learned from the DNA ancestry website 23AndMe that her father is Dr. Greenberg, himself. Back in 1983, Greenberg had a practice in an Upper East Side building. Today, he lives in Aventura, Florida, outside Miami.

“You’re playing Russian roulette with this,” says Cassandra Bach, a fertility coach and mother of a donor-conceived child. When she decided to get pregnant on her own via a sperm bank donor in 2010, she was told that sperm from the donor she chose wouldn’t be given to more than 40 families. But when her daughter was 2 years old, Bach joined the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), a nonprofit that helps connect donor-conceived people with biological relatives (many parents join so there’s no chance of their child dating an unknown half-sibling). Over time, she discovered her daughter had 114 half-siblings spanning four countries on three continents. “The sperm bank was tracking siblings via self-reporting, and not everyone reports when they’ve had a child,” says Bach.

These are the reasons the industry needs massive reform, says Wendy Kramer, director and cofounder of DSR. Many parents of donor-conceived children are pushing for mandatory background checks on donors, as well as mandatory reporting about where else they’re donating and accurate tracking of the number of children created by donors. Clinics “need to enforce reporting from donors if their health history has changed,” says Kramer. “Many of the people who donate to these banks are 19-year-old kids, so you’re getting a snapshot of one day in the life of a healthy young person. His father could die of a heart attack the next year, or he could develop cancer later in life, and you wouldn’t know.” She’s been pushing for change for years now, but progress has been slow. “The thing is, it costs money to keep accurate records and to do proper vetting,” says Kramer.

One long-touted pro of using a sperm bank was the promise of donor anonymity. But the idea isn’t realistic anymore with at-home DNA testing kits, and, some experts argue, total anonymity is harmful for donor-conceived people anyway. In fact, 94 percent of donor-conceived people strongly support the option to access info about how many siblings they have and the identity of their donor, and 99 percent want details about the medical history of their donor, per a recent survey. “Kids will ideally find out they are donor-conceived early in life, or they will find out later through a DNA test or family member,” says Kramer. “Either way, they’ll have questions and may want to make contact, and all parties should understand and be open to that.”

The case against a retired Idaho gynecologist accused of using his sperm to inseminate a patient seeking fertility treatments has been dismissed.

Besides health concerns, there is another important reason for limiting donor’s fecundity. The children of sperm and egg donors, like those who are adopted, often want to trace their blood relations. But it is difficult to forge strong relationships when vast numbers of children are involved. Wendy Kramer of the Donor Sibling Registry, which helps connect members of donor families, says this is an example of how the contract between clinics and would-be parents has ignored the interests of the children it produces. She established the group in 2000 when her then ten-year-old son, conceived using donor sperm, became curious about his wider family. Last month he learned of the existence of two new half-siblings, bringing the tally to 22. Ms. Kramer had been told her sperm donor would father no more than ten children, a limit she considers sensible.

February: The New York Times

The Case of the Serial Sperm Donor

One man, hundreds of children and a burning question: Why?


More than 100 women and men have begun a class action lawsuit against Monash IVF following claims the national fertility specialist may have inadvertently destroyed healthy embryos through a faulty genetic screening test.

Documents were filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday against Monash IVF and the Adelaide Fertility Centre on behalf of patients who attended the clinics between May last year and October this year.

"Dr. Philip Peven is credited with delivering around 9,000 babies during his 40-year career in Detroit, Michigan. Now a group of siblings who found they were genetically matched after doing an online DNA test have discovered they are related to Dr. Peven, who was their parents' doctor, and believe he is their father."

"Dr. Quincy Fortier ... over the course of decades impregnated an unknown number of female patients at his Women’s Hospital. [But] Fortier wasn’t simply a cretin who surreptitiously implanted innocents with his own sperm — he was a serial pedophile who preyed upon his own children, including one stepdaughter whom he personally impregnated."

"Traci wanted more medical history information, but quickly learned that in California, donor-conceived children have no rights to sue their biological parent."

NOTE from DSR: It's important for people to know that this phenomenon of doctors inseminating their own patients was a regular and common occurrence from (at least) the 1940s through the 1980s when all sperm was fresh, not frozen. Once cryopreservation and sperm banking came into place, this practice seems to have almost stopped (except for a couple of rogue doctors).

October: Courthouse News Service

Dutch Doctor Fathered 17 Children in New IVF Scandal

"A deceased gynecologist has fathered at least 17 children with women thinking they were receiving sperm from anonymous donors, a Dutch hospital said Tuesday, in the latest IVF scandal to hit the country."

"The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday decided claims that a sperm donor lied about his mental and criminal history led to damages in line with consumer fraud, but that 'life itself can never be an injury.'"

"He fathered at least 36 children, but the parents didn't know he had no education and a history of hereditary mental illness."

This story is an example of the UK not enforcing the "10 family limit." [Note: The DSR does NOT support this donor's main reason for suing, which was the fact that the clinic sold his sperm to gay couples and single mothers. We do, however, recognize that the clinic did not limit the number of children created from the donor's sperm.]

"A fertility doctor could have fathered hundreds of children, secretly using his own sperm instead of the donor sperm his patients thought they were receiving."

"A San Diego County woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday, alleging that a local physician she consulted for fertility issues decades ago used his own sperm to artificially inseminate her, only discovering the fact after her adult son took a DNA test."

"Multiple families victimized by 'fertility fraud' took action today by filing cases against doctors in California and Virginia/West Virginia. The doctors are alleged to have inserted their own sperm into their patients, contrary to the doctors’ representations and their patients’ wishes."

"On Wednesday, September 2, the NW Cyrobank in Spokane, which acquired donor vial inventory and records of Cryo LLC in 2016, sent an email to families and revealed that donor 518 and 901A were the same person. The mother we spoke to told us that the donor is believed to have fathered children across Washington, Idaho, and Montana and that some of the kids have health problems such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, and her son has hemophilia, a rare blood disease that can be passed on by a father."

"With little regulation in the sperm bank industry, stories of mistakes and sloppy record-keeping are growing. It’s blowing up the lives of donor-conceived children."

"A Georgia sperm bank claims no accountability for selling sperm of man with a criminal history and a diagnosis of bi-polar with schizo-affective disorder. 

In the end, Nahmias summed up the debate asking, 'just to be clear, what you’re asserting, a sperm bank can completely misrepresent everything about the sperm itself and charge whatever amount of money based on those representations and completely lie to every customer it has - and nobody can do a thing about it?'

Xytex response was under the law, yes.

That’s why 38 law professors from across the United States filed their own legal analysis with the court asking justices to allow the Normans’ lawsuit, and others like it, to go to trial.

In the brief, written by Georgia State University College of Law Professor Timothy Lytton, they argue, '“exposing sperm banks to liability will give them a powerful incentive to exercise reasonable care in vetting donors and providing accurate information to their clients.'”

2023: Stay tuned to hear more about the new ethics organization, the Society for the Promotion of Ethics in Reproductive Medicine (S.P.E.R.M.) 

Advocating for integrity and accountability in donor conception.


Short video with Ryan Kramer

Ethics in the gamete donation industry: Principles and values that guide the practice of buying and selling sperm, eggs, and embryos in order to create human life.

S.P.E.R.M. promotes honest and forward-thinking discourse relating to ethical considerations important to ensuring that the process of buying and selling gametes is conducted in a responsible and morally acceptable manner: for egg and sperm donors, parents, and donor-conceived people.

We will think deeply, rigorously, and critically about how to move the industry forward in a more ethical and responsible manner — considering the needs and rights of all stakeholders, but most importantly the needs and rights of donor-conceived people. We will shine a light on the issues that need to be acknowledged and addressed.

Egg clinics/agencies/banks, attorneys, sperm banks, mental health professionals, physicians, and other related professionals have a duty to minimize risk to the physical, psychological, and emotional health of donors, parents, and the resulting donor-conceived people.

Is it ethical to bring a human being into the world who is deliberately cut off from their ancestry, family medical history, and close genetic relatives?  Nowhere on the planet, or at any time in history has it been medically or psychologically accepted practice to keep a person from their close genetic relatives for the first 18 years of life or forever.

Is it ethical to run an industry that helps to create human life, yet has little to no accurate record-keeping, oversight, or regulation?

Is it ethical to always put the rights of parents (to have a child), donors (to remain anonymous), and the industry (to make money) ahead of the rights of donor-conceived people?

Is it ethical to sell all gametes as anonymous: for 18 years or forever?

Is it ethical for an industry that’s helping to create human life to have little to no accurate record keeping on the children being born?

Is it ethical to promise donors that there are limits (eg., 10 or 20 offspring or families)  that could be created from their gametes? You can’t promise limits until you have accurate records. With voluntary birth reporting, there won’t ever be accurate records and/or limits.

Is it ethical to create half-sibling groups of more than 25, 50, 100, or 200?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to withhold from donors (and parents/DCP) how many children they have on record?

Is it ethical for a sperm bank to continue selling the sperm of a donor they claim they’ve stopped selling?

Is it ethical to keep the truth about one’s donor origins from a donor-conceived person (DCP)?

Is it ethical for an industry that’s helping to create human life to have little to no accurate record-keeping on updated medical information of donors and children?

Is it ethical to deliberately keep reported medical information from being shared between donor family members?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to claim that they conduct yearly medical updates on donors when they don’t actually do so?

Is it ethical for a gamete vendor to be dismissive when a donor tries to report a medical issue that families should know about?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to continue selling gametes after receiving reports of genetic medical issues?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to continue selling the sperm of a deceased donor without disclosing that fact?

Is it ethical for a gamete vendor to not disclose to offspring the medical cause of a donor’s death?

Is it ethical for a gamete vendor to not disclose to prospective parents when medical issues have been reported from families with children from a particular donor?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to remove important medical information from a donor’s profile?

Is it ethical to not adequately counsel or educate prospective parents/donors so that they can make fully informed decisions?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to be non-responsive or lie to donor-conceived adults with “open” or “willing to be known” donors, thereby not facilitating promised contact?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to claim that “open” donors can’t be found or that they changed their minds when that isn’t the truth?

Is it ethical for doctors/clinics/gamete vendors to only release donor information to the “patient” (the parent) and not to the donor-conceived person?

Is it ethical to keep “anonymous” donors and DCP from each other when they both agree on mutual consent contact?

Is it ethical to keep biological grandparents from their donor grandchildren?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors to include in their contracts the prohibition of (and then threaten with $10k or $20k fines) parents/donors connecting with each other via DNA sites or via the Donor Sibling Registry?

Is it ethical to sell a donor’s gametes for 10, 20, or 25 years?

Is it ethical for local clinics to not advise recipient parents of the originating sperm bank/facility/donor number/ID?

Is it ethical for gamete vendors/doctors/clinics to claim that parent/donor records were destroyed (so many floods and fires...) when that is not the truth?

Is it ethical for a donor to lie about medical, physical, criminal, or academic information on their profile?

Is it ethical for a gamete vendor to change more minor things, like a donor’s height by 2”, 4”,  or  6” on the donor’s profile?

Is it ethical to entice young men and women with large sums of money to sell their gametes, with no adequate counseling or education about how selling their gametes may affect them and their families for many decades to come?

Is it ethical to place donor-conceived people in situations where they are unknowingly interacting with half-siblings?

Is it ethical to not adequately advise prospective egg donors about the potential health risks involved? (OHSS, secondary infertility, cancer, etc.). “No known risks” isn’t the same as “no risks”.

Is it ethical to repeatedly hyperstimulate egg donors to retrieve an unsafe number of eggs?

Is it ethical to donate gametes to more than one facility? Five facilities? Ten or more facilities?

Is it ethical to give a parent a different donor than the one they chose and thought they used to have their child?

Is it ethical for doctors and clinics to recommend sperm banks that they know are unethical?

[Note: none of these are hypothetical.]

A few of the ethical issues are highlighted here. If you're interested in joining the steering committee or participating in any way, please email



February: Harvey vs. Summa Health System

Family alleges artificial insemination mix-up after 30 years, sues hospital.

Former fertility patients of Dr. Nicholas J. Spirtos at Summa Health System filed a major new lawsuit after a shocking revelation was discovered by an DNA test. The couple had undergone an insemination procedure intended to fertilize the wife’s egg with the husband’s sperm. But due to an apparent mix-up of sperm samples, their daughter is not biologically related to the man who raised her. Attorneys for the family at the law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise (Peiffer Wolf) said further testing indicated the sperm came from a different patient of Spirtos.


At least 100 people have been found to have been conceived using the wrong sperm while being treated by Dr. Barwin, at least 17 of whom were conceived through the use of his own sperm. Dr. Barwin's medical license was revoked in 2019, previously having been suspended in 2013 for the same conduct, and again in 2014.

In July 2021, an Ontario court certified a class action suit against Dr. Barwin for battery, breach of trust, breach of contract, negligence, and other torts. The class includes some 226 plaintiffs, including the aforementioned people conceived by Dr. Barwin using the wrong sperm, as well as patients who were wrongly inseminated with the sperm, and patients whose sperm was wrongly used to conceive someone else's child. The same month, the plaintiffs and Dr. Barwin came to a proposed settlement that has since been approved by the court. The settlement is considered to be the first of its kind, not only in Canada but internationally (although unfortunately, Dr. Barwin's actions in using the wrong sperm are not unique).

The reason that the proposed Barwin settlement is so significant is twofold: It is a large class action settlement (more than 13 million Canadian dollars), and some of the settlement funds would be directed to create a private DNA database.  

September: Morgan Hellquist v. Morris Wortman

Dr. Morris Wortman is being sued by his alleged biological daughter, Morgan Hellquest.The lawsuit says in 1983, the plaintiff's mother Mrs. Levey, became a patient of Dr. Morris Wortman at his OB/GYN medical practice in Rochester. The practice offered fertility medicine to patients trying to conceive a child. 

In late 1983 through January 1985, the lawsuit says Wortman inseminated Mrs. Levey two to three times monthly in either his office or at Highland Hospital in exchange for Levey's payment of $50.00 in cash or check for each insemination. The suit claims Levey was under the impression she was receiving an anonymous medical student’s live sperm. In January 1985, Wortman inseminated Levey with a live sperm she became pregnant. 

Hellquest says through DNA testing, she later discovered that she shared DNA with Wortman’s daughters and had six half-siblings with the same father.

The suit also claims Wortman has a family history of mental illness, despite telling Hellquest's mother and step-father that the true father would have a clean health history.

BRISTOL, CT — A Superior Court judge awarded a Bristol family $37.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the state in connection with an insemination procedure at the UConn Health Center that led to the death of one child and a lifetime of medical needs for her twin, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Courant reports Jean-Marie Monroe-Lynch and Aaron Lynch filed a lawsuit that claimed Monroe-Lynch was inseminated with sperm from a donor who carried CMV, a virus that can cause severe birth defects or fetal death if contracted during pregnancy.
One child died in utero in January 2015 and her twin brother sustained a brain injury that requires lifetime medical attention, according to the Courant. 


December: Class action launched against Monash IVF over embryo testing schemeMonash IVF is being sued over a now-suspended non-invasive embryo testing program, with some patients claiming viable embryos may have been wrongly destroyed.

Class action lodged against Monash IVF over allegedly bungled screening

IVF patients across Australia fearing they've lost their only chance at having biological children are suing a major provider over the destruction of embryos that may have been viable.  Monash IVF is at the centre of a lawsuit filed in Victoria's Supreme Court on Wednesday, over a world-first non-invasive genetic testing program that has now been suspended.  More than 100 people have already expressed interest in the action but upward of 1000 could be affected, lead lawyer Michel Margalit told AAP.

October: Bryce Branzell v. California Cryobank (update of December 2019 case)

Bryce Branzell v. California Cryobank, Order DENYING Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

From Molly McCafferty, lawyer and DSR Board member: "The court denied California Cryobank’s motion to dismiss, allowing Branzell to proceed with his case. California Cryobank was trying to get the case dismissed from federal court on a technical basis — arguing that all parties were from the same state and so the federal court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The court has ruled that the parties can engage in discovery to resolve this issue. After discovery is conducted, California Cryobank could attempt again to dismiss the case on these grounds." January 2021: Bryce Branzell settled with California Cryobank with prejudice, which means Branzell cannot attempt to bring claims against California Cryobank in the future.  The settlement amount remains undisclosed for now.

September: Beverly Willhelm v. Phillip M. Milgram, M.D.

Beverly Willhelm v. Phillip M. Milgram, M.D.

"In 1988, Plaintiff and her husband turned to Defendant for fertility treatment. Without Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent, Defendant used his own sperm to impregnate her, rather than, as promised, sperm from an anonymous donor."

September: Katherine Richardson Richards v. Michael S. Kiken, M.D.

Katherine Richardson Richards v. Michael S. Kiken, M.D.

"In 1978, Plaintiff and her husband turned to Defendant for fertility treatment. Without Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent, Defendant used his own sperm to impregnate her, rather than, as promised, sperm from an anonymous donor."


December: Branzell v. California Cryobank/NW Cryobank

Branzell v. California Cryobank/NW Cryobank. "The acts of NW Cryobank have resulted in one individual who did not want to be a sperm donor having at least one child conceived by artificial insemination. Worse still, NW Cryobank cannot determine how many others were provided sperm from Branzell, or continue to be provided his sperm. Branzell chose not to become a sperm donor because he did not want children he had no relationship with. It has now been confirmed that Branzell is the genetic father of a child he has never met. Branzell is now haunted by what he does not know, specifically how many other mistakes NW Cryobank made, and how many other children were or will be conceived with his sperm." January 2021: Bryce Branzell settled with California Cryobank with prejudice, which means Branzell cannot attempt to bring claims against California Cryobank in the future.  The settlement amount remains undisclosed for now.

June (through 2020): Teuscher v. CCB-NWB

Teuscher v. CCB-NWB: Lawsuit against California Cryobank/NW Cryobank. "NW Cryo has engaged in a series of deceptive business practices...." Amended Complaint, filed August 12, 2019. Exhibit AExhibit BExhibit CSecond Amended Complaint, filed November 12, 2019. October 2019 Above the Law article: Beware Of The Home DNA Test! Mom Strikes Back Against Sperm Bank. December 2019: Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss: NW Cryo has brought a second motion to dismiss some claims in the lawsuit: the consumer protection claim, deceptive and unfair practices including confiscating Danielle Teuscher's gametes — the gametes that would help to make a genetic sibling for her daughter, re-classifying donor from Open ID to anonymous, taking down the sibling registry it maintains, and withholding access to medical information of donor, the declaratory judgment claim (contracting with customers against the public policy of the state of Washington) and Ms. Teuscher's intentional emotional distress claim for NW Cryo's retaliatory and intentional actions of sending a Cease and Desist letter and threatening to file a lawsuit against her and illegally taking away her gametes. Ms. Teuscher and her daughter's team of lawyers, led by Law Offices of Jill H. Teitel, PLLC are working to fight the baseless motion. February 2020 Above the Law article: Sperm Bank Case Has Serious Implications For Information and Property Rights. November 2020 Update: This lawsuit was settled out of court for $75,000.December 2020: read the case summary with Q & As by Jill H. Teitel, Esq. attorney for Danielle Teuscher and Z.F. 

October: OSHU Lawsuit: Dr. B.C. aka Dr. John Doe v. Oregon Health & Science University.

OSHU Lawsuit: Dr. B.C. aka Dr. John Doe v. Oregon Health & Science University. An Oregon doctor who says he discovered that his donated sperm was used to father at least 17 children in violation of an agreement that allowed for the creation of no more than five children filed a $5.25 million lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University. Oregon doctor says his donated sperm was used to father at least 17 children, sues OHSU for $5.25 million

September: Vidiksis v. California Cryobank

Vidiksis v. California Cryobank: Class Action Complaint filed against California Cryobank for conversion of and tortious interference with donor sperm from Manhattan Cryobank. From the attorney: "Hi Wendy. I hope you are doing well. Would you mind letting your followers know about the new class action we filed last Friday against California Cryobank? Basically, California Cryobank purchased some assets of Manhattan Cryobank, including all donor sperm. Many people have purchased donor sperm from MCB and were storing it with MCB in hopes of conceiving a second child with the same donor sperm. Now, CCB will not give them access to the donor sperm, claiming that the FDA will not let them release it for some unknown reason."

May: Frankiewicz and Perez v. Manhattan Cryobank/California Cryobank

Frankiewicz and Perez v. Manhattan Cryobank: Lawsuit against Manhattan Cryobank/California Cryobank. From the attorney: "For years, Defendant MCB sold sperm to the public which it knew could contain genetic diseases. Worse, MCB’s own chairman of the board recognized the inadequacies of MCB’s genetic testing regimen and touted the benefits of a more robust screening technology. Nonetheless, MCB, despite having access to such technology, chose not to use it on sperm donated prior to November 1, 2014, despite agreeing and warranting to its customers that it performed a 'complete and thorough screening' for genetic diseases. Read the NY Post article: Manhattan sperm bank didn’t properly screen for genetic diseases: suit


March: Jane Doe 1 and 2 v. Xytex

Jane Doe 1 and 2 v. Xytex: Wrongful birth lawsuit against Xytex. Xytex sperm donor #9623 was a mentally ill schizophrenic felon. In April 2016, other parents who had used Xytex donor #9623 filed a complaint in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleging "intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, products liability based on negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, battery, negligence, false advertising, wrongful birth, specific performance, punitive damages, and violations of the California Unfair Competition law."


September: Jacoba Ballard and Deborah Pierce v. Anonymous Health Care Provider d/b/a Anonymous and John Doe, M.D.

Jacoba Ballard and Deborah Pierce v. Anonymous Health Care Provider d/b/a Anonymous and John Doe, M.D. Dr Donald Cline of Indianapolis used his own sperm to inseminate patients and father more than 50 children. "Specimens from a single donor were to be used in no more than three successful artificial insemination procedures in a well—defined geographic area. Therefore, specimens from a single donor were not to be used in more than three successful artificial insemination procedures at Anonymous. 34. The policy described in paragraph 33 was important to limit the risk of accidental incest resulting from many closely biologically related individuals living near each other and unaware of their biological relationships. 35. At no time did John Doe, M.D. ever disclose to any patient that he would use his own sperm to inseminate them. 

June: Jane Doe v. Idant Laboratories.

Jane Doe v. Idant Laboratories. "The boys are part of an autism cluster involving at least a dozen children scattered across the United States, Canada, and Europe, all conceived with sperm from the same donor. Many of the children have secondary diagnoses of ADHD, dyslexia, mood disorders, epilepsy and other developmental and learning disabilities."


September: Jane Doe v. NECC

Jane Doe v. NECC. "Jane Doe, the plaintiff, brought this equity action against the defendants New England Cryogenic Center, Inc. (NECC), and its director, John Rizza (Rizza), seeking an order requiring them to disclose the name of a sperm donor reflected on NECC's records as donor number D237 and whom we shall call D237. Doe claims that she was artificially inseminated in London, England, with D237's sperm and consequently bore twin daughters."

March: Donna Donovan v. Idant Laboratories

Donna Donovan v. Idant Laboratories. In 1995, Donna Donovan was artificially inseminated with sperm provided by Idant Laboratories. Ms. Donovan signed a consent form in which Idant represented that “(1) semen stored at Idant is exceptionally safe; (2) Idant has a screening program that far exceeds mandated standards and (3) Idant’s donors go through a rigorous screening process to ensure that they have a good genetic background and history.” Donovan gave birth to a daughter, Brittany, in January 1996 using sperm from Idant Donor G738. Brittany was diagnosed with developmental difficulties related to her status as a carrier of the Fragile X gene (FMR1). Testing revealed that Donor G378, not Donna Donovan, carried the Fragile X gene.


August: Johnson v. California Cryobank

Johnson v. California Cryobank: Lawsuit against California Cryobank. "[CCB] failed to disclose that the sperm they sold to the Johnsons came from a donor with a history of kidney disease called Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD). That sperm was used to conceive [their daughter] Brittany who has been diagnosed to have this serious kidney disease."


United States of America v. Cecil B. Jacobson, Jr., M.D.

United States of America v. Cecil B. Jacobson, Jr., M.D., Case No. 92-5406 and Cr. No. 91-00474-A, 785 F. Supp. 563. "Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson was indicted on fifty-three counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, travel fraud and perjury. In the indictment, the Government alleges that Dr. Jacobson defrauded certain women and their husbands by representing that the women would be inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor participating in a donor insemination program. The Government further alleges that, contrary to these representations, Dr. Jacobson inseminated these women with his own sperm, thereby becoming the biological father of the children born to certain of his patients."

2017 FDA Citizen's Petition

July 2017 FDA Citizen's Petition: "Request that the FDA look into the state of affairs surrounding the sperm donation industry, and then develop the appropriate and much-needed regulation/oversight." Read the 173 associated comments, stories, and powerful testimonials. Here is a PDF of the August 9, 2018, Letter of Denial. (The FDA will only deal with "communicable disease" such as STDs in gamete donation.)


From Marilyn Huff: ASRM trick formula for unlimited Profits selling unlimited offspring per donor to maximize the profit of physicians and cryobanks
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine came up with guidelines that sound like a limit without actually being a limit; it's a formula that limits donor use to no more than 25 pregnancies per donor in a population of 800,000. There is no limit, it's a trick: Divide the population of any city, state, country by 800,000 then multiply by 25 to get the number of offspring the donor is allowed to have in that city, that state, that country, etc.

Eligibility Determination for Donors of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products (HCT/Ps)

Wendy received this email from a DSR member, who used The Sperm Bank of California (TSBC): "The sperm that we purchased years ago to continue growing our family has been labeled 'not usable' by the FDA because our donor had had sex with men."

The DSR is aware of plenty of gay donors, so we wondered why TSBC would deem $10,000 worth of sperm unusable when they knew the donor was gay when he donated? This 10/19 "Warning Letter" from the FDA to TSBC gives some insight.

Upon investigation, we found the (2007) FDA's Guidance for Industry: Eligibility Determination for Donors of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products (HCT/Ps), which states: "In accordance with § 1271.75(d), you should determine to be ineligible any potential donor[s] who ... have had sex with another man in the preceding 5 years."

Molly McCafferty, a lawyer and DSR Board member, provided this clarification:

"I am not aware of any laws or binding federal regulations banning gay donors.

In 1983, the FDA issued a ban on sperm donation from men who had had sex with men in the preceding five years. In 2005, the FDA updated its guidance on this issue, which many view as encouraging sperm banks to avoid donations from men who have had sex with men.

Under non-binding recommendations issued by the FDA in 2007, men who have had sex with men in the preceding five years is included in a 'list of conditions and behaviors that increase the donor’s relevant communicable disease risk ... you should determine to be ineligible any potential donor who exhibits one or more' of these 'conditions or behaviors.' (See p. 14.) Again, these are non-binding and are recommendations only.

As you know, under current FDA regulations, all sperm must be tested for HIV (among other communicable disease, both sexually and non-sexually transmitted (e.g., Hepatitis B and C). As you also know, American sperm banks typically freeze donations for a minimum of six months before insemination, during which the semen is tested. Obviously if semen tested HIV+ it would be ineligible whether the donor had had sex with men or not. The FDA seems to have some old 'recommendations' implying that men who have sex with men are at higher risk for transmitting communicable diseases (as with blood donation), which may encourage sperm banks to screen out men who have had sex with men in the preceding five years out of some idea of an abundance of caution before getting to the testing for communicable diseases stage. As all sperm must be tested and quarantined regardless of sexual history, this obviously makes no sense. But of course private sperm banks are unfortunately free to admit and deny anyone they like as sperm or egg donors (e.g., setting age limits, educational criteria, height requirements, etc.).

21 CFR §1271 Subpart C contains Federal Regulations regarding donor eligibility. Federal regulations do carry the same authority as federal law. Per these regulations, a donor is eligible if donor screening done in accordance with FDA regulations indicates that the donor is free from risk factors for, and clinical evidence of, infection due to relevant communicable disease agents and diseases and the results of donor testing for relevant communicable disease agents are negative or nonreactive. As I read these, as long as semen tests negative as to the communicable diseases listed in the FDA guidelines, it is eligible sperm — no matter from whence it came. If the sperm tests positive for communicable diseases listed in the FDA guidelines, it is ineligible sperm — no matter from whence it came. There is a difference between screening potential sperm and testing potential sperm, but [this] case is especially strange as the sperm had already been sold."

NY State Law

December 2021: Senate Bill S76023 introduced to the NY State Senate: The donor-conceived person protection act. 

Sperm banks/clinics would be legally required to collect medical, educational, and criminal felony conviction records from donors, use them to verify some of the medical, educational, and criminal felony information self-reported by donors, and disclose what information is verified or not verified to recipient parents. The bill would be a small step toward greater regulation/accountability.  

NYCRR Title 10 PART 52-8.9 Required records.

(a) Reproductive tissue bank records shall be open to inspection by the department and shall be kept for at least seven years after release of reproductive tissue for artificial inseminations or assisted reproductive procedures not resulting in a live birth, and 25 years for inseminations or assisted reproductive procedures known to have resulted in a live birth. For all donated reproductive tissue, the donor's name, address, and any other information which would directly or indirectly identify the donor shall not be disclosed or released by the reproductive tissue bank to any person or entity, except upon the written informed consent of the donor, or except to authorized employees of the department or as permitted by law. The recipient's name, address, and any other information which would directly or indirectly identify the recipient shall not be disclosed or released by the insemination/implantation site to any person or entity, except upon the written informed consent of the recipient, or except to authorized employees of the department, or as permitted by law.

(b) In addition to the recordkeeping requirements of section 52-2.9(c) of this Part, each reproductive tissue bank shall maintain applicable donor/client-depositor records which include:

(1) for donors, pertinent family history of any genetic disorders;

(2) documentation of donor and client-depositor written informed consent;

(3) for semen donors, outcome of any prior artificial insemination or other assisted reproductive procedures, if known, including number of successful pregnancies, if any, and any reports from insemination/implantation sites which would affect the donor's acceptability; and

(4) documented approval of the reproductive tissue bank director, or his/her designee, of the acceptability of the donor.

(c) In addition to the recordkeeping requirements of section 52-2.9(e) and (f) of this Part, each reproductive tissue bank shall maintain applicable records which include:

(1) donor's identification code or client-depositor's name;

(2) for semen donations, documentation of laboratory cryosensitivity testing, and, if performed, results of viability checks after thawing and during storage, if any;

(3) the name of the insemination/implantation site, the physician or other person authorized by law to perform artificial insemination or assisted reproductive procedures, and/or receive reproductive tissue, and the name of the person communicating the order for distribution of the tissue;

(4) the recipient's name, if the name has been provided to the reproductive tissue bank with her informed consent, or the recipient's identification code, if used;

(5) documentation of training, certification, licensure, if required by law, and continuing education for each staff member; and

(6) any adverse outcomes, including infectious diseases in recipients or their offspring and genetic defects in offspring, which shall be reported to the donors if there is any possibility that the donor's reproductive tissue contributed to the adverse outcome.

(d) The following records shall be kept, separate from the recipient's records, by an insemination/implantation site for each insemination or assisted reproductive procedure performed:

(1) donor's identification code or name, if the reproductive tissue originates from a client-depositor;

(2) evidence that reproductive tissue from donors and/or client-depositors has been obtained from a reproductive tissue bank licensed pursuant to Subpart 52-2 of this Part;

(3) disposition of the reproductive tissue, including, but not limited to, the name or identification code of the recipient, destruction logs, and autoclaving or incineration records;

(4) the name and signature of the ordering physician or other person authorized by law to order issuance of the reproductive tissue;

(5) results of sperm viability checks, if performed; and

(6) signature of the person receiving the sample and condition of the sample upon receipt.

(e) The insemination/implantation site shall document the outcome of the artificial insemination or assisted reproductive procedure, including, but not limited to, any known adverse outcome in the infant or infectious disease in the recipient, as well as any known successful pregnancies. This information shall also be reported to the reproductive tissue bank releasing the tissue, even if the reproductive tissue bank is the same entity as the insemination/implantation site.


Older Media Articles


Scott Brown, vice president of communications for California Cryobank, said, “Family is what we are in the business of, not genetic connection.”

October: Podcast with Wendy Kramer

There's No Such Thing As Anonymous Sperm Donation

A lawsuit alleges that a Colorado doctor who offered his help to women for years fathered many of the very children he helped those women conceive.

"The error was highlighted as part of an HFEA report which showed that mistakes are rare — affecting less than 1% of fertility treatment cycles — but have risen by 6% in the last year and 18% in three years."

See the associated September 2019 Washington Post article: The children of Donor H898. "The boys are part of an autism cluster involving at least a dozen children scattered across the United States, Canada, and Europe, all conceived with sperm from the same donor. Many of the children have secondary diagnoses of ADHD, dyslexia, mood disorders, epilepsy and other developmental and learning disabilities." Read the associated lawsuit. Read the Above the Law article: Sperm Donor Linked To Autism Cluster — Scientifically Fascinating, Legally Complicated. See the CBS Chicago story: Single Sperm Donor Linked To Numerous Children With Autism, Other Disabilities.

A fertility clinic must hand over its sperm donor list after a white couple gives birth to an Asian baby.

"I think it's a very selfish act to try and locate an unknown donor," said California Cryobank spokesman, Scott Brown.

August: The Monthly

The sperm drought

"Dwindling stocks of Australian sperm have fertility clinics looking overseas and couples looking online."

April: Prospect Magazine

The donor detective: how one woman made it her mission to help donor-conceived children find their biological fathers. "Thousands of children conceived by anonymous sperm donation still have no right at all to know their biological fathers. But they are turning to DNA sites to track them down — and Wendy Kramer has made it her very personal mission to help. Every morning at 5am, Wendy Kramer fires up her laptop in the tiny mountain town of Nederland, Colorado, to read and swiftly respond to requests for help from around the world. 'I'm 15 years old, and last summer I found out (by accident) that I was conceived with a sperm donor,' reads one. Another says: 'Don't know much except the hospital in which I was born (and most likely received my donor sperm from the same hospital). I found out by accident and my mother refuses to tell me much.'"

March: The Atlantic

The Fertility Doctor's Secret. "Decades ago, without ever telling his patients, Cline had used his own sperm to impregnate women who came to him for artificial insemination."


November: France 24

Home DNA tests doom anonymity for sperm, egg donors. "All Ryan Kramer had to do was to swab his cheek and embark on nine days of genealogical research to identify his biological father, a man who thought he would remain anonymous when he donated his sperm and never took a DNA test himself. The year was 2005, when consumer DNA tests were in their infancy. Kramer was 15. Thirteen years later, the explosion of individual DNA test kits has opened the floodgates for people who were born from sperm or egg donations. Increasing numbers of people are using the technology to uncover the identities of their donors."

October: HeyReprotech

The False Hope of Open Donors. "'Open-identity,' 'non-anonymous,' 'ID release,' 'willing-to-be-known.' The names vary, but the idea is much the same: when a child conceived through sperm or egg donation reaches a certain age, they get to find out about the donor and maybe make contact. Or do they?"

August: The Spokesman-Review

Lawsuit alleging doctor’s sperm donation heads to court. Yet another woman accuses a fertility doctor of fraudulently using his own sperm to artificially inseminate her mother.

April: Courthouse News Service

Lawsuit Claims Fertility Doctor Used His Own Sperm to Impregnate Patient. Another doctor gets caught using his own sperm to impregnate his patients.

"Wendy Kramer became a vocal advocate for donor children’s rights in 2000 after her own toddler, born of donor sperm from California Cryobank, asked if his father had died. When she tried to learn more about the man, she was stymied by his anonymous status. So, she created the Donor Sibling Registry, a more than 56,000-member database designed to facilitate 'mutually desired contact' between donors, families, and siblings.

In January 2017, she filed a letter with the FDA, asking the agency to 'look into the state of affairs surrounding the sperm donation industry and then develop the appropriate and much-needed regulation/oversight.' It was acknowledged but not addressed. Almeling, the Sex Cells author, said she was told by the FDA that it would 'take an act of Congress' to expand the agency’s powers over sperm banks. 'The FDA routinely evaluates its regulations and guidance documents, and updates them as necessary,' FDA press officer Andrea Fischer told me in an email.

Some activists believe that many of the industry’s problems would be avoided if all donors were identified. The prevalence of at-home DNA kits has made it easier for donor offspring to collect and share information that might lead them to a donor’s identity, Kramer said. But other experts say such a policy would narrow the field too much, deterring good donors and leading to a scarcity of sperm. And they say it’s a slippery slope when you invite the government to be more deeply involved in reproduction, worrying this could lead to state-led genetic engineering and artificial selection.

Sperm-banking rules in other countries vary widely. In New Zealand, some hopeful parents must wait two years for sperm because it can be donated only voluntarily, which has created a shortage. Paid sperm donation is also prohibited in Canada, so customers there must buy sperm from the United States. Austria and Italy forbid any egg and sperm donations. Germany and Norway allow sperm donation but not the donation of eggs.

In the United Kingdom, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority issues regulations on artificial reproduction. And France is able to keep close tabs on its donors and donor families because the country has a national, state-run sperm banking program. But that country also doesn’t allow single women and lesbian couples to buy sperm.

All of the sperm banks in the United States insist they do the most, the best, and the deepest due diligence on their donors. But ultimately, the companies are permitted to do business largely as they see fit, which leaves the industry vulnerable to deceptive donors."


December: Ottawa Citizen

Decades of patients sought for possible lawsuit against Ottawa fertility doctor accused of using own sperm. An Ottawa fertility doctor is accused of using his own sperm.

October: 11 Alive

Sperm bank settles negligence lawsuits. Xytex will never have to answer questions in court regarding its decision to sell the sperm of a donor the company would later learn had a criminal record and severe mental health problems. One of the parents explains the lawsuit.

From the author of this article on donor-conceived people: "Please find attached a recently published article dealing with the perspectives of donor-conceived individuals on the importance of access to identifying donor information prior to the legal age of maturity in Ireland. It has been published in the Irish Journal of Legal Studies, an Irish peer-reviewed law journal ... I would like to thank you sincerely yet again for all of your assistance during the research process."

February: 9 News Colorado

Mother worries about sperm donor's medical history. Child from California Cryobank sperm donor is diagnosed with cancer.

February: 11 Alive

Sperm for sale: Fighting for change. Prolific Xytex sperm donor has a criminal record and a history of mental illness.

February: WRDW

One deputy dead after incident at Xytex. Unethical practice by Xytex leads to disaster.


November: Verdict / Justia

Friends with Benefits: Texas Man Who Donated Sperm to a Friend Has Parental Rights. 2016 Analysis of sperm donation laws.

November: Canadian Medical Association Journal

Switched before birth. "Why is it wrong when it happens in a hospital by accident, but okay when doctors are paid to do it? That is the question on the minds of so-called 'donor offspring' — people created through the eggs or sperm of individuals they will never know."

September: International Business Times

Who Is Donald Cline? Fertility Doctor Secretly Fathered Dozens Of Children With Former Patients In Indiana, Affidavit Says. "Although Cline’s personal donations may be considered unethical by many, it’s a practice that wasn’t all that uncommon for fertility clinics before the 1990s. Director and co-founder of Colorado-based Donor Sibling Registry, Wendy Kramer, told the Indy Star she always advises people conceived through the help of a sperm bank before 1990 to check their mother’s fertility doctor first when searching for their biological father. The website helps connects parents, donors and offspring, and according to Kramer, checking a mother's fertility doctor is a crucial first step in determining the biological father for most children born before 1990."

September: Indy Star

Indianapolis fertility doctor accused of using own sperm. Another doctor caught using his own sperm more than 50 times.


April: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Couple sues Georgia sperm bank, claims donor wasn’t as advertised. A Canadian couple is suing a Georgia sperm bank, saying that the donor the company provided for them turned out to be a schizophrenic who has a criminal record and whose photo was doctored to make him look more attractive.


September: Chicago Tribune

Suit: Black donor's sperm sent to white woman. Midwest Sperm Bank mix-up.

July: Gay Star News

Finding your perfect sperm donor match has never been so simple. "Recent reports that sperm donation in Britain is still in a critical state have been much exaggerated. Donors and sperm samples are in good supply, reports the London Sperm Bank."

January: Lost Daughters blog site

An Adoptee's Reaction to MTV's Generation Cryo

January: CBS This Morning

Family discovers fertility fraud 20 years later: "It almost seems surreal." A Texas family discovers that they were the victims of a sample switch at a Utah fertility clinic.


August: The Age, Victoria, Australia

State law change to help children find donor parent

August: CBC News

Ottawa doctor loses Order of Canada after sperm mix-ups. "In an agreed statement of facts, five women were involved in four artificial inseminations provided by Barwin between 1986 and 2007 and in all four cases DNA tests confirmed the women received the wrong sperm."


*Note: The BBC News and Daily Mail articles above are referencing an earlier story, originally reported by DSR members (see the June 2011 Copenhagen Post article on our Medical Issues page). The interesting thing about this story is that this donor is also a California Cryobank donor. We regularly hear stories about sperm donors passing along medical and genetic issues to children here in the US, but no regulation is ever initiated.

March: Sydney Morning Herald

We can't keep them in the dark


October: Colorado Public Radio

'Donor Unknown': One Girl's Quest to Find Her Father. Audio interview with Wendy Kramer.

September: NY Times

One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring

April: Infertility & Reproductive News

Impact of Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donor Conception on Families

March: The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity

Regulation (or Lack Thereof) of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the U.S. and Abroad. "Among developed nations, the U.S. assisted reproduction or fertility industry is one of the least regulated. This has led to a reproductive free-for-all. Any technological means, regardless of the medical and ethical consequences, can be utilized in the pursuit of parenthood if the price is right."


Fall: Human Life Review

“Donor Offspring” Redefining Family

March: DePaul University College of Law, Chicago: Symposium: Tracking Change

Donor Sibling Registry: Educating, Connecting and Supporting Donor Families. From Wendy Kramer's speech: "I believe that it is of paramount importance that this industry examine and address the issues of educating, connecting, and supporting donor families as well as the necessity of more accurate record-keeping and accountability."


November: Marilyn Huff

What's the Limit of Offspring per Donor? A commentary on the ASRM's guidelines for the number of offspring per donor.

February: U.S. News & World Report

Who's Your Daddy?


August: Princeton University

Artificial Insemination: Practice in the United States: Summary of a 1987 Survey. As of 2013, this was still the only survey on US sperm banks. It erroneously stated that there were 30,000 donor-offspring born each year in the US. The same number was still used in 2013, 25 years later.

Wendy's Psychology Today Articles

Psychology Today Articles from Wendy's Donor Family Matters Blog: 
2022 published articles:

Supporting Donor Family Members
Adequate counseling and education are vital.

A Brief History of Donor Conception
Looking at eight centuries of manipulating sperm.

Words Have Power in Sperm and Egg Donor Families
The language of reproductive medicine can be tricky.

Happy Mother's Day to Solo Moms (of Donor Kids)
Personal Perspective: A special shout-out to single mother (only) parents.

Donor Conception: Questions for Prospective Parents
Issues and themes to ponder when considering using donor gametes.

Truth and Honesty in Families of Donor-Conceived Children
Early disclosure is crucial for building a happy and healthy family.

A Dearth of Adequate Gamete Donor and Recipient Counseling
Education and counseling before selling or buying sperm and eggs is crucial.

Thinking About Donating Your Sperm or Eggs?
A few practical, ethical, emotional, and medical issues to consider.

Nature and Nurture in Donor Families
Biological and non-biological parents matter.

Tips for Parents of Adult Donor-Conceived People
Are you about to disclose, or do you have a child who just found out the truth?

DNA: Donors Not Anonymous
Sperm and egg donor anonymity has not been possible since 2005.

Secrecy v. Privacy in Donor Families
Walking the fine line between privacy and secrecy is inherent in donor families.

2023 published articles:

Why are Sperm and Eggs Still Sold Anonymously?
Personal Perspective: The consequences of donor anonymity.

Cornerstones of the Donor Family: Kindness and Empathy
From choosing a donor to expanding one's family to include donor relatives. 

Tips for Donor-Conceived Adults Who Just Found Out the Truth
The road might be bumpy for a while, with a multitude of difficult emotions.

Donor-Conceived People Who Have Always Known the Truth
Being donor-conceived can have inherent challenges, even if told early on.

Egg and Sperm Donors: It's Complicated
Some common thoughts and feelings surrounding selling one's gametes.

Donor-Conceived People: Curiously not Curious
Some insist that they are not at all curious about their donor origins.

Parents of Donor-Conceived People
Researching the thoughts and feelings of biological and non-biological parents.

Reaching Out to Sperm and Egg Donors
Weighing the risks and rewards when deciding whether to attempt contact.

Why Is There a Shortage of Black Egg and Sperm Donors?
Creating a more diverse donor landscape.

Donor-Conceived Children Meeting Their Half-Siblings
Widening one's family circle with enriching, lifelong relationships.

Gamete Sellers: It's More Than Just a Financial Transaction
Common themes, topics, and issues that arise with former egg and sperm donors.

Sperm Banks, Egg Facilities, and the Backfire Effect
Why have gamete sellers been resistant to evolving ideas about donor families?


Other Relevant Articles

Here are some other articles on the law, the ethics, the comparisons to adoption, the need for regulation, and the nuts and bolts of donor conception. Issues we should all ponder!


The Swiss Evangelical Alliance opposes sperm donation for lesbian couples: “Children have a right to a father and a mother”. Surveys say a majority would vote ‘yes’ on 26 September.

The evangelical body also quotes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which in its article 7.1 says that a child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

Children conceived with donor sperm will also be able to learn the donor's identity when they become adults, removing the current French anonymity for donors.


November: Center for Genetics and Society

It’s Time for an Egg Donor Registry and Long-term Follow-up

Thomas K. Sylvester, Yale Law School

The Case Against Sperm Donor Anonymity

Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Donor gametes: anonymous or identified?

March: Manchester Evening News

Men still donating sperm

April: American Fertility Association Newsletter

DNA And The Exploding Myth Of Donor Anonymity



Anonymous sperm donor traced on internet

The Sperm Bank of California's Research page

Sperm Bank Policies: What are they thinking?

General Policies

2021 Fairfax Cryobank unenforceable and threatening contract verbiage:
"What Client Agrees To Do: 3.1. Donor Anonymity. Client agrees to use the information Cryobank provides about donors, including photographs, exclusively for the purpose of selecting a donor, and not to share, distribute or otherwise make any such information or images available in any manner, or through any medium (including without limitation email, social media or internet feeds), to any third party. Client will not seek a donor’s identity. If Cryobank discovers that Client has made attempts to discover a donor’s identity, Cryobank will pursue any and all appropriate action to protect itself, its donors, and their other offspring." 

How much do sperm banks make? Here's an interesting 2017 article from a marketing company that ran a marketing program for a New York sperm bank. "The cryobank gathered an additional 1,000 local leads during their seven-month trial. This resulted in an average lead growth of 166 percent month-over-month. After accounting for the number of leads that passed the sperm bank’s genetic testing, the resulting conversion rate was about 3 percent. In total, we earned the client an estimated $3,000,000 in additional revenue." They spent $21,000 on the ad campaign. So that means each approved donor will earn the sperm bank almost $100,000.

2017 book about the sperm banking industry: Scattered Seeds: In Search of Family and Identity in the Sperm Donor Generation. Journalist and writer Jacqueline Mroz looks at the growth of sperm donation and assisted reproduction and how it affects the children who are born, the women who buy and use the sperm to have kids, and the sperm donors who donate their genetic material to help others procreate. "This is the dawn of a challenging moment in time for assisted reproduction,” Mroz concludes. “With technology evolving rapidly, it’s time for legislators and policymakers to start acknowledging these changes and examine the consequences of an unregulated industry."

2017 quote from a donor-conceived person: "I don't think donor anonymity is an issue that is front of mind for the general public. It's individual fertility specialists and clinics seeking to retain control and living out their antediluvian paternalistic attitudes in practice that are the reasons behind the persistence of donor anonymity. They don't trust the lived experience of donors, donor-conceived people, or the parents of donor-conceived people and believe that in all cases "doctor knows best." When you have a combination of capitalism and patriarchy you're going to have problems with getting progressive values into place."

2016 interview with medical ethicist Art Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at NYU, Langone Medical Center: "Sperm Banks Are Run Like Grocery Stores From The 19th Century," Says Art Caplan

Cryogenic Laboratories Inc. implies that donor anonymity is required by law. A former sperm donor shared this photo of his CLI agreement. We call B.S. on CLI's terminology. There are no "legal statutes and standards" pertaining to donor anonymity. Also notice the typo ("statues") — who writes these illiterate, dishonest, misleading, and unenforceable sperm bank agreements?

Fairfax Cryobank refers to sperm purchase as "adoption." A Fairfax customer shared this email. Why do they call their sperm purchase agreement an "Adoption Letter" in an email to a customer? No one "adopts" sperm!

Donor Anonymity

ALL donors in the US and Denmark are still sold as "anonymous" (be it for 18 years or forever), despite the fact that all donors can be found at any time via DNA testing and/or an Internet/social media/public records search.

The myth of donor anonymity is perpetuated by researchers. An article in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Sperm donor anonymity and compensation: an experiment with American sperm donors, illustrates the fact that the US sperm banking industry is still not properly educating prospective donors and parents about the myth of anonymity. With DNA testing, Google, and social media, anonymity is a thing of the past. Sperm banks (and egg clinics) need to stop the fallacy of selling "anonymous" donors, and the "experts" need to stop perpetuating this idea. Donor-conceived people have been locating their donors via DNA testing since 2005 (see November 2005 New Scientist Magazine) — so this is not new. This published "study" was conducted in partnership with a sperm bank that profits more from offering anonymous donors. Communication with their donors about anonymity had already taken place. How was this major conflict of interest acceptable to the Journal of Law and Biosciences? In response to the article, Harvard Law published Wendy's blog contribution, DNA: Donors Not Anonymous, and the link to her HuffPo response blog, Sperm And Egg Donation: 10 Things Your Doctor, Clinic Or Sperm Bank Won’t Tell You.

The myth of donor anonymity is also perpetuated by infertility organizations, sperm banks, egg clinics, government organizations, etc. Why don't organizations where people go for support and guidance in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Europe, and other countries (e.g., the ASRM, HFEA, Path2Parenthood, Fertility Network, Donor Conception Network, BFS, etc.), along with all sperm banks and egg clinics, clearly educate on their websites about the fact that anonymity can no longer be guaranteed/enforced, not even if only for 18 years. They've all had since 2005 to disseminate this information, so it isn't something that they're just hearing about.

A letter from the Editor-in-Chief of Human Reproduction: "Due to genetic testing donor anonymity does no longer exist. Many thousands of people worldwide have been conceived with donor gametes but not all parents tell their children of their origin. Genetic testing will make this impossible. Over three million people have already used direct-to-consumer genetic testing. The rapidly increasing availability of cheaper and more detailed tests poses numerous challenges to the current practice of sperm and egg donation: 1. Whether they are donating in a country that practices anonymous donation or not, donors should be informed that their anonymity is no longer guaranteed, as they may be traced if their DNA, or that of a relative, is added to a database. 2. Donor-conceived adults who have not been informed of their status may find out that they are donor-conceived. 3. Parents using donor conception need to be fully informed that their children’s DNA will identify that they are not the biological parents and they should be encouraged to disclose the use of donor gametes to their children. All parties concerned must be aware that, in 2016, donor anonymity has ceased to exist." —JLH (Hans) Evers, Editor-in-Chief, Human Reproduction

Where around the world is donor anonymity banned? Austria, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, New South Wales, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and Australia. However, much of the sperm in these countries is imported from the US, which is still sold as "anonymous."


Manchester Fertility, a private clinic in the north of England, tells us they currently have 9,000 vials of donor sperm in storage from over 200 sperm donors. Although it’s difficult to give a precise number of donors they need to keep up with demand, they also say a good estimate is 500 donors per year.

September: UK Government Department of Health & Social Care

Quality and safety of organs, tissues and cells if there’s no Brexit deal. "The UK imports donated sperm, primarily from commercial sperm banks in the USA and Denmark. Approximately 4,000 samples were imported from the USA and 3,000 samples from Denmark in 2017, as well as a small number from other EU countries." According to the UK's Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), "Every year around 2,700 children are conceived with the help of a donor."


November: ABC South Australia

SA sperm donors' identities could be revealed whether they like it or not. "Donor-conceived people should be able to access identifying information about their donors, without their donor's consent, to ensure those people have the same right to information about their genetic parentage as those who are conceived naturally."

May: BioNews

German Parliament passes the Sperm Donor Registry Act. The Sperm Donor Registry Act will allow children born from 2018 onward to access their donors' information.


Report on the Review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (SA). A report on the review of South Australian legislation that was tabled in Parliament. If this legislation passes, South Australia will become the second place in the world to grant retrospective access to identifying information via legislation.


"A Hanover court ... ruled that a child's right to know about their lineage was more important than a sperm donor’s right to privacy, reaffirming a high court ruling from [the previous] year."

May: NSW, Australia, Herald Sun

Sperm donors step up after law change. The media and other industry "experts" frequently report that ending donor "anonymity" will automatically result in a drop in donor numbers. Quite to the contrary, there has been a 10-fold increase in the number of sperm donors AFTER only forcing 18 years of "anonymity" in the state of NSW, Australia.

Journal of Law and Medicine

Does the removal of anonymity reduce the number of sperm donors in Australia? This paper examined the effect of removing donor "anonymity" on sperm donor numbers in Australia. From one of the authors: "Now that we have data that the UK and Australia were not adversely affected by removing anonymity, hopefully, the USA will follow suit. Especially seeing as though DNA makes any guarantee of anonymity null and void, it is unethical that clinics still offer it."


Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA)

Egg and sperm donation in the UK: 2012–2013. The UK's HFEA only has egg and sperm donation numbers through 2013. (Are they still keeping track?) We can see that the numbers of UK donors has gone UP since forcing/promising (only) 18 years of "anonymity" in 2005. The HFEA notes the reason for the 2013 decrease in local sperm donors: "The number of imports has steadily increased year on year and now forms almost a third of new registrations. Most imported sperm comes from the USA, followed by Denmark. It is important to note that this does not necessarily reflect 'popularity' of donors, but perhaps more their availability. Some clinics reported that they import donor sperm because the cost, time and resources required to recruit donors themselves is too high when there are specialist sperm banks who can carry out an efficient and reliable service."