Should You Ask a Friend to Donate Sperm? The Pros and Cons

When my husband was diagnosed with azoospermia (his body doesn’t produce sperm), we asked a friend to donate sperm. Here’s what our friend said, plus what it’s like to be a potential sperm donor. This interview may help you decide if you should ask a friend or family member to donate sperm so you can get pregnant.

Learning about sperm donors and surrogate motherhood can be difficult because so many people can’t, don’t, or won’t talk about infertility problems! Sometimes the best way to get information and tips for sperm donation from friends and family is by reading books like Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates by Diane Ehrensaft. The more perspectives you have, the better you’ll cope with the exciting possibilities and potential problems. In this book you’ll get support, and straightforward advice – whether you’re a married couple or single woman looking for a sperm donor.

Asking a friend or family member to donate sperm is an alternative to sperm donor banks. It’s also a possibility for women who want to be single mothers, gay couples, and straight couples coping with infertility. Finding a sperm donor may be a solution to the sterility and cost of infertility treatments and clinics; it’s definitely something to consider if you’re struggling with male infertility!

First, a quip from comedian Steven Pearl: “I can’t believe that out of a million sperm, you were the quickest,” he said. No matter how badly you want to get pregnant, try not to lose your sense of humor. Life is easier when you look on the light side.

Should You Ask a Friend to Donate Sperm?

Here’s my Q & A with Darryl, the friend we asked to donate sperm. We’re the couple coping with infertility; he was single, 49 years old, and didn’t have kids of his own.

After a few days thinking it over, our friend said no. He would not donate sperm to us. We were mildly disappointed, but definitely relieved that he was honest! I’d much rather an honest no than a tentative or dishonest yes.

Darryl, what’s the best way to ask a man to donate sperm? Should the requesting couple share why they need help? 

“I’m not sure it matters how you ask, at least to me it wouldn’t – it’s obviously an honor to be asked by someone who knows you well,” Darryl said. “I don’t think the background [of why the couple needs a sperm donor] is important. However, the person asked will undoubtedly be curious about the circumstances.  The fact that the request is made at all suggests that there’s need and that’s all that really matters, I think. The why is irrelevant, and it’s really not anyone’s business.”

Why do men hesitate to donate sperm to people they know? What’s the difference between donating sperm to a clinic versus giving it to a friend or sibling?

“My reasons for declining were strictly of self-interest,” said Darryl.

“I feared I would develop such a strong emotional bond to the child that it would put me at emotional risk.  If I didn’t know the people using the sperm, I would have no knowledge of, or relationship with the child, and therefore no risk.”

Would it be easier for a man to donate sperm if he already has his own kids?

“I think it might be easier for a man with kids to donate sperm to friends or family. In my case, that circumstance may well have mitigated my emotional risk, as I would already have a bond with children of my own.”

What would surprise people to know about being asked to donate sperm?

“For me, the most interesting aspect was the sense that the request formed a crossroads of sorts – it may well have been my last, best chance to have offspring,” said Darryl. “All these things combined made it a tough decision.”

What did you learn from their request?

“The request triggered many emotions in me,” said Darryl. “I realized that I would deeply love any child of mine, which is something I hadn’t really dwelt on before. The idea of having offspring was appealing when the opportunity presented itself – the instinctive need to procreate, perhaps? It made me consider my own mortality and the fact that my family line may end with me.”

For more info about men and infertility, read The Man’s Perspective of Surrogate Parenting.

If you have any questions or thoughts about asking a friend to donate sperm, please comment below. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share your experience. Sometimes writing can help us make big decisions, because writing brings clarity and insight.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

25 thoughts on “Should You Ask a Friend to Donate Sperm? The Pros and Cons”

  1. I’m looking at asking a friend to be a donor. He doesn’t live in my city or country yet he is the perfect candidate to me. I am having trouble with my own eggs too so I would have to obtain a donor egg. That is going to be the case. In this situation I would at least like to know the gene pool and looks of at least one of my donors. The guy comes from a good family, educated, healthy and drop dead gorgeous in looks, heart and sole. I just don’t know how to ask him. Please help

  2. Just remember in the Court of Law the best interest always goes with the child. No matter what papers are drawn up and signed between the donor couples. If the Mother falls on hard times and needs funds to raise that child. The judge will always go with the best interest of the child. Couples can not barter that away. Then you will find yourself paying for child support for a very long time.

  3. My partner and I grew up together and it was a shock as I had only been with him for just under a month after we conceived. I didn’t find out until I was 8 weeks along.

    At my little brothers christening, my friend who is in a gay relationship with my auntie are looking to start their own family.

    Due to my friend being straight to the point, said you clearly have good swimmers, at that my partner agreed.

    She asked him if he could be a sperm donor and she was going on about him having a short bond with the baby if she was to get caught pregnant.

    He said the idea was mine, I said no straight away, I felt uncomfortable. And for the fact that I had a conversation with him earlier. He said he would have said no due to not really knowing her that well and he just wants the one biological child for now and there is no guarantee she would get pregnant straight away.

    Was I wrong to say no as quick as I did?

    I just feel that I have let her down because we don’t really speak, she doesn’t live locally and it might sound selfish, but I want him to myself.

    Any advice would be great.

  4. There are so many things to consider when you want to get pregnant and are thinking about asking a friend to donate sperm. I don’t have experience in this arena. I interviewed this potential sperm donor – who said he would not donate sperm – and that’s as far as I’ve gone.

    Get legal advice. And, talk to other couples who used a sperm donor to get pregnant. That’s your best bet for proceeding!

  5. I am a single mum to 4 beautiful well looked after well mannered children I’m desperate for another child and I’m aware my biological clock is ticking I’m 43 just gone
    I have a male gay friend who knows how desperate I am for another baby and has just messaged me out of blue offering to donate his sperm of course I’m excited but need to know the best way to go about this please

  6. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your dilemma. When you’re thinking about asking your friend to donate sperm, don’t forget to think about the baby! If you’re part of an established married couple, you can provide a solid foundation for your child. But if you’re a single mom who isn’t firmly established in your life, then it’s harder to give everything for your child.

    Talk to your friend about the potential for him to donate sperm — but also try to find women who have had a baby through a sperm donor. I know this won’t be easy, but it really is important. You want to go into this pregnancy and parenting arrangement with full knowledge. You need to know what to expect, and try to minimize the problems as much as possible.

    I wish you all the best as you consider your options. Don’t forget that you’re quite young still! Don’t push it, don’t rush something that isn’t ready to be birthed yet.

  7. I was speaking with my aunt last night about having a baby of my own. I’m 27 years old, about to graduate from University and in the next year or so, I would like to have a baby. I’m a lesbian and not currently in a relationship. I know it’s not easy being a single mum but if I wait for a relationship, I could be waiting a very long time. (And I don’t want to be an older mum) So I have this friend who I’ve known since I was around 19 and he has children of his own. My aunt suggested last night, that I should ask him if I can have his sperm. I don’t have many male friends so my options are limited. And going to a sperm bank would be a last resort.

    So I went on Facebook and messaged my long time friend just to say hi and speak with him. We have arranged to meet today. I’m not going to ask him right away if I can have his sperm but if we start to meet regularly, it will make asking him easier when the time comes and (might) give him the confidence to say yes!

    So if this forum can give me any advice about my situation I would be most greatful.


  8. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Vicky, thank you for sharing your thoughts on asking a friend to donate sperm. If you’re still following this blog, will you share what happened? Did you ask your boyfriend to be your sperm donor?

  9. I am 20 years old and I have been dating the same guy for almost 4 years now. I was pregnant by him once before and it resulted in a miscarriage. Since then I have been feeling like i have a giant hole in my heart. I have explained they situation to my bf but the only thing he has been saying is that he Isn’t ready for a child. whereas I am ready for a baby. I know that I am fully capable to take care of one. I would love to have as child now and have been considering a sperm donor for the last 2years. Would it be wrong to ask my bf to be a sperm donor for the child? There would be a contract drawn up as. Well.

  10. Kitty, before you ask a friend to donate sperm, you need to make sure you’re emotionally and physically healthy enough to raise a baby — especially if you want to raise one alone! It sounds like you’ve been through alot in your life. You’re a survivor, that’s for sure. If you feel ready to get pregnant and have a baby on your own, I think the best way to ask a friend to donate sperm is to be honest. And, draw up a contract that describes your and his rights.

    Rocio, I don’t think it costs anything to donate sperm to a friend – but it depends how it’s done. Is it through a clinic (which some say is the best way)? If so, it may cost the couple money, but not the friend. Except for gas, parking, and his time of course.

    Cincey_kid – I totally agree! The best way to donate sperm to a friend is to get an attorney to draw up a legally binding contract, and have all parties sign it. There may even be contracts on the internet that can be used – you may not even need a lawyer. Judge Marilyn Milian always says to grab the nearest piece of toilet paper and a crayon, and that will work as a contract. Gone are the days of having to pay lawyers hundreds or thousands of dollars to create a contract.

  11. Thanks for posting this. The problem I had with being asked to be a donor were the legal ones. I have been approached twice because I am a redhead and the father (and kind of father) was a redhead. One mother didn’t want him to know that I was sharing my sperm with her which I was unhappy to do. The other case involved a lesbian friend who wanted a father for “her wife.” I was flattered but didn’t want a process server showing up at my doorstep for back child support.

    What gave me cold feet and something else for that matter, was a friend of my sister who talked her friend to get her pregnant so she could have a baby on condition SHE would responsible for it. That idea worked until the bills started to roll in and after she spoke to my sister the feminist social worker who helped her file paper against him. I think the child support payments ended a few years ago. They went 18 years.

    I would get a good attorney. I don’t have problems with sharing my sperm otherwise.

  12. I have a friend that would like to donate his sperm, but he would like to know if it well cost him anything to donate his sperm to a friend?

  13. I am a single, loving woman who lives alone. i am 20 years old with a long line of abuse both sexually and physocally. i am frightened of committing relationships… i am straight but have given up on men. i refuse to date for obvious reasons. i make enough money to have a child and really want one. i was pregnant once and when i told the man, he pushed me down a dlight of stairs and i misscarried. i was 4.5 months. i went into labor and wasnt alloud a hospital. the baby who could have been saved, was born and died in my arms… i still live with this every day and i am desperate for a babe of my own… how do i go about asking a freind for a baby???!

    I am fair, handsome, graduate. I don’t smoke nor drink. I am vegetarian.
    I am married, to a beautiful wife, & having two children.
    I do diamond business.I live in Mumbai-india. My date of birth is 01/01/1962.
    I don’t have any disease. No BP ,Diabetes, HIV , nothing.
    I want to donate sperms directly to donee ie. A female recipient.
    I want more children, but my wife is not in favour of the same.
    I am of a opinion that the sperm recipient should know directly the background of the sperm donor.
    Even I should know to whom I am donating sperms.
    How a woman can use sperms for procreation, from a male who sells for MONEY, its disgusting & WHOSE BACKGOUND SHE DOES NOT KNOW.
    I want to donate sperms to a woman who is INTELLIGENT OR BEAUTIFUL OR EXCELLENT IN SOME FIELD.BUT SHOULD HAVE SOME EXCELLENT TRAITS, Ie. characteristics
    If any woman interested in my sperms ,[100% free, how any one can take money I can’t think of such an act ] contact me …

  15. Dear M,

    I think you need to respect your friend’s response: it’s authentic, real, and incredibly valid. And, you need to let it go.

    My husband and I asked two men to donate sperm: a close friend and my brother-in-law. Both guys said no, because of the exact reason your friend is hesitating. It DOES muddy the waters, and it’s not as easy as “we’ll keep it a secret and nobody ever has to know.”

    If two people know, then it is no longer a secret. And it’s not only unfair to the child not to know who his biological father is, it’s potentially disastrous. Research shows that adopted children – and children conceived in fertility clinics – are better off knowing about their roots.

    I think that you’ve made a beautiful, kind, generous, loving offer to your friends. If someone offered me his sperm, I’d be all over it!

    But you need to respect your friend’s decision, and not bring it up again. They’re aware of your offer, and if they change their minds — which DOES happen as the years go by, believe me! — they will say something to you.

    I hope you can accept their decision for what it is, and accept and enjoy their friendship without resenting them.

    Thank you for sharing your story; I’m very glad to hear it! It warms my heart to know there are people like you in the world 🙂


  16. My closest friend and his wife have been trying to have a baby for 3 years. So far they are unable to conceive even in a clinic. They do not wish to go all the way with IVF as it feels too unnatural to them.

    They have 3 attempts left (only 6 allowed) to make it work, but it seems very unlikely. I have offered to be a donor for them as i love them both more than anything or anyone else in the world. And I want so badly for my friends to be parents.

    the husband, to whom I am closer, has said that he doesn’t want to use a donor or to adopt as he would always feel like he was raising a stranger’s child. I told him this way, he wouldn’t be raising a stranger’s child, but a child born completely out of love. I also stated that I would not try to be the “father” or anything like that.

    In fact, I am offering that this can be done completely as a secret between me, my friend and his wife. No one else would ever have to know that my friend is not the biological father unless they choose to tell.

    My friend’s reaction so far has been to say that he fears it wold ‘muddy the waters’ in our relationship. My response to that is that there are no waters left to muddy. He and his wife both know how much I love them (in fact they are already the beneficiaries of my life insurance and the heirs to my will, and health care power of attorney). We share a spiritual life together and are closer than I have ever been to anyone. Yes, I am in love with my friend, he and his wife know this and have known it for a while, that is not going to change whether or not they decide on me being a donor, so, yes, all those waters have already been tread.

    I will never have children of my own, and they aren’t likely to have them either unless they go with a donor. So, if their final attempts (going into a clinic and injecting) don’t work, I really hope they’ll decide to use me a donor. At least then they can tell everyone they conceived naturally, the child is 100% theirs (no one need ever know but the 3 of us), and the child would be conceived entirely in a loving relationship.

    what do you think?

  17. Hi Rahim,

    Thanks for your comment. I agree that donating sperm to a friend who needs it is noble. I wish my friend had donated his sperm to us, but also believe that sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for…


  18. I think donating sperm is noble …… If you have people who want to have a child and they have a problem assisting them is the least you can do ….

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Cal,

    Donating sperm to a couple is a wonderful thing to do! It can also be very emotional and complicated – so make sure you take time to think about it and make sure you’re doing the right thing.

    I encourage you to call the fertility clinics in your city, and ask about the process. Some fertility clinics may accept your sperm directly, and transfer to her. Others may require you to go through a sperm donation bank.

    Different states and provinces have different laws and regulations, which means there isn’t a “catch all” answer.

    If you donate your sperm to a sperm bank and specify that it’s only for your couple, then it’s unlikely they’ll give it to other couples. It’s possible, of course, but I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about.

    Remember that not all donated sperm turn into babies. Sometimes it takes several attempts for a successful pregnancy, depending on the woman’s body, genetics, age, etc.

    Lawyers don’t necessarily need to be involved if you go through a sperm bank, because there you’ll sign a contract saying that you are donating your sperm and have no legal rights to the baby.

    I hope this helps, and wish you and your friends all the best!


  20. One of my best friends wants me to donate sperm to her and her partner. They live in another state so I was wondering how it will work. Do I find a donor bank that will transfer my sperm to them or do I have to work with their doctor and he will recommend a lab that will safely transfer it. I only worry about donor banks because they might take my sperm for their own use and I will have hundreds of random children in the world lol. Do lawyers usually have to get involved? I am leaving the country in a month so I was hoping there would be a simple solution. Thanks!

  21. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Shana,

    That’s interesting that you’re 19, and already thinking about getting a sperm donor! You’re definitely a planner, and you’re probably highly organized as well 🙂

    If you ask a friend to donate sperm five years before you actually need it, don’t expect him to commit one way or another for sure. He could say yes or no….but you never know what’ll happen in the next five years! You could be married, or he could be married, or you could be living in different states or countries. He could get sick, or you could decide you’d rather adopt after all. There are too many possibilities to list!

    So, I’m all for talking about asking for a sperm donation from a friend…but if the actual process isn’t for five years, then I encourage you not to get hung up on his answer.

    You really do have lots of time to think about how you’ll get pregnant and have a baby…I think you should enjoy your life now without worrying too much about how you’ll get pregnant in five years. When the time comes, I bet you’ll find the perfect solution…or the perfect partner…

    Thanks for your question, it was great to hear from you.


  22. this is a good understanding of how a man would feel when asked something of that nature. i’m considering it as a future possibility. i’m 19 but have never been in a relationship and may never have that connection with anyone but i do want a child. i thought about when the time is right i could adopt but i want to actually have a baby. i was considering asking my best friend to donate sperm if this is still the case when i’m 24. would that be a good idea or no?

  23. Asking someone to help father a child is a very intimate request. I would think that if the man being asked took it lightly, you might want to reconsider using his sperm in the first place!