Sperm donation laws by country

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Sperm donation laws vary by country. Most countries have laws on sperm donation and place limits on how many children a sperm donor may give rise to. The main reason to limit sperm donations is the risk of accidental consanguinity or inbreeding between donor offspring. In some countries such limits are voluntary while in others they are imposed by law. Other laws include a prohibition on use of donor semen after the donor has died, or to the payment to sperm donors. Other laws may restrict IVF treatment to married heterosexual couples, banning such treatment to single women or lesbian couples. Such restrictions on sperm donations or the ability to obtain IVF treatment has created fertility tourism by those seeking such donations or treatments to countries which do not impose such restrictions.

Overview table[edit]

Country Donor payment Children per donor Donor anonymity Allowed recipients
Australia no data no no data
Belgium no data 6 children varies [3] no data
Canada no data 25 children per population of 800,000[4] no[5] no data
Denmark 200–500 DKK[6] 12 children[7] varies [8] Everyone
France no data 5 children[9] yes[10] no data
Germany varies 15 children[11] no Usually married heterosexual couples
Hong Kong no data 3 children[12] no data no data
Netherlands expenses 25 children[9] no Everyone
New Zealand travel expenses 10 children to 4 families (clinical policy, not legislated) no Everyone
Norway no data 8 children[13] no no data
Spain no data 6 children yes[14] Everyone
Sweden 300 SEK 12 children to 6 families (2 per family)[15] no Married or in cohabitation[16]
Switzerland expenses 8 children no Married heterosexual couples
United Kingdom £35 to cover expenses[17] 10 families worldwide[17] no Everyone
United States of America varies No enforced national limit; guidelines recommend 25 births per population of 850,000[18] varies Everyone

By country[edit]


In Victoria, there is a limit of 10 families per donor.[1] In Western Australia, the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 (HRT Act) limits the number of families for each donor to 5.[2]


The limit of children born from each donor is now six. Before the law was changed in July 2007, a medical practitioner could make his or her own decision on the maximum. In the late 1990s Belgian fertility clinics (or sperm banks) imported large amounts of donor sperm from other countries and this led to Belgium becoming a 'fertility destination'. However, the Belgian Parliament became concerned about this and, along with the promulgation of the Tissues Directive by the European Commission, the Government decided radically to alter the laws relating to maximum numbers.


There is no upper limit to the number of donor offspring in Canada, but sperm banks generally follow the same recommendations as in the US, i.e. a maximum of 25 offspring per population of 800,000.[4]


In Denmark, one donor may give rise to 12 children.[19]

However, Denmark also exports semen worldwide, and where it is the limit of the importing country that is followed, or, when there is no such limit, a fixed amount considering that country's total population,[20] in order to exclude any risk of consanguinity.

Through the export it may result in that some single donors have over 100 biological children worldwide who are genetic half siblings[21]


In France, donations from a single donor may give rise to six families, but there is no limit to sibling numbers.

Single women and coupled lesbians are not permitted to have treatment using donor sperm. Women in these categories therefore seek treatment abroad, particularly in Spain, Belgium and Denmark. Before the changes to local laws in Spain and Belgium which restricted the numbers of children permitted to be born from a single donor, these were the preferred fertility destinations and clinics in these countries frequently bought in sperm supplies from abroad to satisfy demand.


Legislation provides that a donor may not produce more than fifteen children through his donations. The legal position surrounding donations to single mothers and lesbians is still awaiting clarification by the courts. At present a donor can run the risk of paternity proceedings if his donations are used in such cases.


In Israel, sperm donation is mandated by the Ministry of Health.[22] There are 12 authorized sperm banks and hospitals across the country, and 2 more in private research facilities. Only unmarried, healthy men under the age of 30 are allowed to donate sperm, and they are financially compensated for it.[23] Men who want to donate must get to the hospital, pass an interview and blood-checks. They are also prohibited from donating sperm in more than one sperm bank. Finally, anonymity is kept indefinitely; the donor would never receive information regarding offsprings, and vice versa.

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, a voluntary policy law by fertility clinics limit one donor to "fathering" a maximum of 10 children to 4 families.


Clinics in Norway have a maximum of 8 children per donor.[13]


The law now provides that there must not be more than six births per donor. The same law applies to egg donations. Prior to the change in the law in 2008, clinics set their own maxima on the numbers of children produced from each donor. Spain was becoming a destination for fertility tourists, i.e. women seeking to become pregnant through the use of donor sperm and Spanish clinics were purchasing donor sperm from other countries in order to satisfy demand (see Onselling in main article). Many UK women were travelling to Spain at that time to be impregnated with sperm imported from clinics in the UK for example, where there were already controls on the numbers of children which each donor could produce.

The change in the law in Spain coincided with Europe-wide discussions on the use and export of human cells.

Sperm donation is only permitted by anonymous donation. Surrogacy is not allowed.


In Sweden, a donor may give a child to a maximum of 6 couples. However, each pair may have a sibling in addition. Thus, the limit is 12 children per donor.[15][24] Nevertheless, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) recommends a maximum of 6 children per donor.[25]

Artificial insemination by donor may be done only if the woman is married or in registered cohabitation, and requires written consent of the spouse or partner.[16]


In Switzerland sperm donation is only allowed for married heterosexual couples—not for unmarried couples, singles or homosexual couples. A donor may give rise to a maximum of eight children.


The HFEA sets a limit of 10 families within the UK which can be created using the gametes of one donor.[17] However, there is no limit to the number of children which may be born to each such family from the same donor. A donor may set a lower limit and may impose conditions on the use of his sperm. Until April 2010 there was no prohibition on the export of sperm from the UK provided that the number of families created in the UK from a single donor did not exceed ten at the time of the export. This meant that in practice some donors could produce substantial numbers of children worldwide until that date. Special permission is required from the HFEA for the export of embryos.

A shortage of sperm donors in the UK led to calls from the British Fertility Association for a relaxation of the maximum number of families allowed to be produced from a single donor and for donation and distribution to be handled on a regional basis. In the meantime, some clinics continue to export sperm and to import vials from clinics abroad almost on an 'exchange' basis which enables them to use samples from a wider pool of donors, but they must now ensure that the donor does not produce children for more than ten families. One must meet certain criteria to donate as well as being between 18 and 45 years old to donate sperm as well as it being processed and checked for 6+ months after donating.


In the USA, there are no regulations governing who may engage in sperm donation.[26] Rather, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and other expert groups (e.g., American Association of Tissue Banks) provide recommendations and guidelines.[26] The ASRM guidelines limit a donor to 25 live births per population area of 850,000,[18] although this is not enforced by law, there is no central tracking, and it has been estimated that only about 40% of births are reported. It is likely that some donors have over one hundred genetic children.[27] Some sperm banks impose lower limits; e.g., the Sperm Bank of California has a limit of ten families per donor,[28] and the Rainbow Flag Sperm Bank has a limit of donor children by six different women.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Monash IVF sperm donor info" (PDF). Mivf.com.au. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Western Australian Reproductive Technology Council". Rtc.org.au. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b Women shopping for super sperm Sue Montgomery, CanWest News Service; Montreal Gazette. Published: Saturday, December 10, 2005
  5. ^ "Canadian court bans anonymous sperm and egg donation". nature.com. May 27, 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  6. ^ "Din kompensation by Cryos". Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  7. ^ "Vejledning kunstig befrugtning for vaevscentre by Sundhedsstyrelsen" (PDF). 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-15.  (Danish)
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ a b "How Many Children? by Paul DiLascia" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  10. ^ [3][dead link]
  11. ^ Sperm donors may be used for paternity by single-mothers and lesbians
  12. ^ Human Reproduction Technology Ordinance
  13. ^ a b "Rikshospitalet HF - Bli sædgiver". Oslo-universitetssykehus.no. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  14. ^ [4][dead link]
  15. ^ a b Sahlgrenska Hospital's sperm donor information (Swedish)
  16. ^ a b "''The Genetic Integrity Act (2006:351)''". Notisum.se. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  17. ^ a b c HFEA information for donors
  18. ^ a b ASRM guidelines for gamete and embryo donation
  19. ^ "Vejledning om kunstig befrugtning". sst.dk. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  20. ^ "Questions and answers". cryos.dk. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  21. ^ "Danske sæddonorer kan være fædre til 100 børn hver". etik.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  22. ^ "General Manager Directive" (PDF). health.gov.il. 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  23. ^ "MOH Sperm Donations". health.gov.il. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  24. ^ "Karolinska University Hospital". Karolinska.se. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  25. ^ SOSFS 2005:17, Ändring i föreskrifterna och allmänna råden (SOSFS 2002:13) om assisterad befruktning (Swedish)
  26. ^ a b "fertilitycommunity.com". fertilitycommunity.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  27. ^ "DSR_Discussion Yahoo group". Groups.yahoo.com. 2003-06-16. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  28. ^ The Sperm Bank of California information on donor sperm[dead link]
  29. ^ "Rainbow Flag Health Services". Gayspermbank.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13.