United Kingdom

Anonymous mother-to-be reveals how she and her husband plan to keep baby's biological father secret

An expectant mother has revealed how she and her husband plan to keep the truth about their child's biological father completely secret, after using a sperm donor found through Facebook. 

The anonymous British woman appeared on Woman's Hour today and explained that the couple had undergone IVF on the NHS because of her husband's fertility issues, but were left devastated when the process failed.

She turned to Facebook to find a sperm donor, and, after agreeing terms and conditions with a stranger to donate his sperm, she is now pregnant.

She revealed she and her husband have vowed to keep the truth about their child's biological father a secret, explaining: 'We've chosen not to tell anyone because nobody knows my husband is not able to have children. As far as our child is concerned, my husband is their father.'

It comes after  The Sunday Times reported international shortages of sperm donations due to lockdowns across the world is fuelling the online black market.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has warned it is unregulated and carries significant risks such as sexually transmitted infections or genetically inherited disorders. 

An expectant mother appeared on Woman's Hour today as she revealed she and her husband plan to keep the truth about their child's biological father hidden after using a sperm donor found through Facebook

The woman revealed she had turned to Facebook to find a sperm donor after learning her husband had fertility issues after a failed round of IVF.

It was the only one available to her on the NHS, after her husband had fertility issues.  

She explained: 'Back in 2016, we visited the doctor because we'd been trying for a year without any success.

'We went through the relevant tests and we then went for our first round of IVF which took placer in October 2017.

'Obviously it was disappointing we couldn't concieve naturally but it was a route we had to take and we just came to terms with it.'


Sperm donation is commonplace in the UK and used to help people start families when they can't have children of their own naturally – if, for example, a male partner is infertile, if both parents are women, or if the mother is single.

Clinics in the UK are not allowed to pay men to donate sperm, except up to £35 to cover expenses such as travel. More may be offered if accommodation is necessary.

A law change in 2005 means men can no longer donate anonymously and must agree for any children born from their sperm to be able to find out who they are after they turn 18. 

However, a donor father will never be required to parent the child or pay child support. 

Sperm donors are usually aged between 18 and 41, although older donors may be allowed in some cases.

A donor will visit a fertility clinic once a week for between three and six months to make a complete donation – at each visit the donor will ejaculate into a cup and their sperm be frozen.

Donated sperm cannot be used to create any more than 10 families per donor, and the donor is allowed to withdraw his consent at any time until the sperm has been used.

Source: Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority 

She said the couple were 'disappointed' when the process didn't work, adding: 'If we wanted to try again we'd have to find thousands of pounds.

'It was actually my husband who suggested we go down the unregulated route. 

'He was comfortable with that because he wanted to be a father and, though it wouldn't biologically be his, it would still give him that opportunity.'

The woman said she joined several Facebook groups to 'understand what was out there' and 'how it worked', explaining: 'It was just talking to other people really of what sort of things to be aware of. 

'There's a list of names of people to avoid, who have multiple accounts, and advice on what to ask. There's also advice on getting to know the donor.'

The woman said: 'I put up a bit about myself and my husband, obviously not in great detail because we want to remain anonymous, but we would obviously speak to the donor. 

'Once we got to know someone, we would ask a bit of background on their medical history and family medical history etc.

'You can see what sort of documents are real or not real because you can do research on google to see what seems real and what isn't real.'

She said after meeting someone online and feeling 'comfortable with what she had seen', she decided to meet up with him. 

She explained: 'The first donor we used, I arranged to meet up with him.

'I let him know when I wasn't far from the location, he would prepare the sample,  meet up, hand it over, and then I would go and do what I needed to do.

'We did have a success but unfortunately that ended up with a miscarriage.'

After the miscarriage, the anonymous woman revealed she used a different 'more local' donor, explaining: 'He traveled to me at my home and I was more relaxed in my own environment and now I'm pregnant.'

Before the donation, the couple agreed on the conditions of the process, with the woman admitting: 'We don't want any contact with him, he has absolutely no rights to the child.'

Meanwhile she said the entire process would be kept completely secret from family and friends, including the baby, saying: 'My husband's name will go on the birth certificate.'

The mother-to-be revealed that the process had impacted her and her husband's mental health, saying: 'Having to go through that IVF journey and for that to not work. and then the prospect of not being able to afford more IVF, it's changed so much.'

But she said now the couple have been able to move forward and are feeling more optimistic about the future, explaining: 'Our relationship is better, mental health is better. It's given us something to look forward to.'

Meanwhile she said she was paying no mind to people who would be critical of her choices, saying: 'You've got to not think about what other people think. There are going to be people out there who think this is wrong, that you shouldn't do this.

'You've got to do whats best for you. I think that's one of the reasons we've chosen not to tell anybody. We're happy and comfortable with the decision that we've made.'

Since 2005, children conceived through sperm donation can contact their biological fathers if they wish to do so from age 18. A donor is only allowed to donate 10 times. 

Donors cannot legally be paid, bar expenses, which usually amounts to £35. 

Imported sperm from overseas can cost from £600 per 0.5ml for completely anonymous donations, and can reach £1,300 for families to know more about the donor. 

More than 7,000 samples are imported from overseas each year and Brexit has created small delays in delivery. 

Desperate couples turn to Facebook to find sperm donors as low stocks at fertility clinics amid pandemic fuel an online 'black market' 

Desperate couples are turning to Facebook to find sperm donors after the Covid-19 pandemic left fertility clinic stocks depleted and delayed IVF treatment. 

One British donor claims he's received dozens requests in the past year - and while he donates his samples for free, he says other men are charging fees of up to £200, which is illegal. 

Others request to donate their sperm 'naturally' - via sexual intercourse. 

HFEA said a fifth of NHS fertility services have had to stop collecting samples from donors due to the pandemic, and private clinics are recording a fall in the number of donors.

Donors have reported a surge in requests since the start of the pandemic, with some revealing they've donated as much as 10 samples since March 2020.  

Bradley White, 36, a father-of-six from Northampton, said he received up to 40 requests for his sperm in the last 12 months and has given his samples for free and provided STI checks, but claimed other men were charging hundreds of pounds for their samples.

'The cost at donor banks is astronomical and with the pandemic a lot of it has stopped,' he said, explaining couples and women were turning to Facebook to find other ways. 

White admitted travelling to Ipswich to donate two samples to a couple who put him up in a Premier Inn, and said he provided them with a recent STI check for their 'peace of mind.' 

'It seems really shady or dodgy but what comes of it can be great,' White said, adding that he was inspired to donate after hearing of a friend's fertility troubles.  

Because the groups are not regulated by the HFEA, there is also no way of knowing whether the donor has been checked for STIs or genetically inherited disorders which could be passed onto a child.

There is also a risk that donors could still be seen as the child's father in the eyes of the law and be pursued for child maintenance - something which the official channels guard against.

Football news:

Tedesco has discovered Promes from a new angle: he is also great between the lines. Grigoryan about the midfielder
Manchester United and Arsenal are Interested in midfielder Fluminense Martinelli, compensation - 40 million euros
Courtois on 2:1 with Barca: Real showed that they can fight
Messi has not scored against Real Madrid since May 2018
Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid beat Barca deservedly. You can't blame everything on the judge
Ronald Koeman: The referee should have taken a clear penalty. But Barca will have to accept it again
Sergi Roberto on Braithwaite's fall: I was surprised that the referee immediately said that nothing had happened. He did not address VAR