Woman reveals decision to have child by anonymous donor

Sperm from Danish clinic used by 38-year-old in Dublin procedure

The feet of Angela’s son, who was born in June.

The feet of Angela’s son, who was born in June.


A 38-year-old Irish woman has spoken about her decision to become a mother through anonymous sperm donation.

The woman, known only by her first name Angela, is featured in a documentary on RTÉ Radio 1, Pregnant On My Lunchbreak. It will be broadcast on Saturday and streamed online tomorrow at rte.ie/doconone.

Angela’s son was born in June this year.

She speaks in the interview of accessing donor sperm from Denmark, where the donor can still remain anonymous.

The Danish sperm bank Cryos, the world’s biggest, ships sperm to over 70 countries. It has a web-based database where prospective mothers can browse through hundreds of donor profiles, not unlike shopping online.

Using a login, they can search by ethnicity, eye and hair colour, height and weight. Angela chose a donor who is similar to her in looks - tall and fair.

She told the programme that she always wanted a family, but was in her late thirties and had not met anybody. She considered adoption, but decided to go for anonymous sperm donation through the Repro Med clinic in Dublin, which carries out intrauterine insemination (IUI) at a cost of €2,800 for tests and procedures.

She said the procedure, as explained to her, was “no big deal. You were practically going into your local shop and buying something. I came out of the place saying to myself, ‘I think I’ll do that. It’s no big deal’. It took the pressure off.”

Dr Declan Keane, senior embryologist at the clinic, said it was the “biggest bravest decision for anyone coming through this door”.

The IUI procedure only takes 30 seconds. “It is a very simple gynaecological procedure. You can relax afterwards. To everyone’s surprise, you can head back to your normal daily routine.”

The title of the documentary comes from the 10 minutes that Angela spent in the clinic being artificially inseminated. “I was back in the car and I was thinking to myself that nobody had a clue what I had just done. I just felt totally relaxed. I just continued my day and I didn’t really think about it.”

Angela said she was adopted herself and wanted her own “flesh and blood. For me it is something that I’ve thought about all my life - to wonder what it was like to look like somebody.”

The process of artificial insemination (AI) is unregulated in Ireland, so sperm donors can be anonymous or known. In the UK it is now illegal for a sperm donor to be anonymous.

Angela admitted that her decision to have an anonymous donor was something that “plays on my mind” especially if her son looks for the identity of his father in future years.

The documentary will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 at 2pm on Saturday.