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History of Sperm Donation


Sperm donation is a popular procedure that is beneficial for women who are considering artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Today, the procedure is common and frequently used. The history of sperm donation dates back as early as the 18th Century.

Early Donor Insemination

The first records of a successful artificial insemination are from 1790s, when the Scotsman Dr. John Hunter succeeded in artificially inseminating a woman.

Almost 100 years later, professor William Pencoast, from the US, inseminated a woman (with a sterile husband) using the semen of the best looking student. However, the couple was informed only later of this procedure.

Starting from this first donor insemination case, several procedures had been performed, but they were kept private and all records were destroyed for privacy reasons. Certain donors were used on a regular basis to inseminate women that required semen for fertilization.

Donor Insemination Becomes Public

The donor insemination (DI) became public only in 1954, when the process was described in the British Medical Journal. The first DI performed with frozen sperm was in 1953. The procedure was the reason for debate for many years, and it was considered adultery by many people (and was declared illegal).

However, in 1964, the DI was accepted in Georgia and later it became legal in the entire US, provided both parents gave their written consent. The insemination must be performed by a certified physician.

The very first sperm bank in the US was opened in the early 1970s, and several others have opened since.

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