- Why are sperm donors required?
Many women wish to have children but are unable to do so because their male partner is infertile or they have no male partner. Fertility treatments which require donor sperm from licensed sperm banks can help them.
- Can I discuss sperm donation in more detail before making a decision?
At your first appointment, you will discuss the process of sperm donation and get a better understanding of what we will require of you. Ask as many questions as you like.
An appointment with a qualified counsellor is a prerequisite once you are accepted in the programme, but if you wish to speak with a counsellor before deciding whether to apply, we can arrange an appointment for you.
- What tests are required before I can become a donor?
As part of the process of sperm donation all potential donors will be tested for the following infectious and genetic conditions:
HIV 1 & HIV 2, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Cytomegalovirus, Gonorrhoea, Trichomonas, HTLV 1 and 2, Rhesus antibody screen, Cystic Fibrosis, General Chromosome Screen, as well as ethnicity-specific tests (such as Sickle Cell where necessary).
Apart from this, all potential donors will be asked to provide semen samples for analysis to ensure that they are producing healthy sperm suitable for freezing.
- Will I have to sign a consent form or legal document allowing use of my sperm?
Yes, you are required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to sign consent forms.
- Who shouldn't become sperm donors?
- Intravenous drug users
- Men who have had unprotected sex in areas known to have large numbers of AIDS cases
- Men who have had unprotected sex with multiple partners in the last six months
- Men who have been to, or are planning to visit, a Zika or Ebola risk country in the last three months.
- Men who have been adopted and do not have access to the medical history of their biological parents
- Men with infectious disease
- Men with a family history of genetic conditions
- Will I receive payment for donating my sperm?
In accordance with HFEA guidelines, we are allowed to reimburse donors a fixed sum of £35 per clinic visit to reflect any out of pocket expenses the donor may have incurred.
- What about if my expenses exceed £35?
The HFEA guidelines also allow us to reimburse reasonable out of pocket expenses exceeding £35 (i.e. travel but excluding loss of earnings). Our laboratory manager must pre-approve expenses exceeding £35 and you must provide receipts.
- How and when will I receive this money?
Your expenses are paid in two parts; £20 paid during your visits to the clinic (per 10 visit intervals) and the remaining £15 once your samples are out of quarantine and cleared, which is generally about a year after your acceptance as a donor.
- If accepted, how often will I need to produce samples?
Donors should ideally produce samples at least once or twice a week over a four to six month period. Occasionally, donors produce less. It is important that you abstain for three to five days before each sample.
We do appreciate that holidays, work or illness may interfere, but a commitment to producing samples regularly is important and appreciated.
- Where will I produce my samples?
We have private and discreet rooms at the London Sperm Bank where you produce your samples by masturbation. The semen sample is produced in a labeled container and then immediately passed to laboratory staff.
- What happens to my samples after production?
Samples are analysed by trained scientists to check sperm count and motility. If they are suitable for freezing, they are mixed with a cryoprotectant solution and frozen in liquid nitrogen. The HFEA permits the storage of frozen sperm for a maximum of 55 years.
- How many samples do you expect from me, and how long is my commitment to you?
We aim to freeze 20-25 samples from each donor, but you may need to produce more, because some samples may not be suitable for freezing.
We need donors to be available for follow-up blood and urine test six months after producing their final sample. We prefer that this is done at the clinic, but it can be arranged with another doctor in exceptional circumstances. If the final blood and urine tests are satisfactory, we are able to use your samples.
- How many children could result from the use of my sperm?
Each donor is able to produce ten families in the UK. Each family consists of one or more children to a particular mother, and patients generally prefer to use the same donor for 'sibling' children. Donor sperm may be used in treatment cycles outside the UK, where local rules may regulate the number of children born from that donor.
- Will I have parental or legal rights and responsibilities?
Amendments to The Human Fertilisation & Act (HFE Act) were introduced from 1st April 2005. These amendments removed donor anonymity; this means that children born from sperm donation can access identifying information about their donor once they reach 18.
Knowing about their genetic heritage helps people understand who they are. This is why we ask you to give information about your family and medical history and to write something about yourself that a donor-conceived person can read when they reach 18.
You have no legal responsibilities to any child created from your donation. The person who received your donation (and their partner if they have one) will be the child’s legal and social parent(s). You will not be named on the birth certificate and you have no rights over how the child is brought up. You will not have to contribute financially to the child.
- Do sperm donors remain anonymous?
Identifying information about sperm donors is never available to the recipients. However, donor-conceived children can request identifying information when they reach 18.