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Becoming a sperm donor

Why are sperm donors required?

There are many women who wish to have children but are unable to do so because their male partner is infertile or they have no male partner. They can be helped with fertility treatments which require donor sperm from licensed sperm banks.

Can I discuss sperm donation in more detail before making a decision?

Yes. At your first appointment you will have an opportunity to discuss sperm donation with members of the sperm bank team. 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 ethnic specific tests (such as Sickle Cell where necessary).

Apart from this all potential donors will be asked to provide a semen sample 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 a consent form.

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 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

Payments to donors

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 the reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses exceeding £35 (i.e. travel but excluding loss of earnings). Receipts must be provided for any out of pockets expenses exceeding £35.

How and when will I receive this money?

Your expenses are paid in two parts, half paid during your visits to the clinic (at regular intervals to suit you) and the remainder once your samples are out of quarantine and cleared, which is generally about a year after your acceptance as a donor.

Donating on the programme

If accepted, how often will I need to produce samples?

Donors should ideally produce samples at least once or twice a week over a three to six month period. Occasionally, donors produce less. It is important that you abstain for three 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 a 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.

Sperm donor responsibilities

How many children could result from the use of my sperm?

There is a maximum family limit of 10 which means that live birth events must be contained within the 10 family limit. Each family is permitted to request sperm for sibling use.

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 have removed the anonymity of donors; this means that children born as a result of sperm donation can have access to identifying information about their donor once they reach the age of 18.

Knowing about their genetic heritage helps people to make sense of who they are. This is why you are asked 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 have no rights over how the child is brought up, nor will you have to contribute financially.

Do sperm donors remain anonymous?

Identifying information about sperm donors is never released to the recipients. However, donor-conceived children can request identifying information when they reach the age of 18. More details.

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