Using donor sperm
For some people, sperm donation is the only way to have a baby. There are a few different routes you may take when using donor sperm. Here we’ll explore where to find donor sperm and how donors are approved.
Where can you find donor sperm?
The safest option is to use donor sperm for treatment at a licensed UK fertility clinic. This will ensure that all of the necessary health and quality checks have been performed prior to use. This includes genetic screening, infection screening and semen analysis. When selecting a donor, you can:
Choose from a donor list within your clinic
Some clinics have their own donor banks where you can select your donor. You may have an appointment with a donation coordinator that can help you match your characteristics to a donor or choose from a list. It’s important to note that some clinics have long waiting lists, so this can be important to check before being matched with a donor.
Import donor samples from overseas
It is also possible to purchase donor sperm from accredited donor banks abroad. They often have a wide selection of donors with detailed online donor profiles and characteristics. Your clinic should confirm if they can receive samples from the donor bank of your choice, as they need to ensure that there are processes in place to maintain the safety of samples in storage and shipment and minimise any risk to you.
Use a known donor
You may have someone in mind that you would like to use as a donor. Talk to the experts at your clinic about what you and your donor might need to do in order to proceed with a known donation.
How are donors approved?
Donor sperm banks have a screening process for applicants that includes a semen analysis, medical history, genetic screening and screening for sexually transmitted diseases . The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) requires that all donors complete a counselling session prior to approval. A known donor would be subject to the same screening process.
Donor sperm for home insemination
Home inseminations with frozen donor sperm are not easily accessible in the UK. Donor sperm banks in the UK do not sell samples for home use and do not send samples to home addresses. If purchasing from a donor bank abroad, they may have different legislations that might not allow shipments of frozen sperm to your home address. The HFEA recommends having the sample shipped to a UK licensed fertility clinic where you can have treatment. If you’re using a known donor for treatment at home, you might want to consider speaking with a fertility solicitor and a fertility counsellor to ensure all of the possible medical and legal implications are clear if you do decide to go that route.
Donor connection websites
There are websites that connect or match recipients with sperm donors and enable them to communicate on their platform. They may then meet and arrange insemination privately, without attending a clinic. If you are considering using these services, you might want to consider speaking with a fertility solicitor and a fertility counsellor to ensure all of the possible medical and legal implications are clear if you do decide to go that route.
Patients using donor sperm in treatment must attend counselling and will be informed of the UK’s legislation on the identity of sperm donors and will need to complete the appropriate consents. Since 2005, donors in the UK are no longer anonymous. Children conceived using donated sperm will be allowed to ask the HFEA for information about the donor when they reach the age of 18. That will enable them to find out who the donor is and get in touch with them if they choose. The donor will have no financial or legal obligation to any child born from donation.
Some other resources that may be useful: