A better path to parenthood for families using donor semen.
The Béa Applicator does not require intercourse to be used, and is a great option for you if you are building your family using donor semen. Before using donor semen with the Béa Applicator, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you and your family are safe.
In the UK, there are two main options for finding a sperm donor
1. Fertility Clinics
If you use a sperm donor through a HFEA-licensed UK fertility clinic there are very few risks and all parties are protected. The sperm donor will have no legal rights or responsibilities to any children born with their sperm, and they are limited to donate to up to 10 families.
2. Known Sperm Donors
If you have a private arrangement with an individual you are contacting directly, this individual is a Known Donor. Known donors are a great option for families who need donor sperm and who cannot access a clinic. There some simple steps you need to take to ensure you are safe.
Conceiving with a known sperm donor? Here are the basics
If you are a married couple or civil partners at the time you conceive, then you will normally both be treated as your child’s legal parents and can both be named on the birth certificate as parents. However, if you are single, unmarried or in a non-civil partnered relationship and you conceive through home insemination using donor sperm, then your sperm donor will be considered the child’s legal father. The donor will have to relinquish their rights in order for a partner or other parent to become a legal parent through adoption. The non-birthing partner who is not the sperm donor will need to go through a court process to secure legal parenthood status.
A Sperm Donor Agreement can make it clear what your intentions and expectations were when you agreed to be a sperm donor or to have a child through sperm donation. The process of creating a donor agreement can help prepare both parties and manage expectations ahead of insemination, and although the Agreement is not legally binding, it can help if a dispute arises. A Sperm Donor Agreement cannot be used to change a child’s legal father or second parent. This can only be done by a court order (see Legal Parenthood above). If you need more support with this, there are plenty of family law solicitors who specialise here. Contact the Béa Care Team for our recommended providers.
Donor Family Limit
If you enter a private arrangement with a sperm donor, there is no limit on the number of families that donor can create with their donated sperm. Some unregulated donors have reported conceiving several hundred children, and whilst this is rare, it is important to think about the possible implications this could have for your child. Be sure to discuss with your donor if they have any children of their own, if they have any children conceived through private arrangements and if they plan on donating again. The Donor Conception Network is a UK based charity offering information, support and community to donor conception families and has helpful resources for those conceiving with donor sperm.
To ensure your safety and the safety of your future child, it’s important that your donor is screened for infectious diseases (such as sexually transmitted infections, STIs). It is also important that your donor is screened for cystic fibrosis and other possible genetic conditions that could be passed on to future children. You should consider having the sperm tested to confirm that the sample will be a suitable quality for insemination. The semen analysis results should have normal parameters to be considered suitable for use. If you are uncertain of the status of your sperm donor, or your sperm donor is unwilling to undergo a semen analysis, contact the Béa Care Team.
The Béa Sperm Donor Checklist
1. Find a donor
You might have someone in mind to use as a known donor. Alternatively you can order donor sperm from a sperm bank or use a donor introduction website. Most donor sperm banks don’t ship to home addresses and will only have sperm samples sent to licensed UK fertility clinics. Some clinics will release samples for home insemination, however it’s not standard practice. You can check if a fertility clinic will release samples to you and explore online banks like Xytex, Cryos or European Sperm Bank or find a donor through a connection platform like Pride Angel.
2. Get legal support
It’s important to seek independent legal advice before drawing up a donor agreement. This will be a good opportunity to discuss legal parenthood, who’s recorded on the birth certificate, who will have financial responsibility for your child and, if there is a problem, how the family court will deal with it.
3. Create a donor agreement
A donor agreement may help manage the legal issues associated with sperm donation. While a donor agreement is not legally binding, the process of putting an agreement in place can be helpful in managing everyone’s expectations and may be of evidential benefit to a court dealing with any future disputes.
4. Will there be compensation for the donation?
You and your donor may want to discuss if they want compensation for the donation and how much that might be. Donors at UK regulated clinics can receive £35 in compensation per clinic visit, as set out by the HFEA.
5. Have a semen analysis performed
It’s important to ensure that your potential donor has a sperm sample that’s suitable for donation. You could have this performed at any private fertility clinic, alternatively an at-home sperm test kit. Check out Exseed Health and their kit.
6. Get screened for infectious diseases
Sexually transmitted infections are extremely common but most are easily treatable. All donors should be screened for sexually transmitted infections with a blood test for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis and a urine test for chlamydia. You should have a check up yourself too, as STIs can affect your chances of getting pregnant or can be passed on to your baby. Visit your GP if you have any symptoms or are worried you may have an STI, alternatively you can explore the self-sampling kits from Sexual Health London.
7. Get tested for genetic conditions
A chromosome analysis (karyotype) and a test for cystic fibrosis is recommended for all donors. The karyotype is a basic genetic test which checks that the chromosomes in your cells are structurally normal. Other tests that might be considered are genetic tests which determine whether or not they are a carrier of the genetic disease(s) most common in people who share their ethnic background (this could include sickle-cell disease and thalassemia). It’s unlikely you’ll be able to access these tests on the NHS, however you can check with your GP. Alternatively, these can be performed at a cost at a private fertility clinic.
8. Consider counselling
It’s natural to focus on getting pregnant, but counselling can help you work through the long term considerations, like the emotional aspect of treatment or how to tell your child about their donor. Licensed BICA counsellors can support you with emotional and legal implications around your treatment and can assist you when you move forward with your plans.
Want to get started with the Béa Treatment and a sperm donor but not sure how to start? Contact the Béa Care Team. We are here to support you on every step of your family building journey.Email the Béa Care Team