Donating sperm at CARE Fertility
This information must be read in conjunction with HFEA leaflet:
“What You Need To Know About Donating Sperm, Eggs or Embryos”.
Thank you for expressing an interest in becoming a sperm donor. If after reading all the information you have further questions (no matter how trivial you might imagine them to be), please feel free to contact us.
The use of donor sperm as a fertility treatment addresses a major problem. For many years there has been a relative shortage of donor sperm available for couples where the male partner has significant fertility problems or is a carrier of a serious genetic condition.
With a growing awareness of how important it is for some donor-conceived people to find out more about their genetic origins, the Government lifted anonymity for donors in April 2005. This means that anyone conceived using donated sperm will be allowed to ask the HFEA for identifying information about the donor when they reach the age of 18. This removal of anonymity has resulted in a drop in the number of sperm donors.
Who needs donated sperm?
There are couples that can't have a baby because the male partner is unable to produce any sperm, or sperm of high enough quality to allow it to be used in infertility treatment. In these situations the only treatment option we can offer to them is the use of donor sperm. The availability of donor sperm is extremely limited and it is very difficult to recruit sperm donors, so we are very grateful to you for expressing an interest in donating sperm.
Would I be a suitable sperm donor?
You may or may not have already had a preliminary interview to assess your suitability as a donor. If you have not, after reading the information you will be asked a series of questions to make sure that you are suitable to be a donor before we can discuss this further. Current regulations require donors to be between the ages of 18 and 40 years, should be fit and healthy, and they and their families should be free from any serious medical condition or genetic disease.
There are certain high-risk groups from which we cannot recruit donors. If you belong to or have ever belonged to any of these groups we cannot accept you as a sperm donor.
- Drug users
- Haemophiliacs (treated with blood products).
- Residents from high-risk areas such as Central Africa.
- Men who, are or ever have been, sexually involved with members (male or female) of the above groups.
Once you have received and read our information, we will arrange an appointment time for you to attend CARE for a test semen analysis and run through the procedure in more detail with a member of our team. We will ask you to produce a semen sample, so that we can test how sperm react to being frozen. For this and any future samples, you should abstain from having sex or masturbating for at least 2 days but no more than 5 days, to maximise the potential of your sample.
What happens after the initial sperm test?
Following your sperm test, we will contact you to let you know whether or not you may be suitable to be a donor on the basis of the result of your semen test freeze/thaw. Due to the survival rate of sperm (approx 50%) during the freeze/thaw procedure not many men who volunteer as sperm donors are recruited. Please be aware that rejection as a sperm donor does not mean that you are unable to have children. Indeed a sizeable proportion of men who are rejected as donors already have children themselves. If however your semen analysis result indicates to us that there may be a major problem we will inform you of this.
If your initial test results are acceptable we will invite you to attend a second appointment with one of our clinical team, please bring your passport or Photo driving licence to this meeting (for ID purposes). A detailed medical history form will accompany your acceptance letter, and you should complete this and return it to the clinic at least two weeks prior to your appointment, along with details of your GP. A doctor will go through the medical questionnaire with youand answer any questions you may have. Registration and consent forms for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government organisation that regulates the provision of infertility treatment in the UK, will be completed at this time.
It will also be necessary for us to contact your GP to confirm your suitability as a donor and you will have to sign a form giving us permission to do this. In addition, a certain number of tests must be carried out to clear you of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and make sure that you do not carry any genetic abnormality. The tests include blood and urine samples so you should be prepared for blood to be taken and a genital examination. We will contact you as soon as the full set of results is obtained (usually within 3 weeks).
All CARE patient notes are kept locked away when not in use. There are a limited number of personnel who have access to your file and we will only communicate with your GP(s) once we have your signed consent to do so.
Counselling is strongly recommended for all men wishing to embark on the Sperm Donation Programme, as the issues involved are highly complex. All topics pertaining to treatment, legal requirements and possible future problems may be covered, along with particular queries the couple may have. Counselling is an opportunity to consider whether you want to proceed, and also to ask questions and clarify for yourself what donation will actually mean for you.
What happens after I am accepted as a donor?
Donors are registered with the HFEA, which means anyone conceived using donated sperm will be able to consult the register and find out who the donor was, once they reach 18. This is a point to which you need to give serious consideration and is something that will be discussed with you at your initial appointment. It is important to note however that the donor of sperm is NOT the legal parent and you will not be financially or emotionally liable for the upbringing of any child created using your sperm.
As it is possible for a virus to reside in your body (and your sperm) but not be detectable for up to 6 months, we must repeat your screening tests a full 6 months after you finish donating. You should therefore ensure that you are available to attend the centre 6 months after your final donation. This enables us to release the sperm for treatment, subject to satisfactory final screening results.
Strict guidelines are laid down for reimbursement of expenses and donors are able to receive compensation of up to £35 per visit. We will provide you with a form to claim reimbursement which should be completed and returned to CARE once you have completed your donations.
How much time is expected of me?
Samples need to be produced at CARE by appointment only and we do our utmost to offer you mutually convenient appointment times. Appointments will be made with the laboratory staff after each donation. Donations need to be made regularly (within a 2 month period) and you should anticipate attending the clinic at least once or possibly twice a week until sufficient sperm has been collected and stored, usually around 8 donations, although this varies from donor to donor.
We would be very grateful if you could encourage other men to donate. We need as many donors as possible to allow us to continue to treat couples desperate to start families of their own.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a sperm donor.