Sperm donation refers to the use of sperm, which has been donated by a third person or ‘donor’ to assist an individual, couple, or family, known as recipient(s), in their attempt to have a child. Donor sperm may be used for single women, same sex couples, or heterosexual couples where required in conjunction with IUI or IVF fertility treatment.
- Who are the sperm donors?
Donors are ordinary, physically healthy men from a broad cross section of society whose ages range from 18-50 years. Rotunda IVF sources donor sperm on behalf of our patients from Cryos International Sperm Bank. The donors have agreed to be ‘identifiable’. This is where the identity of the donor is not known to the recipient(s) at the time of treatment; although identifying information will be made available for access by any children conceived using the donor once they reach 18 years of age.
- How are the donors assessed?
All donors undergo rigorous assessment before being accepted and all are examined and given ﬁnal approval for donation by a medical doctor. Assessment involves screening both for genetic conditions and infectious diseases as well as a full psychological evaluation.
- Genetic screening
This involves an extensive medical assessment and a medical history covering grandparents and any descendants. The medical history focuses particularly on any heritable conditions that may be present in the family such as cystic ﬁbrosis. In speciﬁc situations, tests for other heritable diseases may be carried out (sickle cell disease, thalassaemia, Tay Sachs, etc.).
- Infectious diseases
All donors are tested for Chlamydia, HIV-I and -II, HTLV-I, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb), hepatitis C (HCV-Ab), syphilis and gonorrhoea. All semen samples are quarantined before they can be used to ensure, insofar as is possible, that the samples were negative for these diseases at the time of donation.
- Psychological Evaluation:
Through a process of questionnaire, counselling and personal interview, all donors are assessed to ensure they are psychologically sound before being accepted as sperm donors. During the evaluation process potential donors will be challenged on their reasons for deciding to become a donor, their thoughts on what being a donor means to them and many issues that may not have even considered when ﬁrst contemplating donating their sperm. Whist this process is used to assess a donor’s suitability, it also helps to reaffirm their decision to donate and ensures that they are far less likely to regret that decision in future years.
- What information is available about the donor?
The donor profile will include basic details and additional details to help patients with the donor selection process.
The proﬁle will include;
• Height, build, hair colour, eye colour
• Education and occupation
• Insights into the donor’s personality
• Supplementary psychometric testing
• Most have baby/childhood photographs all of which can be sourced directly from Cryos
It is important to remember the person who donates the sperm has signed away all legal rights and responsibilities to the sperm, to the embryos, and to any potential child resulting from their use.
- Identifiable Donors
At Rotunda IVF, we offer identifiable donors. This means that you the parent will not receive the donor's identifying information but any child born using an Identifiable donor will, at the age of consent, be entitled to the donor's identifying information. Regardless of this, the donor is not allowed to receive information about the identity of the recipient couple or the child. The donor has no paternal rights to a child born as a result of treatment to an anonymous couple using his sperm.
- What happens if we need to use donor sperm?
If treatment using donor sperm has been recommended, the patients will be directed to the Cryos website and given instructions to set up an account to aid them start their search. Patients are asked to view the donor profiles and select donors you would be happy to use. When selecting donors yourself it is always recommended to list 5 donors you would be happy to use, as not all donors would be available to you. Donor availability depends on pregnancy limits, appropriate quality of sample for your treatment type and whether or not a donor is already allocated to other patients. Selecting several donors maximises the chance that at least one of those you select will be available to you.
- If we have a child using donor sperm can the same donor be used for more treatment?
Yes, in most cases reservation of donor sperm for future siblings is possible. As soon as you know you have an ongoing pregnancy, if there is still some of that same donor available at the donor bank, we recommend you to contact Cryos directly in order to reserve sibling samples for future treatment.
To find out more about our donor program please contact us or book an appointment with a fertility specialist.