Unregulated Sperm Donation
Donating your sperm outside an HFEA-licensed treatment centre
Sperm donation in the UK is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in accordance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. The rules around who can be a sperm donor in the UK are very strict to protect you as the donor, the recipient and the donor-conceived child. Clinics are also subject to rigorous testing and reporting.
In a clinic environment, sperm donors must:
- be between the ages of 18 and 41
- be willing to be screened for medical conditions
- have no known serious medical disability or family history of hereditary disorders
- know (or be able to find out) their immediate family medical history – children, siblings, parents and grandparents
- agree to be registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) as a donor and be willing to be known to any child born following their donation
- not put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- not knowingly leave out any relevant information which could affect the health of any children born as a result of their donation
- receive implications counselling
- NOT receive payment for donating other than compensation for expenses (up to £35 per clinic visit).
Additionally, sperm donors in the UK can only donate to up to 10 families.
Recipients of donated sperm in an HFEA-licensed clinic are the legal parents of any child born following treatment.
The reasons for such controls are to provide a safe donation environment for all the parties involved so that everyone’s physical and emotional health is protected, and also to offer a clear legal framework around parenthood.
Unregulated sperm donors
For a variety of reasons you might be considering donating outside of a clinic setting. Whilst it might be tempting, we would urge you to remember that the regulatory body exists to protect you, the recipients and any donor-conceived children.
If you are considering donating outside a clinic setting it’s important you’re aware that:
- Legal parenthood could become very complicated. You could unwittingly become the legal father of the child. This would result in you having all sorts of unwanted rights, responsibilities and obligations towards a child.
- You could become financially responsible for any child born.
- There is a very real risk that you could become infected with a sexually transmitted infection or other disease.
- Your personal safety could be in danger.
- A lack of independent implications counselling for both you and your recipients could mean that things arise that you’d not had the opportunity to explore and discuss.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has set up a group called Lifecycle which brings together donation experts. They have put together some ‘best practice’ leaflets about donation and what you might expect from your clinic – although practice is likely to vary from clinic to clinic. Click here to download the leaflet »
In The Media
Over the last ten years there’s been an increase in egg and sperm donors coming forward in the UK. This didn’t happen by accident. Media coverage, in whatever way, shape or form, has an important role to play. The more media inches, the more awareness, the more donors come forward.
It is as simple as that.
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