This is my story about how I became a special man – although I didn’t realise I was special at the time.
Being a sperm donor had never crossed my mind to be honest. I’d heard all the jokes about donors and about how seedy it was, but that was just my perception before I actually became a donor!
Well, here goes…
My name’s Stephen and I live in the South West of England, work full time and am single. In 2013 I woke up one night with a weird feeling and started questioning what I’d done with my life. I hadn’t met the love of my life and I hadn’t had children – I’d seen my siblings get married and have children. That night I started thinking that there must be loads of people who have found that very special person who they want to be with but who can’t have children for some reason. I then started thinking about sperm donation. Well, as I couldn’t sleep, I fired up the computer and went on the internet. I found the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) and they gave me details of fertility clinics in my area.
The information the NGDT gave me was particularly good because the clinics had a named contact for donors. I contacted the clinic and they responded very quickly. They also sent me some excellent information about being a sperm donor and what it involves.
My clinic contact said the best way forward was to make an appointment to produce a sperm sample to be analysed, frozen and defrosted, and then tested again to see if the sperm survived the freezing process.
Because I don’t have children my concern was what happens if I have fertility issues myself. But then I thought ‘What have I got to lose? If I don’t do the test I may never know.’ I didn’t want to go through life looking back and wishing I’d done this and regretting not taking a great opportunity.
So, I made an appointment to produce a sperm sample for the clinic. The staff were very friendly and supportive. They checked my ID and took me to a room to produce my sample – that was a weird experience! Once I’d produced my sample, I completed a form and label, and asked the fertility clinic staff to countersign the form. I left the hospital and went home – I live two hours away. By the time I’d got back home I’d had an email from the clinic saying that the sperm test was very good and my sperm had survived the freezing process. I was told that the next stage of the process was to have an appointment with the doctor at the clinic and to arrange blood tests, tests for sexually transmitted infections and to go through my family medical history. The clinic also emailed me the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) registration forms for being a donor and the goodwill message form. I also had to complete a fertility clinic questionnaire. All the forms were very easy to read and complete. I found I had time to fill in the goodwill message which is a message from me to any child born following my donations.
I went to my appointment and went through all the documentation with the embryologists. We talked about how many families I would like to help and how long my sperm can be stored for. I also agreed to my sperm being used if I die.
I then went and had my blood tests done. I don’t normally like having my blood taken but I didn’t feel a thing – it was very quick even though they did take quite a few samples. Then I met the consultant who went through everything with me: my sperm tests, the number of times I’d need to donate, why I wanted to be donor. I then had to visit the GUM clinic, (genitourinary medicine clinic). Never having been to one before this was very interesting. They took details of my sexual history, examined my private parts, and then I had to produce a urine sample. Blood tests were done separately – all donors have a genetics blood test done as well.
I then had to wait for all the blood and urine test results to come back. They came back quite quickly. The genetics test took quite some time but all the results came back OK. I was then given dates to produce my samples. I produced two samples a week over two months, Tuesdays and Thursdays, allowing my sperm count to build up between donations.
During this time the clinic advise that if you are sexually active that you practise safe sex. This was OK for me as I was single. Once I’d completed all my donations, they were quarantined for 180 days.
Once the 180 days had lapsed, the clinic contacted me and made arrangements for me to go in and repeat all the blood and urine tests to rule out any sexually transmitted diseases. This happens for all donors. All my results came back OK and my samples have been released for treatment.
Donating my sperm has to be one of the most important things I have ever done for anyone. I hope my donations bring hope and a bundle of joy to a loving family. My only ever regret was not doing this sooner – but I’m pleased that I’ve done it now.
Thank you for reading.
I wish anyone who’s thinking of donating all the very best