How can I find a sperm donor?
Some clinics have donors available, so speak to your clinic first. If your clinic is unable to help, it may be worth considering contacting other clinics to see if they can help you. Donors are out there, so be proactive and spread the word that you are looking for a donor! Here at the NGDT, we can help support you in your search for a donor and we are happy to provide free posters and to work with you if you contact the local media. We also have up-to-date information on clinics which are successfully recruiting donors and which may have donors available.
Our clinic does not have a sperm bank and has suggested that we use imported sperm. Is there anything we need to be aware of?
There are some factors that you might wish to take into account if you’re considering importing sperm.
We can’t afford fertility treatment with donor sperm but have seen websites where men are offering to be sperm donors. Is there anything we need to be aware of?
If you’re considering using an unregulated sperm donor then there are a few things you might want to consider first.
My friend/family member has offered to donate his sperm to us. Can we use it at home to inseminate ourselves?
This is called ‘known donation’ and many clinics will be able to help you. Your friend or family member should be aged between 18 and 41, and be in general good health. Ask your clinic for a joint initial appointment to talk through the process and the implications involved. Counselling will be offered to all parties and most counsellors would recommend at least one counselling session with all parties and partners. If you choose to go down the known donation route then we would encourage you to do so in an HFEA licensed treatment centre to protect all parties’ emotional and physical health, and also to ensure that the legal parenthood status is clear. Using a known donor outside of a fertility clinic setting could have a range of adverse consequences.
Sperm donors are just male students after a bit of beer money who pop into the clinic every now and again, aren’t they?
Sperm donors are men from all walks of life aged between 18 and 41. A sperm donor can’t just go into a clinic and give a one-off donation. Sperm donation is a relationship between a donor and a clinic which could mean a year between the first screening and the last blood test. It involves regular blood tests, screening and donations. Compensation of £35 is paid for each clinic visit to cover expenses.
How do I order donated sperm? Can I buy more than one sample at a time? What happens if I want to try and have more than one child from the same donor?
How you order donated sperm depends on where you are getting it from. It is possible to buy more than one sample at a time and this is something your clinic can help you with. Depending on the availability of samples from the same donor, it might also be possible to reserve samples for future use and have more than one child from the same donor.
Can I use an anonymous donor?
Anonymous donation no longer takes place in the UK (it stopped in 2005). All donors in HFEA-licensed treatment centres now have to agree to be identifiable when the donor-conceived person reaches 18. If you have treatment with donated eggs, sperm or embryos abroad then depending on which country you go to might mean that your donor is anonymous.
I’ve heard donors get paid a lot of money to donate. Is this true?
Sperm donors can receive up to £35 in compensation for each clinic visit. A sperm donor isn’t being paid for donating sperm but is receiving remuneration for expenses and inconvenience he may have incurred, such as childcare, travel expenses and time off work.
Do I have to tell my child they are donor-conceived?
Like all aspects of family life, how any family handles the subject of donor conception is unique to that family. While all donors now have to be identifiable, there is no law that says all donor-conceived people must know of their genetic origins. Some families are very open with their children about their genetic heritage while other families don’t tell at all.
Many families join Donor Conception Network, a highly experienced charity offering an extensive range of help, support and guidance to potential and actual parents of donor-conceived people, and to donor-conceived individuals.
Is there a shortage of donors?
While the number of sperm donors has increased in this country so has the number of patients needing treatment with donated sperm. This means that demand for donated sperm can outstrip the number of available donors.
Will I have to go on a waiting list for a donor?
Many clinics take a proactive approach to recruiting their own sperm donors. Accordingly they may have no waiting list or you may have only a very short wait. The average waiting time for Caucasian donated sperm is six to eight months. The waiting time can be longer if you are looking for a non-Caucasian donor. You can find out more about clinic availability by getting in touch with us.
How much information will we receive about our donor and when?
You can find out more about the information available to you and your donor-conceived child about your donor on the Donation and The Law page.
How do we know that our donor is healthy?
The UK is one of the most heavily regulated fertility sectors in the world. Donors have to undergo rigorous physical and emotional health screening and testing to be accepted as a donor. This includes checks on current and previous health as well as an analysis of sperm quality. You can find details of the donor prerequisites on the Donor Criteria page.
Will our donor already have children?
Not necessarily. Having their own children proves fertility, but many clinics accept non-parents as donors.
Will our donor know that we have a child/children? What information will the donor receive and when?
At any time a sperm donor can ask the clinic to let them know:
- if a pregnancy has resulted following their donation
- if there have been any live births
- the number of children born
- years of births
- gender of any children.
Your donor will not be given any identifiable information about you or your children.
I’m not sure if using a donor is for me. Is there anyone I can talk to about this?
All clinics will offer counselling as part of the treatment. This counselling is with an independent trained counsellor and will give you the opportunity to talk through any issues and questions you may have.
Many families join Donor Conception Network, a highly experienced charity offering an extensive range of help, support and guidance to potential and actual parents of donor-conceived people, and to donor-conceived individuals. The charity also runs workshops that provide you with a safe space in which to meet other people who might be considering sperm donation and to explore your own issues around using a sperm donor.
How can we meet other families who have used donors and have donor conceived children?
One way of meeting other families who have used donors and have donor-conceived children is to join Donor Conception Network, a highly experienced charity offering an extensive range of help, support and guidance to potential and actual parents of donor-conceived people, and to donor-conceived individuals. Donor Conception Network also organises conferences and workshops, and provides other informal opportunities to meet up with other families in your local area.
I already have one child from a donor. Is there any way I can ask the donor to donate again so I can try for more children?
Yes. If you haven’t already purchased samples or there are no more samples available, you can ask your clinic to approach your donor directly to ask him if he would be willing to donate again.
If I want more than one child should I use the same donor or different donors?
This is a personal choice. You and your clinic counsellor could explore the options and implications with you. It’s possible to ask the clinic to approach the same donor to ask if he would donate again.
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.
National Fertility Awareness Week is 30 October – 5 November.read more
Donor stories needed for article for the Sun on Sunday on sperm donation…read more
10 Years since the Ending of Donor Anonymity. What now?read more