GUIDE FOR USE

OF DONOR SPERM

  • Book an appointment to see your consultant at RHG
  • Discuss your treatment options
  • Arrange for your screening and counselling
  • Contact the donor coordinator
  • Discuss your choice of sperm donor with the coordinator
  • Finalise your choice of donor and pay for the donor sperm
  • Wait for the sperm to arrive at the clinic
  • Begin your fertility treatment

Donor sperm in fertility treatment means that the sperm is produced by a man other than the woman’s partner and then used to fertilise an egg either by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the laboratory or by intrauterine insemination (IUI) where the sperm is injected directly into the woman’s uterus through a fine catheter passed via the cervix.

The use of donor sperm may be suggested in cases where the male partner is producing little sperm or none at all, where the sperm produced has been shown to be of very poor quality and thus unlikely to successfully fertilise an egg, if a man has had a vasectomy or if there is a risk of passing on an inherited (genetic) disease or condition.

Donor sperm will also be needed if the treatment is being undertaken by a woman who is single or in a same sex relationship.

In UK clinics the law allows for sperm donors to be used where the actual donation process has been managed through a Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licensed clinic. Certain health checks and screening checks are completed before, during and after the donation process. By managing sperm donation in this way both the patient, the donor and any child born as a result of the treatment are safeguarded as far as possible both from a health and a legal perspective.

Making the choice to use donated sperm is not easy. There are psychological implications for all those involved. At the Reproductive Health Group it is always essential to have adequate and appropriate counselling before any such treatment is undertaken. Our counselling service is independent, run by an experience fertility counsellor and gives the patient the opportunity to discuss any concerns linked with treatment.

At the Reproductive Health Group there are currently two options when seeking fertility treatment using donor sperm. The first is to purchase sperm from one of two donor banks and importing it to our centre at Daresbury Park. This option means that the patient can choose the donor and does not need to wait for the donor to become available. The second option would be to use a known sperm donor. All our patients are assisted throughout the process by highly qualified and experienced professionals including clinicians, embryologists, nurses and counsellors.

In 2005 there was a change in law surrounding sperm (and egg) donation. It meant that any child born as a result of treatment with donor sperm had the right to access information held about that donor through the HFEA. In most circumstances the child cannot access this information until the ages of 16 and 18, however there are exceptions linked with serious health issues.

Patients thinking about purchasing sperm need to make sure the donor chosen complies with UK law. Patients should discuss their treatment options with the consultant and then contact the sperm donor coordinator through donorenquiries@reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk

The coordinator will guide you through the process of purchasing sperm and liaise with the sperm bank when it comes to approving the donor and organising the shipping of the sample(s). Once the sperm is in our laboratory you are able to proceed to the next step of treatment which is usually IVF or IUI.

The two donor sperm banks the Reproductive Health Group works in collaboration are Xytex Cryo International and European Sperm Bank.

Xytex Cryo International www.xytex.com

This is a large cryo bank based in Georgia in the USA. The company offers a number of different donors who meet UK legislation and the sperm can be imported to our centre. When searching for a sperm donor at Xytex you will need to search for “UK compliant” donors.

European Sperm Bank www.europeanspermbank.com

This large donor bank is based in Denmark. The bank also has a clinic in the USA and as a result some of the donors are American. The bank offers a number of different donors who meet UK legislation and the sperm can be imported to our centre. When searching for a sperm donor at the European Sperm Bank it is important to first select the client country and clinic country as the United Kingdom. The status should also be “open”.

Other Websites of Interest

National Gamete Donation Trust ( www.ngdt.co.uk )

Donor conception network ( www.dcnetwork.org  )

British Infertility Counselling Association ( www.bica.net )

HFEA (section on using donor sperm) ( www.hfea.gov.uk/76.html )

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