The use of donor sperm in fertility treatment means that the sperm used to fertilise an egg is produced by a man other than the woman’s partner. The donor sperm can be used for in vitro fertilisation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection or intrauterine insemination, depending on what is the most appropriate treatment for the woman.
There are several circumstances where the use of donor sperm may be suggested. These include, when the male partner is producing very 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 from the male partner. 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 from both a health and 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 experienced fertility counsellor and gives the patient the opportunity to discuss any concerns linked with treatment.
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 identifying information held about that donor through the HFEA. In most circumstances the child cannot access this information until the age of 18 and it is never made available to the parents.
At the Reproductive Health Group we currently have arrangements with several sperm banks all of whom supply HFEA compliant sperm. Please contact our Donor Sperm Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to find out more information. 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. We are also able to facilitate the process should wish 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.