Top 10 myth busting questions on sperm donation
- You have to import sperm donors from abroad because there aren’t many in the UK (or so few that there’s a long waiting list)
There are definitely sperm donors in the UK. There are a few good UK donor banks and some clinics have good recruitment programmes and can offer very short waiting times. It is true there are still not sufficient numbers of donors to meet the growing demand and to offer the level of choice that some patients would like. However, for those wishing to choose a donor recruited in the UK there are options.
- Once donors became identifiable in the UK when the law change no one came forward to donate anymore
- PARTIALLY TRUE BUT NOT THE WHOLE STORY
Numbers did go down temporarily, but that was because all stocks of anonymous donors could no longer be used. This left a gap in supply for a short period but very quickly the numbers picked up and have increased year on year since. The real issue is that demand has also gone up.
- Since the law changed, if I donate in the UK I will be responsible for any children who contact me when they turn 18
A donor who donates through a licensed clinic has no legal or financial responsibility to the donor conceived children they help create.
- Donating my sperm (or eggs) is a good way to make some extra money
It is true that you can be compensated for your expenses, but the payment is not high. The complex screening and time commitment required, plus the long-term implications of becoming a sperm donor (considering the child that may be born as a result) mean that there are much better and easier ways to make money.
- I’m a single woman/part of a lesbian couple so the sperm donor should be called Dad
A man who donates sperm through a clinic or sperm bank is not anticipating taking on a parenting role. It’s better not to consider them a ‘Dad’ which could be confusing for a child who may then expect a personal relationship with them.
- Donors are paid to donate and are only doing it for the money
The financial compensation for donors in the UK is minimal and strictly regulated. Given the complexities (physical, practical and emotional) of becoming a donor it is highly unlikely people are doing it for the small amount of compensation they receive in return.
- Not going through a UK clinic leaves the donor potentially responsible legally and/or financially for any child created.
Not having the security of using an HFEA licensed clinic where you can be officially registered as a donor means you may be considered to be the father of the child, and have all the responsibilities that come with that.
- Donors don’t get paid enough so no-one is coming forward to donate
There is no evidence that donors are motivated by money. Most donors are glad that their expenses are covered but they come forward because they want to help, not because they want to be paid.
- Being a sperm donor means you won’t have your own sex life
While a sperm donor does have to have some temporary restrictions on his sex life to ensure sperm quality when he donates, this is not a long-term situation.
- If I’m not accepted as a donor then that must mean I have a fertility problem myself
There are many reasons you may not be accepted as a donor, but generally the requirements to be an egg or sperm donor are higher than when trying to conceive yourself because of the processes you have to go to in order to donate. It is perfectly possible to conceive naturally if you are not able to be a donor.