I have been a sperm donor now for approximately three years. It is not CV worthy, however, certainly one of my greatest accomplishments.
Having children to nurture was not something I envisaged for my future (and that remains true at time of writing this), then I had a thunder bolt thought – why not donate sperm. At this initial stage, it was just that, a thought. As a biologist at heart I knew I would cherish the thought of passing on my genetic traits.
My sister had not long had a baby which had changed our family dynamic immensely. I was witnessing first-hand the love and joy children bring to a family, and how this little being brings them closer together and fills them with happiness. This was indeed the catalyst I needed to contact a fertility clinic about sperm donation.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I submitted the initial email to find out if and how I could become a donor. I had suspicions I would require my specimens to be tested and have a general health check. Other than that, I was entering the process somewhat blind.
The process was straight forward but a bit more involved than I had anticipated; I certainly wasn’t expecting to undergo a counselling session. Counselling is an important part of the process –this session was approximately one hour long and for possibly the first time in my life I openly talked about feelings. Surprisingly how day to day of modern life this does not happen and therefore was an eye opener.
While the counselling allowed me to think about my future, there was nothing socially, psychologically or morally deterring me from proceeding and hence I began the donation process. This included blood, urine, and of course semen tests. A quarantine period after the first several donations was required. The donation itself was a little nerve wracking the first time. I had to just remind myself that the people on the other side of the wall were professionals and this was something they dealt with on a daily basis, which made it easier.
The thing I actually found hardest was writing a letter to any potential children, known as a pen picture – knowing just what to say and how to say it took me about four weeks to piece together with the help of some very good friends. I knew I would be open to them contacting me at any stage throughout their lives and I would be okay with whatever relationship they wanted with me – whether that was to meet me just once, or to have on going contact, or even to be involved in their lives. Those first words they would have from me had to be just right.
I take lots of pride in knowing I have had a hand in changing people’s life. I have a sense of achievement, I have absolutely no regrets. I would encourage other men to consider doing this too.
It all began with wanting a family of my own, and choosing to adopt. Whilst attending a mixture of meetings and social events, I met so many people who had tried to conceive children naturally but for various reasons had been unsuccessful. I knew I wanted to help and so applied to become a sperm donor.
Ever since day one, I’ve found the entire experience to be incredibly rewarding and something I’d recommend to anyone considering it.
After an initial online application, I was asked to come in for a talk about my reasons for wanting to help, to discuss my family’s health history and to ask any questions I had regarding the process.
Absolutely everything about the process was thoroughly explained to me and a team of professionals in various areas of expertise were on hand to take me from step to step and answer any queries I had along the way.
I found the team to be very thorough and very professional, not to mention friendly, patient and empathic. Even when life gets in the way and you have to reschedule an appointment, be it a sperm donor freeze or blood test, the team are very accommodating.
Of course it’s great that you get some remuneration to cover travel costs, and I can definitely think of worse ways to pass an hour or so in the morning, BUT it’s beyond heart-warming when you catch a glimpse of wannabe parents and newly appointed parents with their young family come and go. It acts as a touching reminder that what you’re doing is helping people realise a dream and a life-changing goal.