I think the first question everyone asks is what made me decide to become a donor? I had been a blood donor when I was younger and I liked the idea that I could help people. A friend of mine had been a sperm donor and I know of couples who have experienced some problems trying to conceive. So, I thought: ‘Why not?’
I saw an advert campaign which made me think about it more and what the next steps were going to be for me. So, after some research I contacted the Birmingham Sperm Bank, which is an NHS-run clinic. Initially, for the assessment, I was nervous. However, the donor coordinator at the Bank really put me at ease. He explained how children born as a result of my donation could contact me when they were 18, but that they had no legal rights for money or anything. After this discussion it was time to provide a sample. This was weird at first, but after the first donation, when I realised that nobody was going to be waiting outside the room with a stopwatch, I started to relax and get on with it.
Once accepted as a donor I wanted to understand a bit more about some of the questions I’d been asked so the staff explained some of the medical aspects. On one occasion, after I asked, I even got to see my sperm under the microscope – which was fascinating! For me, once I started donating I made sure that my donations were close together rather than stretched out over a long period of time. This enabled me to get into a routine and build a rapport with the team – who turned out to be a great friendly bunch of people.
I would encourage anyone to find out if they can donate and if they can, to do it. It can be a bit peculiar initially, as it is strange going to the clinic, going off to a room then coming back out knowing that the person who is looking after you knows what you have been doing! However, I feel really great to have been a donor. I already know that my sperm has helped as donors can find out whether any children have been born as a result of their donation.
If you’re thinking of becoming a donor, I would urge you to do it. It’s a great feeling knowing you have done something for someone who really needs your help.
Thanks and all the best on your donation journey!