Importing Sperm Into The UK For Treatment

Using a sperm donor in a UK clinic

Sperm donation in UK clinics is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in accordance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. The rules around who can be a sperm donor in a UK clinic are very strict to protect you as the recipient, the donor-conceived child and the donor.

Sperm donors must:

  • be between the ages of 18 and 41
  • be willing to be screened for medical conditions
  • have no known serious medical disability or family history of hereditary disorders
  • know (or be able to find out) their immediate family medical history – children, siblings, parents and grandparents
  • agree to be registered with the HFEA as a donor and be willing to be known to any child born following their donation
  • not put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • not knowingly leave out any relevant information which could affect the health of any children born as a result of their donation
  • receive implications counselling
  • NOT receive payment for donating other than compensation for expenses (up to £35 per clinic visit).

Additionally, donors in UK clinics can only donate to up to 10 families.

The reasons for such controls are to provide a safe donation environment for all the parties involved so that everyone’s physical and emotional health is protected, and also to offer a clear legal framework around parenthood.

Using imported sperm

If you’re considering importing sperm from abroad then it’s important to be aware of the following factors and how they might impact on you and your child’s physical and emotional wellbeing:

  • lack of stringent HFEA regulation governing donation in the country of origin
  • donor’s screening tests, and personal and family medical history are often not investigated as thoroughly
  • even though the donor can only donate to 10 families in the UK, there’s potential for your child to have a very high number of half-siblings around the world (maybe over 100)
  • an absence of counselling for the donor may mean that they are less aware of the implications of their donation.

What are your alternatives if your clinic doesn’t have a sperm bank?

  • Move clinics to one with a sperm bank
  • Buy sperm from other UK clinics and have it shipped to your treating clinic
  • If you’re an NHS funded patient, you might have an option to transfer your funding to another clinic with available donor sperm.