Becoming a donor
As someone who’s interested in becoming a sperm donor, here’s what you can expect to happen following your first contact with a fertility clinic (although there might be some slight variations between clinics).
- Find and then contact your fertility clinic of choice online or by phone to express your interest in becoming a sperm donor.
- Have an initial conversation with the fertility clinic, receive a named clinic contact and complete the clinic’s sperm donor application form. We can help and support you with completing your form.
- Following your initial contact, you’ll be invited to the clinic to produce a semen sample. You will usually need to abstain from any form of sexual activity for between three and five days beforehand. At this appointment you will also be given an informal opportunity to talk through various elements of donation and its implications. At your first appointment it’s a good idea to check your clinic’s compensation payment policy. Your semen sample will be analysed in a laboratory and if it meets the donation criteria, your clinic will ask you to come back.
- At your next clinic appointment you’ll be asked to give a blood sample for analysis. This will be:
– tested to determine your blood group
– screened for common genetic diseases
– checked for sexually transmitted infections.
- At this appointment a doctor might also examine you. Swabs could be taken and you might be asked to provide a urine sample. You’ll also be asked to sign a form giving the clinic permission to contact your GP and to ask for their medical opinion and information as to your medical suitability to be a donor. Your clinic will contact you once your screening results come back. Whatever the outcome of your results clinic staff will support, guide and advise you. In many clinics you will begin to receive compensation of £35 per visit for your time and expenses from this appointment onwards.
- A member of the clinic’s counselling team will meet with you to discuss the donation process and talk through the legal aspects surrounding it. This is your opportunity to ask about your rights and the rights of those receiving your sperm and of any child born as a result of any fertility treatment. If you have a partner then they can come along too – you’ll both benefit from talking things through.
- You can now begin donating. It’s likely that you’ll be donating weekly for about six months. You’ll be regularly screened to ensure you’re free from infection. Your sperm will be quarantined for six months.
- Once the six-month quarantine period is over, you’ll be asked to provide some information about yourself which will be registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and stored confidentially. You’ll also be asked to write something about yourself for your recipients and any children born as a result of your donation to read. You will probably be asked to start thinking about doing this before the six months is up so that you have plenty of time and space to think about what you want to say and share.
- Once the quarantine time is up, you’ll be rescreened for infections via a blood test. Provided the results are clear, your donated sperm will become available to be used by those who need a sperm donor to build their families.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has set up a group called Lifecycle which brings together donation experts. They have put together some ‘best practice’ leaflets about donation and what you might expect from your clinic – although practice is likely to vary from clinic to clinic. Click here to download the leaflet »