Newcastle Fertility Centre

Sperm donation

Cryotank

The information on this page is intended to give you an overview of the purpose and value of donating your sperm. 

After reading this information. if you still have further questions, please contact us. 

Information for potential semen donors

Thank you for expressing an interest in becoming a sperm donor.  The following information is intended to give you an overview of the purpose and value of donating your sperm.  If after reading this information you still have further questions (no matter how trivial you might imagine them to be), please feel free to contact the Andrology lab on 07850 489523 or e-mail us at NUTH.AndrologyNFCL@NHS.Net

Why do we need to recruit sperm donors?

An increasing proportion of couples who can’t have children discover the reason for this is because the male partner is unable to produce any sperm, or sperm of high enough quality/quantity to allow it to be used in fertility treatment.  In these situations the only treatment option we can offer them is the use of donor sperm which we collect and store from men like you. Donated sperm may also be used to treat female same-sex couples or single women, offering them the chance to have children through fertility treatment in a safe, licensed fertility centre. Current UK law allows for sperm from one donor to be used to create a maximum of 10 families.

As you may be aware donor sperm is extremely scarce in the UK and it is very difficult to recruit sperm donors, so we are very grateful to you for expressing a willingness to consider donating your sperm.

How does the recruitment process work?

The first thing you should do after making your initial enquiry is read this information and consider whether or not sperm donation is for you. You may have already had a telephone interview to broadly assess your suitability as a donor (if not this will be done before proceeding to the next step). In general, donors need to be between the ages of 18 and 45 years, should be fit and healthy, and they and their families should be free from any serious medical condition or genetic disease.

There are certain high-risk groups from which we cannot recruit donors.  If you consider yourself to belong to, or have ever belonged to, any of these groups you cannot donate sperm.

1.    Intravenous drug users.

2.    Haemophiliacs (treated with blood products).

3.    Residents from high-risk areas such as Central Africa.

4.    Men, who are or ever have been, sexually involved with male or female members of the above groups.

5.    Ebola virus survivors

Donors cannot donate if they have visited a Zika virus area within 3 months of the time of donation or if they plan to visit a Zika area during the period of donation. Donors may also not donate for 2 years after leaving an area affected at the time by an Ebola outbreak.

Once you have read the information, call us and we will arrange an appointment time for you to come into the centre and produce a test semen sample. This sample will be produced by masturbation. If you are unable to masturbate for any reason you cannot be recruited as a sperm donor.  We will be very happy to answer any questions you may have at this appointment.  Your semen sample will be produced in a lockable, quiet room on the premises here at Newcastle Fertility Centre.  For this and any future samples, you should abstain from having sex or masturbating for at least 48 hours but no more than 7 days, to maximise the quality of your sample.  At the initial appointment you will be asked to make a subsequent appointment as we need at least two samples to ascertain suitability. It is not unusual for us to then request a 3rd sample, if the samples you have provided are inconsistent. Irrespective of the outcome of these initial semen tests we will provide you with expenses of up to £10 for attending each appointment and producing the semen samples.

Ok, what happens next?

We will perform the tests we need to carry out to assess the quality of your sample, how well it can be frozen and how well it survives being frozen (these samples are always destroyed once the tMicroscopeests are complete). On the basis of these results we will write to you to let you know whether or not you are suitable to become a donor.

It is important to realise that the majority of men who volunteer as sperm donors cannot be recruited, mainly due to a failure of their semen samples to meet the necessary and exacting criteria we employ during the selection procedure. Please be aware that rejection as a sperm donor does not indicate you are sub-fertile, and indeed a sizeable proportion of men who volunteer as donors who already have children themselves will still be rejected.

However, if your semen analysis results are significantly abnormal we will offer you an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss it in more detail.

If my samples are suitable what happens next?

In the letter informing you that your samples have passed initial testing we will ask you to call us to make an appointment with one of our doctors.  A detailed medical history questionnaire will also accompany this letter, and you should complete this and bring it to your appointment, along with details of your GP and a form of photo ID (i.e. Passport or Driving License). You may also find it useful to write down any questions you have and bring them with you to this appointment.

The doctor will go through the medical questionnaire with you and you will have the opportunity to discuss all aspects of sperm donation with the doctor. You will also complete the consent forms necessary to register you as a sperm donor with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government organisation that regulates the provision of fertility treatment in the UK. 

It will be necessary for us to contact your GP to confirm your suitability as a donor and you will have to sign a form giving us permission to do this.  In addition, a number of tests must be carried out to clear you of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and make sure that you do not carry any significant genetic abnormality.  To perform these tests blood samples and a urine sample will need to be collected at this appointment. The results of these tests can take up to 8 weeks and we will contact you as soon as the full set of results is obtained. We will contact you to discuss the screening results. If you donate we will also ask you to contact the Centre about any medical information that may come to light after donation that may have health implications for any woman who receives treatment with your sperm.

How much is expected of me?

Once all the screening results are back and our doctors are happy to recruit you as a donor you will begin your sperm donations.

Donations to the clinic need to be made regularly and you should anticipate attending the clinic at least once a week until sufficient sperm has been collected and stored.  This usually takes 9 months, but this may vary from donor to donor. The time required to attend the centre and donate often takes no longer than 30mins each time, but please also consider your travel time to/from the clinic.

We try to be as flexible as possible to work around your personal circumstances but donations do need to be scheduled between 8am-2pm Monday-Friday.

Being a sperm donor does require a big commitment; we do ask that you think about this and can ensure you would be able to attend regularly for your donations.

At each visit you will be asked to sign a form relating to your current health.  This includes STIs but also foreign travel.  Please inform the team if you have plans for or have undertaken international travel to areas which have specific health issues eg malaria, Zika as this may have implications for your donation.

With your permission we may ask you to return for further donations at a later stage for instance to provide treatment for couples seeking siblings when there are limited supplies left.

Quarantining samples prior to use

As it is possible for a virus to reside in your body (and your sperm) but not be detectable for up to 3 months we will repeat your screening tests at intervals throughout your donation period and finally a full 3 months after your last donation. We will let you know when these screening tests need to be done and arrange the appointments with you. You should therefore ensure that you are available to attend the centre 3 months after your final donation.  These tests have to be done before we can use the sperm for treatment procedures.

What if a child born from my donation has an abnormality?

New problems can arise in children that do not obviously relate to their genetic parents or where the genetic link is new.  Whilst a rare occurrence it is possible that such a problem may have implications for your own family as the genetic donor and you need to decide that we can contact you to discuss that if it occurred.

You are responsible for ensuring that you have given all relevant information to the clinic as far as is reasonably possible. A donor may be considered liable if a child was born with an abnormality resulting from donation where relevant information was knowingly or negligently withheld. A person born with an abnormality from treatment using donated sperm could sue the donor if it is proven that they did not tell staff relevant facts about their own or family medical history during screening that could have been passed on from donation.

Payments for donors

At Newcastle Fertility Centre we are able to cover donor expenses up to a maximum of £750 for the complete donation period.  This will be provided in stages during your donation program.

What happens after I have finished donating?

Donors are registered with the HFEA who hold all your information confidentially.  Current UK law allows that anyone born as a result of treatment using sperm, eggs or embryos which were donated after April 2005 will be able to apply at the age of 16 years to the HFEA for non-identifying information about the donor.  This includes information such as physical description, ethnicity and the (anonymous) personal statement written by the donor.

At the age of 18 years the person may apply to the HFEA for identifying information about the donor, including name, date of birth, and last known address.

Should the HFEA receive such a request they will make a reasonable attempt to contact and forewarn you before disclosing identifiable details to anyone born as a result of your donations.

This is a point to which you need to give serious consideration and is something that will be discussed with you at your appointment with the doctor. It is important to note that as a sperm donor registered with the HFEA you are not the legal parent and you will not be financially or emotionally liable for the upbringing of any child created using the sperm you donated at Newcastle Fertility Centre.

Following donation we will ask you supply up-to-date contact information so that you can be informed if and when disclosure of identifiable information will be made it is important that you update us and/or the HFEA of any changes in contact details.

Can I change my mind?

You may change your mind at any point in your donor pathway.  On your written instruction ALL stored material involving your gametes will be disposed of.  We would always offer an appointment to discuss this decision since there may be conditions e.g. allowing for siblings only that you may wish to consider.  You are however free to vary or withdraw your consents at any time.  Please contact the department if you wish to do so.

Our commitment to a quality service

Newcastle Fertility Centre is committed to maintaining and improving our standards and is enrolled in the UK National External Quality Assurance Scheme (NEQAS) for semen analysis.  The centre is also licensed by the Human Fertility and Embryology Association (HFEA) for the procurement of donor gametes and delivery of infertility services.

Final words

Due to the difficulty in recruiting sperm donors we would be very grateful if you could inform any like minded family and friends of our donor program.  We need many more donors to allow us to continue to meet the needs of an ever increasing number of patients desperate to start families.

For more information on sperm donation please visit the website of the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) at http://www.ngdt.co.uk/.

Thank you once again for your interest in becoming a sperm donor at Newcastle Fertility Centre.

 

 

 

 


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