What is a sperm bank?
A sperm bank, or cryobank, is found at a fertility clinic. It is a licensed facility where sperm is donated, frozen and stored so that it can be used to help women become pregnant through the process of artificial insemination, or intrauterine insemination (IUI). There are many fertility clinics in the UK that are licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association (HFEA), both on the NHS and privately. The waiting list for donor sperm varies with each clinic. A separate license is needed if donor sperm is to be purchased from another country and these fertility clinics may charge more for this service.
What is the sperm donation process at a sperm bank?
The donor is to have screening tests, medical history checks and counselling before they are accepted as a registered donor. The potential sperm donor must supply a sample of semen at the centre, which will be tested against its reaction to freezing and the overall sperm count that is generated each time. If the specimen meets the criteria, the potential donor is invited to another session, where they will be asked to provide another sample of urine and semen. All donors have a thorough assessment, which includes being tested for infectious diseases such as HIV 1 and 2, Hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted diseases. The process can take weeks but once completed and accepted they can then donate sperm.
How many times does a person need to donate sperm?
The donor is expected to donate several times over a period of months and maybe even regularly throughout a year. This allows the clinic or facility to build up a good supply of the donor’s sperm. Not all fertility treatments are successful the first time, which means that enough samples must be collected in case the recipient needs to use it more than once, if necessary. Qualified sperm donors are expected to donate at least once a week, but they are encouraged to visit the office two to three times per week.
Why would a sperm donor recipient use a sperm bank?
There a few reasons as to why people choose to use a sperm donor. Couples may use a donor if their partner has a poor semen analysis or if there is a genetic problem, which could be inherited from the male. Single women who want a biological child may also use a donor. LGBTQ couples may consider using a sperm donor in order to conceive.
Who can donate sperm?
A sperm donor must meet specific requirements in regards to their age and medical history. To qualify, the donor will need to meet the following criteria:
- Must be aged between 18-44 years old.
- The family history must be traceable.
- No history of sexually transmitted diseases.
- No serious illnesses or health-related issues.
- No family history of genetic disorders.
- Sperm donors in the UK who donate via a centre have to provide written consent.