Over the past 30 years, more than 50,000 babies have been born in the UK thanks to sperm donation.
If you’re considering using donor sperm, it can be difficult to know where to start. At abc ivf, our team of experienced fertility specialists are on hand to provide you with support, guidance, and advice at every stage of your fertility journey.
We’re proud to offer high-quality fertility treatment with donor sperm at an affordable price.
Who uses donor sperm?
Donor sperm is used by a variety of people. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), lesbian couples account for roughly 35% of IVF cycles that use donor sperm, whilst single women and heterosexual couples make up around 20% and 44% of these cycles respectively.
Why do people need donor sperm?
As we all know, you need an egg and a sperm to make a baby. Because lesbian couples and single women don’t have a partner who produces sperm, they can use a sperm donor to help them conceive.
There are many reasons why a heterosexual couple may decide to use donor sperm, including:
- The male partner has no sperm
- The male partner has poor-quality sperm
- The male partner suffers from a genetic condition he doesn’t want to pass onto his children
- Previous fertility treatments, such as IVF or ICSI, have been unsuccessful
Single men or same-sex male couples may need to use donor sperm for the same reasons.
Treatments donor sperm can be used in
Donor sperm can be used in a number of fertility treatments including IUI, IVF, and shared motherhood. The treatment option you choose will depend on your circumstances, medical background, and personal preferences.
IUI with donor sperm
Donor intrauterine insemination (IUI) (sometimes called donor insemination, DI, or D-IUI) is a technique where prepared donor sperm is inserted directly into the uterus using a thin catheter. The sperm then swim to the fallopian tubes where they will hopefully fertilise an egg. This procedure is done during the most fertile stage of the menstrual cycle to maximise the chances of pregnancy.
Although IUI can be a good option for many people, it isn’t right for everyone. For example, it wouldn’t be suitable for you if you have blocked or absent fallopian tubes. Before starting treatment, your consultant will assess your medical background and recommend the best treatment option for you.
If you are interested in IUI, please have a look at our partner clinic, CREATE Fertility.
IVF with donor sperm
When you have in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with abc ivf, you will receive support at every stage of your treatment cycle.
An important step in your treatment is the initial consultation appointment. During this consultation , we will discuss the results of your ultrasound scan, and your consultant will create a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs. During your treatment consultation, we will also explore donor sperm options with you and show you the selection of donors we have available through our partnership with CREATE Fertility. We also have partnerships with Cryos International and the European Sperm Bank. Once you have chosen your donor, we will go through the required consent forms with you and make sure these are all completed correctly before you begin your treatment cycle. You can also source your own donor sperm through a registered sperm bank that is complaint with UK regulations and have it shipped to our clinic. The cost of this will vary at different sperm banks. If using your own sourced sperm then you will pay for our IVF package, unless the donor sperm requires ICSI. You can read more about this treatment option here.
The initial consultation is a great opportunity to ask any questions you have about the treatment process with donor sperm, but if you forget to ask something, don’t worry – our team are always available and happy to answer any queries you have.
Once you start your treatment cycle, you will be closely monitored so we know when to schedule your egg collection. Once your eggs have matured, your egg collection will take place at our partner clinic, CREATE Fertility. During this procedure, you will be under sedation as a fertility consultant carefully collects your eggs.
Once the eggs have been collected, they are combined with prepared donor sperm in a petri dish to allow fertilisation to occur.
The fertilised eggs (now called embryos) are left to develop in the IVF laboratory under the careful watch of our embryology team. After 3 or 5 days, the embryo(s) will be placed into the uterus during an embryo transfer procedure. Any remaining embryos of suitable quality can be frozen at an additional cost for use in the future.
Depending on the quality of your donor sperm, ICSI may be required. This technique involves directly injecting a sperm into each egg instead of allowing fertilisation to occur in a petri dish.
Shared motherhood (also known as reciprocal IVF, partner IVF, or intra-partner egg donation) is a practice that allows both partners in a female same-sex couple to be involved in the conception, pregnancy, and birth of their child.
One partner (the ‘biological’ mother) will take follicle stimulating medications and undergo the egg collection procedure. The eggs are then fertilised with donor sperm and allowed to develop in the IVF laboratory. When they are ready, the embryo(s) will be placed into the other partner’s uterus (the ‘birth’ mother) during an embryo transfer. This partner will then carry the pregnancy and give birth to the child.
Finding a sperm donor
Finding your sperm donor will be a process that’s individual to you. Some people have a unique set of criteria they want their donor to fulfil, whilst others are content with the knowledge that their donor is fit and healthy. Whatever your requirements, at abc ivf, we’ll do our very best to help you find a donor that’s right for you. We have our own selection of high-quality donors through with CREATE Fertility, which are available as part of our IVF + Donor Sperm Package. We can also accept donor sperm from other providers if you prefer. Speak with us during your initial consultation and we’ll make a plan that works for you.
One of the most common ways to find a sperm donor is through a sperm bank. These are dedicated centres that recruit and screen sperm donors before processing and storing donated sperm ready for treatment.
If you need donor sperm, our IVF + Donor Sperm Package could be the perfect option for you. We have designed this treatment plan to bring you high quality, successful IVF treatment with transparent pricing. For more information about this treatment plan, please click here.
If you opt for our IVF + Donor Sperm Package, you will have access to a wide selection of exceptional sperm donors through the HFEA licensed sperm bank at our partner clinic, CREATE Fertility. When selecting your donor, you’ll be able to see non-identifying information about them including their eye colour, ethnicity, and height. In many cases, donors have also provided information about their hobbies and interests. A full list of our sperm donors can be found here.
Although we have an excellent selection of sperm donors available, we understand that some patients have specialist needs we may not be able to fulfil. If we’re not able to find you a match, we’re happy to accept donor sperm from registered external sperm banks (please note this option will incur an additional charge).
Known sperm donor
In some cases, our patients have a family member or friend who would like to donate sperm to them. Though we’re happy to accept known donations, it’s important to note that this route can take much longer than selecting a pre-approved donor through a sperm bank. This is because known donors are subject to the same strict screening and acceptance procedures as any other sperm donor. When you choose a donor from a sperm bank, they have already been through the donation process and are ready to be used in treatment.
If you choose to use a known sperm donor, you will be liable for paying for any tests, counselling and appointments your donor needs during the donation process.
Donor sperm screening - what do we screen the donors for?
At abc ivf we take the health of our patients seriously. Because of this, we have adopted a rigorous, HFEA-approved screening process to ensure all our donors are fit to donate. To be accepted, the donor must be:
- Between 18 and 45 years old
- Generally fit and healthy
- Negative for certain genetic conditions (e.g., cystic fibrosis)
- Negative for infections like HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea
If someone doesn’t pass our robust screening process, they won’t be accepted as a donor and will not be used for treatment. Because we only accept the very best donors, you can be certain that the highest quality sperm will be used for your fertility treatment. By following strict HFEA guidelines about who can donate, we give you the greatest chance of success.
Legal rights using donor sperm
Legal parenthood can be a difficult topic to get your head around. We’ve provided a simplified breakdown of this topic below and will be happy to answer any additional questions you have during your initial consultation.
- The person that gives birth to a child will automatically be the child’s mother and legal parent.
- If a couple are married or in a civil partnership before starting fertility treatment with donor sperm, the partner who does not give birth will automatically become the child’s second legal parent.
- If a couple are not married or in a civil partnership, they will need to complete specialist legal parenthood consent forms (called WP and PP forms) before starting treatment with donor sperm. These consent forms allow the partner who does not give birth to become the child’s second legal parent.
- If one partner is married to or in a civil partnership with someone other than the person they are seeking treatment with, it can become a little more complicated. If you’re in this situation, please don’t worry! Simply let us know during your consultation and we will discuss your options with you. .
Donations are not anonymous
Before starting treatment with donor sperm, it’s important to know that donations are not anonymous in the UK. This means that once a donor-conceived child turns 18, they can request information about their sperm donor including their full name and last known address. If they choose to, your child(ren) can attempt to contact their donor.
This rule came into effect in 2005, so 2023 will be the first year that donor-conceived children will have access to this information about their donor. If this is something you are worried about, we recommend discussing this during your elective counselling session prior to treatment.
10 family limit
In the UK, sperm donors are subject to a strict 10 family limit. This means that a maximum of 10 families can be created through their donations. When you have a child with donor sperm, you will be assigned one of these family slots.
Although there is a limit to the number of families that can be created with each donor, there is no legal limit on the number of children each of these families can have. So, using donor sperm won’t stop you having a large family if that’s what you would like.
If you would like to have several children using the same donor, it may be useful to check the number of straws of sperm available for your selected donor.
Your sperm donor journey with abc ivf
At abc ivf, we want to make your path to parenthood as easy as possible. You can read a comprehensive guide about our patient journey here, but in summary you can expect the following to happen:
- Ultrasound Scan to assess your fertility
- Initial Consultation to discuss your treatment options
- Select your sperm donor through abc or externally
- Beginning treatment – start taking medication
- Come into our clinic for monitoring scans and blood tests
- Egg collection
- Embryology – your collected eggs will be combined with the donor sperm
- The created embryos will be carefully monitored in the laboratory
- Embryo transfer – One day 3 or day 5, the best embryo will be transferred into your uterus
- Pregnancy test
- Early pregnancy scan/ follow up consultation
If you decide to go with our IVF + Donor Sperm Package, we’ll provide you with a list of sperm donors to choose from. We’ll organise your appointments, medications, and procedures, so your feel supported at every stage of your treatment process.
If you choose to source your donor sperm elsewhere, you’ll still receive outstanding guidance and care from our team of dedicated professionals throughout your treatment cycle. Please note, we won’t be able to start your cycle until we have your donor sperm on site as this ensures it will be available when we need it on the day of your treatment.
If you’re looking to find out more about the treatment we do, get in touch with our team today.