How does sperm donation work in the UK and do you get paid?
FOR couples or women struggling to conceive, sperm donation can be a lifeline to starting a family.
The demand for donor insemination often outweighs the number of donors. But how do you become a sperm donor and how much do you get paid? Here's everything you need to know…
How does sperm donation work in the UK?
Sperm donation is essential for fertility treatment such as intrauterine insemination or IVF.
It can help couples struggling to have kids of their own or single women who want to start a family.
If you donate your sperm through a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, you won’t have any responsibilities or rights towards a child conceived using your semen.
However, as of April 2005, children conceived through sperm donation do have the right to ask for certain information about their donor once they reach the age of 16.
When they turn 18 they can also request to know the name and last known address of their donor.
The main reason men choose to donate their sperm is to help couples who can’t conceive naturally, or if they have a strong desire to pass on their genes to another generation.
Do you get paid to be a sperm donor in the UK?
In the UK, donation in exchange for payment is prohibited by law.
To cover any expenses incurred during the process, sperm donors are given £35 per clinic visit.
They may also have the right to claim higher expenses including accommodation, travel or childcare.
Can anyone be a sperm donor in the UK?
According to CoParent.co.uk, donors must:
- Be aged between 18 and 41
- Agree to be screened for medical conditions
- Be free from any serious medical disability or any sexually transmitted diseases
- Be healthy and fit
- Know and provide information about the medical history of their family (parents, grandparents, siblings and children)
- Have no inherited disorders within their family
- Not use any drugs
- Agree that their ID can be released if requested by any person conceived as a result of their donations once said person reaches the age of 18
- Provide a proof of ID (copy of their passport or driving licence)
- Be willing to commit their time to the sperm donation process
- Have high sperm quality (mobility, count and shape).
How can you find your nearest sperm bank in the UK?
You can find the clinic that is best for you through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licensed clinic.
Every year, around 2,000 children are conceived with the help of a donor.
If you donate sperm you have no say over their upbringing and won’t be required to pay anything towards their care.
Donated sperm cannot be used to create more than 10 families, with no limits on the number of children born within each family.
How much does it cost to get pregnant by a sperm donor?
The cost of sperm donor can vary depending on a variety of factors.
This includes whether you select an anonymous or known donor, as well as whether you purchase sperm from a sperm bank, a fertility clinic or online from a website dedicated to sperm donation.
Sperm bought from a bank or fertility clinic tends to be more expensive than from a known donor.
As an example, prices at The London Sperm Bank – the largest of its kind in the UK – start from £850, reaching up to £1,150 based on the motility of the sperm – meaning its ability to swim along the reproductive tract.
Others will turn to social media or designated websites to search for free sperm donors online.
It's worth noting that taking this route means the donor is less likely to be screened for inherited diseases or infections.
Can you choose your sperm donor?
While it's generally not possible to flick through a catalogue or look at photographs of potential donor, you can choose to a certain extent.
Any reputable sperm bank or clinics will have carefully selected donors and carried out extensive quality screening and personality interviews.
Extended profiles will be provided as part of the search so that particular features or qualities can be chosen.
The London Sperm Bank offers a filtered search where attributes such as eye colour, height, race, hair colour and skin colour can be selected.
It even narrows it down by religion, occupation and their highest achieved grades.
Each profile gives a summary of each donor, for example, one says: "This donor is an introvert, but he always sees the world in an optimistic way. He is calm in most situations and prefers to remain low-keyed. He is a happy-go-lucky type and admits taking a slower pace than others in life."
Their interests are listed as "Classical Music, Reading, Cooking, Meditating and Psychology."
The profile also lists whether the donor has allergies and their blood type as well as the results of genetic and infectious screening tests.
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