Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Why not become a sperm donor?

The press have been talking about the UK sperm donor shortage for a few years now but are we any closer to meeting this demand?  Why are there so few men willing to come forward and donate their sperm?
Perhaps because of the many misconceptions surrounding sperm donation men are put off by myths that are not true.  We find during the recruitment process that once men are provided with accurate information and facts they go on to complete a course of donation and stay committed to the bank.  We believe that many more men could be recruited armed with the relevant information.
Helping someone to have a child is one of the most special and generous gifts to give and after reading this article we hope that many more of you decide to do this.
If you are aged 18-45 fit and healthy with heaps of enthusiasm and altruism, here are the answers to some of the niggling questions that you might have regarding donating your sperm
 “If I donate my sperm then I will have to pay child support to resulting children”
The changes to the law made in 2005 only relate to the anonymity of your donations.  Yes, children born as a result of your donations can have access to identifying information about you as a donor.  However if you donate to a HFEA registered clinic, such as The London Sperm Bank, you are not financially responsible, or legally responsible, for any future children born through your donated sperm. The recipients of your sperm are the child’s legal parents, not you.
“A child could come knocking on my door in the future and tell me that I’m their dad.”
The law changes made in 2005 by the HFEA does mean that children born as a result of your donations can apply to receive indentifying information about you once they reach 18.  Prior to this age, the only information available to them are non- indentifying such as your eye colour, hair colour and height.   You can find out the number of children born as a result of your donations at any stage even long before they reach 18.  By doing this you will know the exact number of potential children that might want to find out information about you.  You can also find out their year of birth and sex.  Studies have indicated that children seeking information about their donor are more likely to want to find out specific information about the genetic back ground and any siblings they might have.  Donor conceived children recognize the recipients as their parents and are also offered counseling prior to receiving indentifying information.
 “There could be thousands of children running around as a result of my donations.”
Not so.  In the UK there is a maximum limit of 10 families who can use your sperm. Once this limit is reached, your sperm can no longer be used by another family.  You are also able to reduce the number of families you wish to help when you come in to fill out your consent forms.  You can also withdraw consent to use your sperm at any time, putting you in full control of your donations.
 “If I don’t get accepted as a donor, then I am infertile.”
Again not true. The recruitment processes in sperm banks are very meticulous and thus men are rejected on parameters that are not examined during a “normal” semen analysis.  The majority of men who are rejected based on sperm quality are rejected on the basis of a poor resistance to the freeze conditions.
“I’m gay so I can’t be a donor.”
The misconception is that sperm banks turn away gay men because they are seen as a high risk group.  An online co-parenting website recently indicated that the demand for gay sperm donors from lesbians and single women on their website has significantly increased.  They stated that 51% of their registered members were looking for gay single men and 31% were looking for gay donors in a relationship.  At the London Sperm Bank we welcome men from all different backgrounds, so long as you are free from sexually transmitted infections (and practise safe sex) and have a good sperm quality.
We hope that you are now fully armed with enough information to at least make an enquiry and come and meet us at the bank.  We are a friendly bunch and are happy to answer any more questions that you might have.  The more questions you have, the more serious we know you are about actually donating. 
To contact us send us and email or call us on 020 7935 9004.  You can also visit our website on