Everything You Need To Know About Sperm Donors | sheerluxe.com

Everything You Need To Know About Sperm Donors

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With the power to delay motherhood comes a modern conundrum – if you want children, but haven’t met the perfect person yet, do you go it alone? To find out more about sperm donation – including what the process entails and the implications on family relationships – we sat down with Dr Walker, expert at leading fertility clinic Institut Marquès

What’s the process of finding a sperm donor?

There are two main routes to finding a sperm donor – you can use an anonymous donor from a fertility clinic, or use sperm from someone you already know. Sperm donors at fertility clinics are screened in advance to assess their sperm quality and whether they have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as genetic disorders or sexually transmitted diseases. Most clinics tend to have their own stock of donated sperm which has been frozen, but some clinics will also work with external sperm banks.

Do you get much information about the donor?

In the UK, sperm donors are anonymous – the recipients only receive basic information such as height, weight and ethnicity. However, once a child reaches the age of 18, they are legally able to ask for information about their donor – such as their name and date of birth – which would identify their natural father. The donor also has the right to contact their offspring.

Does the donor have any other rights?

In the UK, if sperm donation is made through the network of HFEA licensed fertility clinics, then the donor is protected by the law – even if the donation is made to someone that the recipient knows personally. This means that a donor cannot be considered the legal parent of any children born from their donation; the donor does not have any legal obligation to the child and cannot be asked to provide any financial support for the child.

If you are in a relationship and need sperm donation, can your partner still be the named father?

Yes – providing the correct legal contract is in place, the sperm donor will not be considered the legal parent of the child, meaning it is fine for your partner to be listed on the birth certificate as the child’s legal father.

Anonymous vs known donor – which is better?

Neither is better, per se. Using a known donor means you know their personal, medical, and psychological history, which can be very reassuring. Additionally, using a known donor can also be cheaper as the donor is more likely to donate their sperm for free. However, choosing a known donor can lengthen the donation process as all donors must get officially tested to confirm their medical health, and this takes time and money. The sperm then needs to be frozen and quarantined for six months before final tests are carried out, whereas in a sperm bank this process will have already been completed.

At the same time, using a known donor could have personal implications – known donors aren’t subject to the same anonymity restrains and this could prove tricky for parents who fear their child could develop an emotional attachment to their biological father.

Is it possible to choose a donor?

It depends on the clinic – here at Institut Marques, the doctors are the ones in charge of choosing the most suitable donor for each case, taking into account the physical features of the recipient.  However, at other UK clinics, patients can choose the preferred physical characteristics of the sperm donor such as their height, skin colour, hair colour and eye colour. In some clinics, there’s also the option to know the donor’s occupation and religion. However, names, addresses and photographs of the donor are never given out under any circumstances.

On a Similar Note

Can you choose the same donor for more than one child?

Yes – it is possible for you to reserve the same donor for future siblings, and you can have the same donor for up to 10 children. However, the availability of the sperm cannot be guaranteed, even if requested at the conception of your first child.

How long does the whole process typically take?

It depends on whether you’re using a known or anonymous donor, but the whole process can take up to a year. However, the wait can be longer if a patient chooses to undergo sperm donation via the NHS due to long waiting lists. Regardless, the insemination itself is extremely quick and only takes around 10 minutes. You can have up to six cycles of artificial sperm insemination before your fertility doctor will recommend moving on to other potential treatment options, such as IVF

Okay. So how are donor sperms inserted?

Donor sperm is inserted directly into the patient via intrauterine insemination (IUI) – a fertility treatment which involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus when she is ovulating to facilitate the fertilisation of her egg. The sperm is introduced using a thin flexible tube or syringe which passes into the vagina, through the cervix and then into the uterus.

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of the most common assisted reproduction techniques, where an egg is fertilised by a sperm in-vitro in the laboratory. The resulting embryo or embryos are then transferred into the patient’s uterus.

Is it available on the NHS?

IUI may be offered on the NHS if you have a condition which means you are unable to have vaginal sex, if you are unable to have unprotected sex (for example if you or your partner has a condition such as HIV), or if you are in a same sex relationship and have been unable to conceive. Therefore, it is rare to have IUI on the NHS, and even if you are eligible the waiting list can be extremely long.  Should you not get offered IUI with sperm donation on the NHS, the price to do it in a private clinic can vary significantly.

Can the procedure be done abroad?

Many UK patients choose to travel abroad to countries outside the UK for sperm donor treatment – providing you visit a reputable clinic with all the necessary licences then it is perfectly safe to do this. One key reason why patients would choose to travel abroad is due to the differing laws surrounding donor anonymity. Unlike in the UK, in countries across Europe and the rest of the world – such as Spain – the donor stays anonymous forever, and this is a very attractive proposition for many patients. For this reason, every year many British patients travel to Institut Marquès, both in Spain and in Ireland.

What are the success rates of donor insemination?

Statistics show the success rate ranges from 50 to 86% although this is dependent on the patient’s age, the reason behind the patient’s infertility and whether supplementary fertility drugs have been used. Success is also dependent on how many cycles of insemination the patient is willing to try, as success is far more likely following multiple attempts.

Is the procedure becoming more popular?

Absolutely – the procedure is growing in popularity all the time, particularly amongst single women in their late 30s and early 40s who have decided to take their fertility into their own hands. The term ‘single mother by choice’ has become popular amongst this group, who are proud of their decision to undergo fertility treatment in order to start a family. The procedure is also popular among female same-sex couples, particularly since the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2014.

For more information visit InstitutoMarques.com

Inspiration Credits: SmartMom.co, Babyology.com.au, FedgeFertility.com (no website found)
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