It’s believed one in seven couples require help at some stage in their lives with their fertility. For some people donor sperm is one of the few option available to them when trying to conceive.
The UK currently has a shortage of both donor sperm and donor eggs. Becoming a sperm donor can change somebody else’s life and it also has an impact on yours of course. Donation can bring a sense of pride to the donor as they’re offering a very generous gift.
The decision to donate can have consequences on you and your family which is why it’s recommended you talk to other donors and professionals before making the decision. You should ensure every one of your questions is answered before you decide. Even a single shred of doubt should be enough for you not to do it.
Who can donate sperm?
To donate sperm you should be aged between 18 and 40 years old, medically fit and healthy and have a clear family history with no evidence of inherited disorders. You should be able to commit a period of time to the process and the majority of clinics ask that you keep in contact for at least a year if you are accepted as a donor.
Who cannot donate?
There are a range of reasons you may not be able to donate as shown below:
The majority of clinics ask that you are under 40 to avoid the higher risk of genetic abnormalities which are possible at an older age.
If you were adopted and therefore don’t have access to your detailed family medical history then you are likely to be considered too high risk for donation.
Being sexually promiscuous puts you at higher risk of STIs and therefore less likely to have ‘clean’ sperm. Accepted donors are screened at the beginning and end of the donation process but you’re putting your chances at risk through increased sexual activity.
Both prescription and recreational drugs can have an impact on the sperm quality. Sperm can be permanently damaged and this is something you’ll find out once you’re screened. If you tell a clinic you use recreational drugs it’s unlikely you’ll be accepted in the first place but damage from prescription drugs may be found at a later date.
Previous Sperm Donations
There is a legal limit to the number of children that can be born following the use of donor sperm. By law a centre cannot accept sperm from a donor who has donated elsewhere.
Becoming a sperm donor is a selfless, valuable act which can really make a difference to other families. Think about it carefully before you make your choice.