What Is A Sperm Bank?
A sperm bank is a medical facility that specialises in reproductive research and testing. A sperm bank is used to collate and screen multiple sperm samples that are tested extensively before they are supplied to an agreed recipient for the purposes of pregnancy.
For quite some time, they have been used to provide medical solutions to couples and individuals with complex fertility issues. In certain countries, where permitted, sperm banks also serve homosexual couples and single women who wish to raise a child of their own.
Why Use A Sperm Bank?
Couples with fertility issues, same-sex couples and single women who want to have a child might consider using a sperm donor. Sperm banks provide the safest approach to sperm donation, for both parties involved.
From the donor’s perspective, utilising an established facility will help to protect against paternity reclamation and ensure that the process is handled legally, every step of the way.
For beneficiaries, the use of a medical institute will ensure that the sample received has been tested to the highest standards and is completely safe and disease free. Sperm banks may also help to improve the chances of conception significantly.
Alternatively, although they often have their own stock of donated semen, licensed fertility clinics might also purchase samples from a sperm bank.
What are the Steps to Follow to Become a Sperm Donor?
Some sperm banks allow prospective donors to apply online. If they fit the basic requirements, they will then be asked to attend a preliminary appointment where they will complete a questionnaire about their personal and family medical history.
Prospective sperm donors are then invited to provide a sample at a local recognised institute where their semen will be screened for sperm count, sperm motility and morphology. A test freeze is also performed in order to ascertain whether the semen is suitable for freezing.
The sperm bank analyses the semen immediately. Donors can expect to receive a response within 48 hours indicating whether or not their semen can be used for donation.
The next step is to undergo a second screening test. Prospective donors are asked to provide a blood and urine sample to ensure that they are clear of any infectious or genetic diseases. They usually can expect to receive the results within a week.
Once the samples are approved, donors are required to attend a third appointment where they will meet with a doctor and a counsellor.
If they are finally accepted they can start making donations. Sperm banks often prefer their donors to commit to a regular donation schedule, typically once or twice a week during a three to six month period. Donors can expect to receive £35 to cover any expenses they may incur as a result of the donation process.
Six months after their last donation, donors are invited to attend a final meeting in order to perform a blood and urine test. This long period of time, called the quarantine period, is necessary to ensure that the samples are free of any infectious diseases. It is only then, after the samples have been thoroughly checked and verified, that they can finally be presented to and used by recipients.
To freeze the sperm, the facility will employ cryogenic conservation, using liquid nitrogen. The sperm will then enter a state of stasis that can last for years. This is then delivered, with care, to the intended recipients. The semen will have to be thawed out and washed before being used for the insemination.
What are the Criteria for Becoming a Donor in a Sperm Bank?
Sperm banks in the UK have very strict rules when it comes to sperm donors. The criteria to become a sperm donor are numerous. This way, recipients can be sure that the donor they select is healthy and that his sperm is of good quality.
To become a donor in a sperm bank, 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, grand-parents, 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 (motility, count, and shape).
How Do I Select a Donor?
Most sperm banks across the world have a very strict selection procedure in place, usually based around criteria like: age, medical history, fertility and lifestyle.
However, if you would like to select a donor personally this may be possible, depending on the legislation surrounding sperm donation in your country. The UK is renowned for being a little more liberal with regards to sperm donor selection, often showing photographs to beneficiaries before they commit to an agreement, although many strict processes still apply.Recipients can generally expect to be provided with information such as the physical appearance of their donor (height, weight, skin tone, hair and eye colour), race and ethnicity.
Some sperm banks employ new technologies to facilitate the process. Recipients can use a downloadable app to read through profiles as well as receiving alerts when new donors are available.
In the UK, recipients who are looking for a sperm donor are only allowed to order and use one donor at a time for one treatment cycle. Moreover, according to the law in the UK, the semen of one donor can only be used to create a maximum of 10 families in the country.
As an alternative to relying on the inventory of your designated sperm bank, here at CoParents we’ll connect you with a number of candidates from around the world over for a more personal approach. This option will enable you to get to know your donor and select the one that will match your own criteria the most.