If you are thinking about becoming a sperm donor, it is important to have various screening tests to ensure that your sperm is healthy and you are not the carrier of any genetic diseases.
If you decide to donate to a clinic there is usually an age limited and donors must be between the ages of 18 and 41. Some clinics accept donors who are older if their sperm health proves to be acceptable, but it depends on the clinic.
A donor should have good general health and have been a resident in the UK for at least 12 months. (You will be asked to produce your passport). You should also know about your medical family history of close family members; that is your sisters or brothers, your parents and your grandparents.
You must give permission for your doctor to be contacted in order to obtain your own medical history and be free from any sexually transmitted diseases.
The clinic will also record the details of your weight, height and hair colour and any other physical characteristics, along with some medical details. This information is known as non-identifying information. A second record is also kept which records such things as your name and date of birth and is called Identifying Information.
Sperm donors who donate to clinics in the UK waive their right to anonymity. When a child who has been born using your sperm, reaches the age of 16, they will have the right to request the non-identifying information. Once they reach the age of 18 they can ask for the identifying information and use this to track you down, if they so wish.
However, whilst they have the right to know who you are, donor children cannot claim legal or financial responsibility if you donated your sperm to a HFEA (Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority) licensed clinic. However, if you donate sperm outside a HFEA clinic, the law says that you are the legal father of any child created from your sperm and you could face claims for legal and financial responsibility in the future.
The screening tests that will be carried out at an approved HFEA clinic are as follows:
- Sperm count and quality
- Semen and Bacterial Culture
- HIV I and II
- Hepatitis B, Hep B Core and Hep C
- CMV IgG and lgM
- HTLV 1 and 2
Sperm Count and Quality
This is the first test that the clinic will carry out to make sure your sperm count is good and that you don’t have any sperm defects or slow moving sperm.
Sexual Transmitted Diseases
The clinic will not take sperm from a donor who is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis
If you are found to have an infectious disease such as Hepatitis or HIV you will not be able to donate your sperm. Nor will you if you are a carrier for HTLV (Human T- Lymphotropic Virus) or CMV infection (Cytomegalovirus).
If you get the all clear for the above screenings then you will also be tested for Cystic Fibrosis, given a chromosome test and a check on your blood group type. Depending upon your racial group you may also be tested for Sickle Cell Anaemia, Tay Sachs disease and Thalassemia.
As you can see the tests make sure that you are fit and healthy inside and out. Even if you are not donating your sperm through a clinic, you can arrange to have some or all of the above tests privately which will confirm that you are a suitable sperm donor.