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Donor Sperm Banking

Why are sperm donors needed? 

Forty per cent of women of infertile couples are unable to conceive because of abnormality or absence of sperm in their partner's ejaculate.  Artificial insemination using donor semen is the only method of treatment available to these couples who wish to have a family.  In many centres, the limiting factor is the availability of suitable donors and therefore most clinics are grateful for offers from men wishing to be semen donors.

What are the donor's requirements?

Donors should be between 18 and 41 years of age. Donors are required to be fit and healthy.  They should have no serious medical disability and their families should be free from any known inherited disorder. It is preferable that they are of proven fertility, but this is not essential.

What happens at the first appointment after you have been initially accepted?

Your first appointment at the Department of Reproductive Medicine will take up most of the morning. You will need to bring with you photographic identification such as a passport or driving licence, and proof of address such as a utility bill. You will also need to bring your NHS number. You will be required to produce a semen specimen for analysis and test freeze/thaw.  The doctor will take a full medical history and arrange screening tests. You will also be seen by a counsellor to discuss sperm donation. Your partner may attend the consultation.

Donor Semen Analysis

Please abstain from sexual intercourse or masturbation for between 2 and 7 days (3-4 days is best), prior to your appointment. You will produce your semen sample by masturbation in a private room in the Andrology laboratories.  Potential donors must be aware that after examination a proportion of semen specimens will fail to fulfil all the required criteria but in the majority of cases this has no bearing on your potential fertility.

Which tests will a donor have before he is accepted?

By law, all donors must have blood screening tests for HIV antibodies (AIDS) and Hepatitis B & C. Other blood screening tests include Syphilis, Cytomegalovirus and Cystic fibrosis. The donor's blood group will be determined and there will be a chromosomal analysis. Donors are also screened for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. 

Contacting your GP regarding sperm donation

Your agreement to contacting your GP for clarification of any specific details in your medical history may be sought.

How many visits will I have to make to the Hospital?

If you were accepted as a donor you would be required to attend the Andrology laboratory for about ten/fifteen appointments, usually at weekly intervals. Please be aware that these appointments are Monday to Friday.

You may wish to attend one of our spoke hospitals to donate or you may be eligible to donate from home. This can be discussed at your first appointment which must take place at the Department of Reproductive Medicine, Old Saint Marys Hospital.

You will need to return to the Department of Reproductive Medicine for blood tests six months after you have completed the course of donation.

DNA profiling

For donors that produce their samples offsite DNA profiling will be used to ensure that each sample received is from the intended donor and has not been contaminated or tampered with en-route to the laboratory at St Mary's.

A blood sample for this test will be taken during the donor's first appointment and a small amount of semen from the sample produced onsite for the test freeze/thaw will also be retained for this purpose.

Information you must disclose

You must inform the laboratory if you are taking any medicines or tablets, or have had any injections whilst you are attending the Sperm Bank, or within the previous 6 weeks leading up to your first appointment. You must inform us of any illnesses or any lifestyle changes whilst you are attending the Sperm Bank.

Future commitments

In accordance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Guidelines, all semen samples must be cryopreserved for at least 180 days to enable a follow up blood screening tests to be performed on the donor's behalf and for the donor to be re-examined to exclude the development of any possible sexually transmitted disease, at the completion of banking.


The new HFEA policies allow centres, from 1 April 2012, to compensate sperm donors £35 per clinic visit. 

How is the semen stored?

Semen samples are stored in small, sealed bottles (ampoules) in liquid Nitrogen vapour. These ampoules are carefully labelled with your donor code, date of birth and date of freezing. A second member of staff verifies the details. Freezing needs to take place as soon as possible after the sample is produced. By law the samples can be kept up to 10 years from the date they were frozen.


The HFEA - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority - is the body that regulates fertility treatment in the UK. All semen donors have to be registered with the HFEA. Donors can stipulate how many families they are willing to create, up to a maximum of 10 families. For more information regarding the HFEA please see their website.


Legal and Financial Situation Re Guardianship

You have no legal or financial obligations to any child created from your donation. The people who receive the donation will be the legal guardians of any child that is born.

When can any offspring contact the HFEA?

When the child reaches 18 they can contact the HFEA for:

  • The donor's full names (and any former names)
  • The donor's date of birth and the town or district where born
  • The donor's last known postal address (or their address recorded at the time of registration)
  • The donor's NHS number

The donor will be informed by the HFEA that enquiries have been made about them.

Will the Donor be held responsible if a child born from donation is disabled in any way?

No. However, it is your responsibility to inform us of any genetic or inheritable diseases which present themselves in your immediate family. Failure to do so is an offence and it is the right of any child resulting from this to sue the clinic for damages. The court might require the HFEA to disclose the donor's identity under the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liabilities) Act of 1976.

What information will the recipient be given about the donor?

All information will be non-identifying.  An attempt will be made to match donor and recipient physical characteristics.

What information will the donor be given about the recipient?

No information is given about the recipient. You may however ask whether your sperm has produced pregnancies and how many pregnancies.


If you have any questions before, during or after your donation you can contact our staff who will be happy to discuss them with you.



Sperm donation email address                      donations.ivf@cmft.nhs.uk

Counsellors:  Anne Curley or Bev Loftus        0161 276 6800

Andrology laboratory                                     0161 276 6473