Egg, Sperm and Embryo Donation
Egg Donation Programme
Some women require donated eggs for their fertility treatment
due to early menopause or premature ovarian failure. Unfortunately
there is a general shortage of egg donors in the UK. We usually
advise this group of women to consider using donated eggs from a
close family member or a close friend who is willing to donate
their eggs. Where this is not possible, an altruistic donor
can be sourced by the patient for their own fertility
In 2005 the law preventing identification of egg or sperm donors
was changed by the UK Government, and donor conceived children now
have the legal right to obtain identifying information about the
donor when they are 18 years old. This change in law has
subsequently discouraged some potential egg or sperm donors from
For this reason we strongly recommend that all patients
considering the use of donated embryos, sperm or eggs book an
appointment to see any of our counsellors to discuss the ethical
and social implications of using donated eggs or sperm.
Click here to learn more about out
Sperm Donation Programme
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
All potential semen donors who intend to begin the process of
donation must first meet certain eligibility criteria as described
in the UK guidelines for the medical and laboratory screening of
sperm, egg and embryo donors (2008) and the HFEA 8th code of practice.
Some of the criteria are that the donor must:
- Be aged between 18 and 41.
- Be proven to be negative for infectious diseases including (but
limited to) HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
- Be fit and healthy.
- Have no known inheritable disorder or serious medical
At your first appointment blood samples are taken for
preliminary screening tests and a semen analysis is performed on a
semen sample passed on the premises. A test freeze and thaw of the
semen sample is performed to ensure it would be suitable for use in
Potential donors must be aware that after examination, a
proportion of semen samples will fail to fulfil all the required
criteria, but in the majority of cases this has no bearing on your
Since April 2012 the HFEA have allowed sperm donors to be
compensated by £35 per clinic visit. For more information on sperm
donation click here.
Embryo Donation Programme
The same principles guiding egg and sperm donation also apply to
embryo donation and so the donation of embryos is not
Any couple with embryos in storage can opt to allow the embryos
to be used in a number of ways including:
- Using them for their own treatment (frozen embryo
- Donating them for research.
- Allowing the embryos to perish.
- Donating them them to another infertile couple. There is
a shortage of egg/embryo donors in the UK so we encourage any
couple with embryos frozen who have completed their treatment
and/or do not wish to proceed to the replacement of their frozen
embryos, to consider donating them to another couple.
If you do choose to donate your embryos to another couple, we
will arrange for you to see a counsellor in the first instance in
order to discuss the legal, ethical and moral aspects of embryo
donation. If you still wish to proceed after counselling, we
would need to undertake blood and screening tests on both partners
to ensure there is no risk of transmitting any infection to the
You can find more information about counselling and embryo
donation in the leaflets mentioned at the top of this page.