There are a number of reasons why you may need to have donated sperm (ie, sperm that is not from your partner) and it can be used in different types of fertility treatment including IUI, where sperm is used to fertilise a woman’s egg inside her body and IVF, where sperm is used to fertilise a woman’s egg or donor eggs in a laboratory. It may also be used to help with alternative parenting.
You may also need donor sperm because:
- Your partner has a low sperm count, poor quality sperm which has resulted in previous failed IVF treatments, or azoospermia (an absence of sperm)
- There is a risk of passing on an inherited disease
- Your partner has had a vasectomy
- You are a same-sex couple
- You are a single woman
Donor sperm may come from someone you know or from a sperm bank. Our dedicated embryology team are on hand to help with any questions you may have and, if required, can help you select sperm from our donor bank of choice in Denmark in which case we will try, as far as possible, to help you (and your partner) to match the donor’s physical characteristics with your own. You will also be offered counselling throughout the process from specially trained therapists and access to legal advice if required.
Who donates sperm?
Sperm donors are usually aged 18-45 years and with good quality sperm. All sperm donors must be registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and undergo a series of stringent screening tests to check they are not carrying inherited diseases or infections. The number of families that each donor can create is also limited by the HFEA. We use a nucleic acid test, often called a ‘NAT’ test, which is a type of blood screening test that detects viruses earlier. This means that sperm does not need to be quarantined for six months while tests are carried out.
What are the legal aspects of using donated sperm?
If you use donated sperm through the Agora, any child born as a result is legally the child of you and your partner (if you have one). This means that the person who donates the sperm has no legal rights over your child or responsibility for them. However, the HFEA Register does hold identifying information about each donor and the child has a legal right to this when they are 18. Our specialist team will be able to help you access legal advice, and you can also find out more on the HFEA website.
What are the success rates for using donated sperm?
If you are using your own eggs then the younger you are, the more likely you will be able to have a baby using donated sperm. However, HFEA figures suggest that success rates are typically:
- Under 35 – around 14%
- 35-39 – around 11%
- 40-42 – around 4-5%