How is it organised?
The donor and his partner (if he has one) are required to attend a counselling session to ensure complete understanding about what is involved, and the legal issues associated with becoming a donor. All potential donors are examined by the clinic's doctor. This examination involves blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and some other sexually transmitted diseases, and for Cystic Fibrosis and any other genetically transmitted disorders, that may be indicated. The donor is also required to provide a full personal and family medical history, and to sign a declaration that asks questions specifically about activities associated with an increased risk of HIV or Hepatitis infection.
If the donor meets the clinic, and the blood screens are negative he is invited to make an appointment to produce a semen sample. These are produced by masturbation, frozen and kept for six months until the donor has another blood test for HIV and Hepatitis B and C. If this second test is clear, the sperm is released for use in the program.
Recipients are given non-identifying information about donors in our sperm bank. This information includes race, ethnic origin, height, build, hair and eye colour and blood group. Couples usually choose semen from a donor whose physical characteristics most closely resemble those of the partner, although other factors such as ethnic origin and blood group may influence their decision. We try to use the same donor for second and subsequent pregnancies, although this is not always possible.
Some couples decide that the use of a donor known to them is preferable. A known sperm donor and his partner will be required to discuss their plans with the Fertility North counsellor. The semen is then stored for a six-month quarantine period, as for an unknown donor, before treatment can take place.
All couples considering the donor insemination services should discuss their plans with their specialist doctor. There can be social and emotional hurdles to be overcome when receiving donor gametes. Therefore, it is a requirement that you attend a counselling session at the clinic. This provides the opportunity to discuss the issues that might arise if a couple proceeds with donor insemination. The legal aspects and issues such as telling the family, friends and the children about donor insemination will also be discussed.