The sperm donation process
Sometimes, using donated sperm is a couple’s only chance of becoming pregnant and having a baby. If the male partner has no sperm of his own or carries a serious genetic or infectious disease, or if you are in a female same-sex relationship, using donor sperm could be your path to parenthood. Sperm donation for single women who want to have a child on their own is also becoming increasingly popular.
IVFAustralia offers a specialist sperm donation service. If you are thinking of using donor sperm, Dr Iris Wang will discuss the process with you, and you will meet with a counsellor to discuss the long-term implications of using a donor.
Then, you will be given access to IVFAustralia’s sperm donor database, where you’ll be able to view questionnaires filled out by each donor about themselves and their families, to help you make your choice. You can also use donated sperm from someone you know.
Once the donor’s sperm passes testing, screening and quarantine, your eggs can be fertilised either through artificial insemination (IUI) or IVF with ICSI. Iris and the IVFAustralia team of sperm donation specialists, counsellors and nurses will support and care for you throughout the process.
How are sperm donors screened and selected?
You can use sperm donated from someone you know, or select an anonymous donor from IVFAustralia’s database.
All sperm donors go through counselling, screening and testing before they can donate. IVFAustralia takes a thorough medical history, including their family and genetics. Donors will be screened for conditions like HIV, hepatitis B and C and STIs, and tested for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and other genetic disorders.
Donor sperm is then quarantined, and donors are re-screened three to six months later before their sperm is released for use.
The legal and psychological implications of donating sperm need to be carefully navigated. A single donor’s sperm may only be used to help create four families, other than his own. All donors and their partners have counselling sessions to understand these, and make sure they are comfortable with their decision. They must agree to have their information added to the NSW Health Central Register, so that any children born from donation can contact them if they wish to, once they turn 18.
Common queries about sperm donation
Healthy men between 21 and 45 can be sperm donors, though if you know someone older than 45 who is willing to donate for you, exceptions can be made. The IVFAustralia sperm donor database comprises of donors from the US, as well as Australia, because there is currently a shortage of sperm donors in Australia. US donors go through the same recruitment, counselling, screening and testing process as Australian donors.
The sperm donation laws in NSW deem that a baby born from donated sperm is the child of the birth mother, and the donor has no legal or financial obligation to the child.
For more information about the sperm donation process, see the IVFAustralia website.