The best start for you
A licensed sperm bank ensures that women do not take risks with their own safety, or their unborn childs’ health using unknown sperm samples through internet introductions. The relationship with official donation is also protected by Law and is much more clear than home insemination using a friend’s sperm. Licensed sperm banks must keep very specific records, which is essential for parents to know the full history of their donor. Informative and descriptive background information helps you choose the best donor for your family and also provides information for your child. In some fertility units the choice of donor is not made by the patient. At BFA your donor will be chosen by you. We can also help you by offering photo matching if you send us a photo of yourself or your partner, so we can select the best match.
You can have details about the donor’s employment and educational background, his interests and preferences and staff comments as we get to know them really well. Unlike most other UK donor banks, we encourage our donors to volunteer as much detail as possible. Also your new family will be only 1 of maximum of 10 allowed for our donors, this may be very different with donors purchased from abroad.
If you want to intrauterine insemination ( IUI ) treatment with donor sperm, you will first see a Consultant to discuss all options and to ensure there are no issues which may interfere with the chances of a pregnancy. After this is completed you can choose a suitable donor from our catalogue and we can arrange a treatment cycle for you. The insemination is a simple process in our comfortable treatment room and the sperm is prepared on site which ensures the sperm are at their best. The insemination can occur at appointments to suit you, evenings and weekends are possible. We don’t believe in making a simple process more complicated!
The best start for your child
At BFA , we believe the quality of information we collect about a donor is essential for parents and their children. All children ask questions about where they are from at some stage and these needs vary at different times of their lives. If they do not have access to genetic parents such as in sperm donation or adoption, research shows that, they do wish to know information that can help them make sense of their world. A lack of information leaves a sense of unanswered details and can be unsettling.
Often questions may be limited to basic details such as the reasons why their genetic father wanted to donate. However, most find the personal details useful. These details may include whether their biological fathers are musical, loved football, or are good at mechanics for example. If a child born from donation wishes to ask questions about their biological father, we can help them with some of the answers. An informative donor background may be enough to help complete the genetic heritage picture for a young adult.
Most UK donor banks only give basic physical characteristics and interests. BFA aim to offer a far more comprehensive and useful background profile than has been previously offered in the UK.
Who are our donors?
Our donors are aged between 21 and 41 years and come from all backgrounds.They are all healthy and fully screened for all transmittable diseases and all samples are fully quarantined in line with current regulation before release. Donors receive only limited remuneration for donation (expenses) and so we believe that they are genuine in their wish to help others achieve their dream to have a family. We actively encourage donors from all ethnic groups. All donors starting at end of 2017 onwards are given Fertilix supplements. These supplements are proven to improve semen parameters, therefore although all our donors are already above average we have seen this can improve the samples further.
Donor background information
All donors are asked to provide various evidence so we can verify who they are and what they do.
Here is a list of the information that we can provide to you about our donors:
Physical characteristics: Race, ethnic origin, height, weight, build, hair and eye colour, skin tone (BFA will provide patients with a number chart specific to different skin tones as of 2018).
Social: Education, occupation, hobbies and interests, star sign
Personal: Likes and dislikes, skills and special traits, detailed personality test and interview
Recommendations: Staff description of donor
Celebrity lookalike including a specific photo most like the donor in their extended profile.
WE NOW PERFORM MORE SCREENING THAN ANY OTHER SPERM BANK WITH OUR NEW GENETIC TESTING
The first screening appointment for donors is for the quality of the sperm – we only consider donors with higher than average number of sperm and those with good sperm binding properties. Before being approved, every potential donor is required to complete a comprehensive medical history questionnaire which is also discussed with a BFA Consultant. The questionnaire includes questions regarding the health of the donor and the donor’s blood relatives back to Grandparents. It is important to note that we cannot validate the medical history provided by the donor by reviewing the donor’s own or his family’s private medical records.
If a donor’s medical history is acceptable, the donor is screened for certain diseases.
The following testing is completed on all donors:
1. Comprehensive semen analysis to include sperm binding quality of sperm – which is the first vital step for the fertilisation process
2.Physical examination for evidence of sexually transmitted disease.
3.Blood tests, including:
HIV 1 & 2 antibody
Hepatitis B surface antigen
Hepatitis B core antibody
Hepatitis C antibody
Cytomegalovirus antibody (CMV) – although this is no longer an HFEA requirement for donors
4. Urine testing for 7 STIs
5. Genetic tests for all donors before October 2017:
Chromosome Analysis (karyotype)
Thalassemia (alpha and beta)
6. Genetic tests for all donors after October 2017:
Donors are now tested for over 200 diseases and 2000 mutations by CarrierMap genotyping. For a full list of diseases and genes please ask and we will be happy to provide you with this.
Any further testing for genetic diseases is available upon request.
Known donation options
If you have a known donor who wishes to donate to you specifically, then screening and quarantine rules for samples will still apply. Current standard quarantine recommendations indicate 180 days in storage until they are available for use, unless the samples are cleared using the sensitive HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis early detection – NAAT screening. A registered donor is protected by Law, in that he does not have any legal obligation to the child(ren). For any other arrangements you are advised to seek specific legal advice. We will also discuss the implication issues with you as known donation can bring up complicated relationship issues and it is useful to explore these beforehand. Parenthood and parental responsibility is not the same thing and this needs to be clarified before treatment in case of disagreements later. There are legal forms to sign for the options available to you.
Sperm quality options
BFA have sperm available in 0.5ml straws. All sperm samples contain:
- good numbers of highly motile sperm (pre-freeze) with good binding properties.
- Approximately 8 million per ml of highly motile sperm available post thawing.
The amount of sperm you may need depends on the treatment you are having and what protocols your treatment centre may use – if in doubt please ask and we can advise you. We would always recommend that you have a minimum of two samples to prevent any potential problems on your day of treatment. Sperm is a biological sample and does not always react consistently despite tight quality procedures. Research has shown that a minimum of 2 million motile sperm are needed for IUI success and pregnancy rates do not increase with higher numbers. IVF may require less sperm as the egg and sperm are put physically close together, or for ICSI only one sperm per egg is required. We specify if we have a donor with minimum quantity standards as IVF/ICSI only. Please note that sperm counts decrease during the preparation process, and this will vary according to the laboratory thawing/preparation processes and methods of counting at the treatment centre.