Sperm has been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years. Sperm can be frozen for fertility treatment or donation at a UK licensed fertility clinic.
If sperm is donated at a UK licensed fertility clinic, it is stored for six months before it is used in treatment, in order to screen the donor for infections (including HIV and Hepatitis B and C). Sperm donors need to fulfill certain criteria in order to be eligible to donate (including aged between18 and 45).You will also be asked to provide information about yourself including your ethnicity, marital status, how many children you have and their gender, your physical characteristics, medical history and a goodwill message. Your clinic will then pass on prescribed information to the HFEA to be recorded on the Register of Information.
You may decide to store sperm for various reasons, including if you:
- are about to undergo medical treatment that may affect your fertility (eg chemotherapy)
- are about to have a vasectomy
- have a low sperm count
- are planning to make a donation
When you first freeze your sperm, you will need to complete the relevant consent forms to specify:
- what will happen to your sperm if you become unable to make decisions for yourself or die
- how long you want to store your sperm (the standard storage period is 10 years)
- whether your partner (if you have one) can use your sperm after your death and whether you want to be recorded as the father of any child born as a result of such fertility treatment
- whether your sperm can be used in research or donated for someone else to use
- any other conditions you may have for the use of your sperm
In the UK, a donor can donate sperm to up to ten families (excluding his own family). If you conceive with donated sperm, your child may therefore have multiple half-siblings. Other countries do not restrict the numbers of families which can be created from donor sperm, meaning that your child may have many more half-siblings.
Since April 2005, donors are identifiable and identifying information about them is recorded on the HFEA Register Of Information. This information can be accessed by the donor conceived child at age 18 (although more limited non identifying information can be accessed at age 16).
If you would like to discuss your personal situation in more detail or the law surrounding sperm donation please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44 (0)207 222 1244.