Sussex Sperm Bank (BFA) is one of the UK’s leading fertility centres, offering high quality donors for those looking to grow their family with the help of a sperm donor.
Donors in our program, originate from both the UK and the US. Our domestic laboratory, Sussex Sperm Bank, is located in Hove and processes samples from local donors. This lab is also the hub for all UK shipments going directly to fertility centres for patient treatments. We also partner with Seattle Sperm Bank, an American cryobank with 4 laboratories across the US. BFA and Seattle Sperm Bank strictly adhere to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) guidelines for sperm donations as well as other international health authorities screening guidelines.
How does someone qualify to be a sperm donor?
To start, donors complete an initial application online where we inquire about basic information such as their age, weight, height, hair colour, eye colour, and educational background. This allows us to get an initial but limited impression about the potential donor. Since we are looking for diverse candidates, there is little that would disqualify a donor at this stage, besides their age, as applicants must fall between 18-45 years old.
Next, we schedule an initial appointment with the candidate to look at their semen sample under a microscope. This analysis allows our laboratory staff to evaluate important factors when looking at sperm, specifically concentration and motility, which tells us how many sperm are present in the ejaculate and if they are moving properly. We are looking for an above average sperm count, and only about 10% of all applicants will pass this portion of the application process.
Next, we will review the donor’s 4-generation family health history. This is done in person with our Donor Coordinator and the review includes maternal and paternal parents, grandparents, siblings, and any children the donor may already have. We inquire about things such as history of cancer or heart conditions in the family. This process allows our experts to look for any red flags or clues that could indicate hereditary conditions that may be a disqualifier. Our licensed genetic counselors on staff will then review the information and decide whether the donor is eligible to move forward in the process.
From there, donors will go through a series of medical test screening for infectious diseases, which is a requirement by the HFEA. This STI testing is in place to look for diseases that could potentially be passed on through semen samples such as HIV, hepatitis b/c, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Additional tests include CMV IgG/IgM, urinalysis, ABO-Rh blood typing, a full viral screening, and a Zika risk assessment.
We preform extended genetic screening on our donors, which is done via a blood draw or saliva kit. Carrier screening is important because it provides information about an individual’s reproductive risk and their chances of having a child with a genetic disorder. All new donor applicants are screened for up to 514 genetic conditions, in addition to a karyotype test to confirm they have a normal set of chromosomes. These results are reviewed by our licensed genetic counselors who are experts in the field of carrier screening, and a determination will be made as to progress this candidate or not.
Donors in our program must agree to sharing their identity with any offspring when the child reaches the age of 18. This is described as an Open ID status. All donor applicates undergo a counseling session to understand the full implications of being a donor, including the possibility of future contact from offspring.
Once a donor completes these steps and receives a final clearance by our medical staff, they can begin donating in our program. Donors will continue to undergo routine STI testing as part of the HFEA requirements to ensure the samples provided are medically safe for patient use.
To learn more about our screening process, and to begin your donor search, visit our website at www.sussexspermbank.com.