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The UK imports around a third of its sperm from overseas from countries such as Denmark and the USA. But why go overseas when you can buy British sperm? We ask our partner clinic the London Sperm Bank.
The London Sperm Bank was launched in 2010 by the team behind the London Women's Clinic to combat the shortage of donors in the UK. Since its conception, over 25,000 men have been seen with nearly 5,000 attending for screening. Of these men, over 500 donors have been selected creating a bank with over 20,000 vials of sperm.
“This includes comprehensive testing for infectious and genetic diseases as well as a review of the donor's medical and family history.” Donors must agree to identifying information being passed on to any donor-conceived children born via their donations. In the UK, any donor-conceived child (once they reach 18) can approach the HFEA to find out indentifying information about the donor, including their name, date of birth and last known address.
Unlike overseas banks, the UK also has a ten family limit which means that any UK sperm donor can only donate to a maximum of ten families including any siblings. The regulatory framework in the UK is focused on promoting a well rounded individual born through donor conception and research has shown how important the ten family limit is to offspring enabling them to decide if and when to access information as adults.
If a donor is accepted on to the programme he must then commit to a 12 month programme with the London Sperm Bank. “We ask our donors to come in a couple of times a week for up to six months to produce enough samples for us to freeze,” continues Toyin, “the sperm is then frozen and quarantined for a six month period.” Following the quarantine period, the donor must then return and repeat his screening tests before the sperm is released on to the online catalogue.
Seeing the donors this often enables the sperm bank team to build a relationship with the donor and get to know their individual character and interests. With this information, a "staff impression" is made available on the catalogue so recipients can have an idea of the donor's personality.
Earlier this year, with the help of a film crew, the London Sperm Bank interviewed selected sperm donors to feature in a unique film about sperm donation in the UK. They were asked questions about themselves as well as why they chose to donate. To view the films, click on this link: www.londonspermbankdonors.com/videos
For more information about the London Sperm Bank or to have treatment with a UK sperm donor, please call on 020 7563 4309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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