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Why go overseas when you can buy British sperm?

Dr Meheranghiz Minbattiwalla, Laboratory Manager at the London Sperm Bank
Dr Meheranghiz Minbattiwalla, Laboratory Manager at the London Sperm Bank

The UK imports around a third of its sperm from overseas from countries such as Denmark and the USA. With concerns over a no-Brexit deal affecting the import of sperm from Europe, we ask the question why go overseas when you can buy British sperm? The LWC works with the London Sperm Bank (LSB) to provide donor sperm for our patients without a wait. We talk to the LSB about why buy British:

The London Sperm Bank

The LSB was launched in 2010 by the team behind the LWC to combat the shortage of donors in the UK. Since its conception, over 25,000 men have been seen. Of these men, over 1,000 donors have been selected creating a bank with over 40,000 vials of sperm. 

All sperm donors recruited at the LSB must complete a rigorous screening programme as laid out by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). 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 identifying 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.

Building relationships

If a donor is accepted on to the programme he must then commit to a 12 month programme with the LSB. “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,” says Dr Meheranghiz Minbattiwalla, Laboratory Manager, “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.

For more information about the London Sperm Bank or to have treatment with a UK sperm donor, please call the LWC on 020 7563 4309 or complete our contact form

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