Semen donation

Cambridge IVF is establishing a regional sperm bank storing sperm which has been donated by screened, healthy and fertile men for use in assisted conception procedures such as intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

The demand for donor sperm is more often than not greater than the availability; therefore Cambridge IVF is very grateful for offers from men who are willing to be considered as sperm donors.

1. Who is suitable to become a semen donor?
2. What tests are required prior to becoming a semen donor?
3. Who should not become a semen donor?
4. Is the donor’s identity protected?
5. What should I do if someone expresses an interest in semen donation?
6. Queries or Complaints

Who is suitable to become a semen donor?

Donors should be between the ages of 18 and 40 years of age with no serious medical disorder and a family background which is free from inherited illness and genetic disease. Donors are pre-screened during an initial telephone interview by an experienced member of our andrology team. As well as their medical and social history, their views on the implications of treatment and the use of donor gametes will be discussed. We also ask potential donors for permission to approach their general practitioner to ascertain whether they know of any reason why the potential donor should not be suitable to donate.

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What tests are required prior to becoming a semen donor?

Prospective donors are asked to provide a semen sample for testing. Samples must be produced on site in a discrete and comfortable room specially allocated for the production of semen samples. Suitability will be determined based on the results of the sperm count, the motility and the morphology of the sample and its ability to survive the freezing and thawing (cryopreservation) process. Many sperm will not survive this process, this is completely normal and expected so the proportion of sperm surviving is another critical factor in determining potential donor suitability. Unfortunately, the majority of the samples we examine will not be suitable for acceptance but this does not indicate that a man is sub-fertile.

Blood samples will be taken for a karyotype to confirm a normal chromosome complement and a screen will be performed for cystic fibrosis. In addition, screening for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV 1 & 2 and Hepatitis B & C will be performed.

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Who should not become a semen donor?

Any man who has a known family history of for example heart disease and mental illness or a genetic disorder such as cystic fibrosis cannot donate sperm. Equally, men who were adopted and are unable to provide details of their genetic family history are unable to become semen donors.

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Is the donor’s identity protected?

A change in the law in 2005 saw the removal of anonymity from sperm donation. Donors must now consent to identifying information being made available to any offspring resulting from treatment using their samples once they reach the age of 18 years. It should be stressed that the donor has no legal, financial or emotional liability to that person.

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What should I do if someone expresses an interest in semen donation?

Prospective donors should be invited to telephone Cambridge IVF on 01223 349010 and ask to speak to a member of the laboratory team in the first instance. Alternatively they can contact us on e-mail at and we will happily arrange an initial screening appointment and information session with them.

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Queries or Complaints

If you have any questions regarding any part of the Andrology Service provided by Cambridge IVF please do not hesitate to contact us using the contact details on the back of this information at any time between the hours of 8:00 and 17:00. If you are unhappy with any part of the service or wish to speak to someone about an issue relating to your care please contact or lead clinical scientist or if you prefer the Patient Liaison Service (PALS) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital who you can reach by e-mailing or telephoning extension 2756 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

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