Donation of sperm, eggs (gametes), and embryos is a key part of fertility treatment. Many couples and individuals are desperate to have a baby, but need donations start a family.
Donating can be an emotional process, and becoming a donor has serious long-term implications for the donor and his/her own families. For this reason, Fertility Solutions Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg carries out a thorough process of preparation for the donor, his or her partner, and recipient(s).
This preparation includes medical assessments, detailed testing, and extended counseling of all parties involved in the donation process, including the recipient(s), the donor, and the donor’s family. We’re committed to ensuring that everyone involved makes the right decisions for themselves and their family: each person should be comfortable with those decisions in 5, 10, or 20 years.
To begin the process, we’ll go through the social, emotional and legal issues with you as a potential donor. We will also help you consider potential implications for you, your family, and any children.
General Flow Chart – Donors
General Donor Qualifications
Regardless of the type of donation you’d like to make, you’ll need to meet certain criteria. Those include:
- Not currently undergoing fertility treatment
- No evidence of coercion (for instance, from recipient to donor)
- In Australia, it’s illegal to buy and sell human tissue. Therefore no payments can pass between the donor and the recipient. We ensure that donors are choosing to donate for the right reasons.
- Willingness to be known to any offspring once that child reaches age 18
- Agreement with your current partner
- Completing and signing a lifestyle declaration. This states that you and your partner lead a lifestyle that reduces the chance of transmitting infectious diseases
- Full medical examination and family history evaluation
- Consultation with a clinical geneticist, either over the phone or in person
Fertility Solutions would also prefer that the donor has completed his or her own family, though this is not required for consideration.
Additionally, we have a limit of 10 families per donor (currently under review). If you already have children in a relationship, that counts as one family.
You will be screened for the following infectious diseases, at a minimum:
- Blood Group (blood test)
- HIV 1&2 – AIDS (blood test)
- Hepatitis B & C (blood test)
- Syphilis (blood test)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) (blood test)
- Chlamydia (Urine Sample)
- Gonorrhoea (Urine Sample)
You’ll also undergo the following genetic screening blood tests:
- Cystic Fibrosis: 1 in 25 Australians are carriers for this gene.
- Karyotype/Chromosome Analysis: This ensures that you have the correct number of chromosomes.
If you have a partner, he or she will be screened for the following, at a minimum:
- HIV 1&2 – AIDS
- Hepatitis B & C
- Chlamydia (Urine Sample)
- Gonorrhoea (Urine Sample)
In addition to the qualifications above, there are several important things to know about sperm donation.
First of all, donors must be males between 21 and 45 (upper age limit currently under review) at the time of donation. You must also be prepared to undergo a nationwide police check to confirm that you have no ‘disclosable’ convictions. If you do have a ‘disclosable’ conviction, it will be detailed in the Certificate.
We also need to look at your sperm. You can produce a semen sample via masturbation, either at home or at Fertility Solutions in our dedicated, private room.
It is preferable that you have a normal semen analysis, though if your semen analysis is not normal you may still be considered as a donor for couples needing IVF. For information on semen analysis, please see one of our brochures.
Lastly, we will do a trial freeze of your semen, lowering the sample’s temperature to -196°C. After a day, we will thaw the semen and perform another assessment. The thaw results must be within normal limits, with sufficient sperm surviving when the sample is brought back to room temperature.
A message from one of our recruited sperm donors:
“Having children and witnessing their development into amazing and unique individuals has been, for us, the most fulfilling and exciting experience possible. In our case it was easy, but we can empathise with those who, for whatever reasons, do not have such a smooth path. The opportunity then to provide assistance through sperm donation presented us a very natural and worthwhile option. We are tremendously happy to be part of their efforts to bring the joy of parenthood to others, and urge others also to become part of the giving.”
Donating an egg can be life changing, both for the donor and recipient. If you’re considering becoming a donor, you’ll need to undergo all of the tests listed in the general qualifications, as well as meeting certain age requirements:
- You must be aged 21 or under 35 (individual circumstances may be considered outside of this age range)
Donating an embryo is difficult decision. It is Fertility Solutions’ policy that a decision about surplus embryo/gamete storage should not be made until the youngest offspring is 12 months old. Alternatively, where treatment has been unsuccessful, a decision shouldn’t be made until 12 months after the date of the last fertility treatment.
When a patient or couple insists on the disposal of the stored gametes or embryos prior to this time passing, Fertility Solutions requires that the individual/couple speak to one of our approved counsellors before confirming that decision.
You are, of course, invited to access a psychologist to assist you in the decision making process at any time.
If you do decide to donate an embryo, both you and your partner will need to undergo the genetic screenings listed earlier. Counseling is also mandatory for couples considering unused gamete or embryo donation.
Once you’ve met the qualifications, and your screening results have been assessed to be within normal limits, we have a cooling off period of three months. Becoming a donor is a huge decision, and we have to give you, your partner, and the clinic time to make sure that this is the right path.
If you still want to donate after the three month cooling off period, we’ll give you a reaffirmation declaration and consent forms to read and sign, if you agree. We strongly encourage donors, partners, and recipients to meet, though this is not mandatory. A Fertility Solutions counsellor can facilitate this meeting.
In addition, before you donate sperm, eggs, or embryos, you and your partner must meet with a Fertility Solutions counsellor at least once. Sometimes more than one session is needed to assist you in your decision. Most people find donor counseling very informative and not the daunting process they initially thought.
Fertility Solutions will pay for the initial counseling consultation. Should you decide to donate sperm, eggs, or embryos, Fertility Solutions will also pay for any further counseling necessary to your donation process.