Arrow In this section

Why are sperm donors needed?

Forty per cent of women of infertile couples are unable to conceive because of abnormality or absence of sperm in their partner’s ejaculate. Artificial insemination using donor semen is the only method of treatment available to these couples who wish to have a family. In many centres, the limiting factor is the availability of suitable donors and therefore most clinics are grateful for offers from men wishing to be semen donors.


What are the donor requirements?

All potential semen donors who intend to begin the process of donation must first meet certain eligibility criteria as described in the UK guidelines for the medical and laboratory screening of sperm, egg and embryo donors (2008) and the HFEA code of practice.

Some of the criteria are that the donor must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 41.
  • Be proven to be negative for infectious diseases including (but not limited to) HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
  • Be fit and healthy.
  • Have no known inheritable disorder or serious medical problems.

How to start the process

If you think that you meet the eligibility criteria to become a sperm donor, you can contact Andrology for further information by telephone (0161 276 6473) or email

Due to previous experience with hoax calls it is important that we avoid giving information over the phone so information about becoming a sperm donor, screening tests and the donor questionnaire is either posted out or emailed to you.

When you have read the information, if you wish to proceed, complete the Sperm Donor Questionnaire and include a passport sized photograph on the form. Then return to Andrology by post at Andrology Laboratories, Department of Reproductive Medicine, Old Saint Mary’s hospital, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL or email it to

When your completed questionnaire has been received by Andrology an appointment letter will be sent out to you.


What happens at the first appointment?

On the day of your appointment, you will be asked to produce a semen specimen by masturbation into a container, which we will provide, using one of our private rooms. There are some pornographic magazines available in the rooms but we do not have any pornographic DVDs or internet access. You may bring your own material with you to the appointment if you wish.

Please abstain from intercourse or masturbation for between 2 and 7 days (3-4 days is best), prior to this appointment. This sample will be frozen and then thawed to see if it would be suitable for use in artificial insemination treatment.

Potential donors must be aware that after examination, a proportion of semen samples will fail to fulfil all the required criteria, but in the majority of cases this has no bearing on your potential fertility.

Blood and urine samples are also taken for preliminary screening tests.

Following these tests (the blood results can take up to 6 weeks) a doctor will look at your results and you will be sent either a counselling or a doctor’s appointment.

These results will determine if you meet our eligibility criteria to donate your sperm.  These results will only be available at your doctor’s clinic appointment.


Which tests will a donor have before he is accepted?

By law, all donors must have blood screening tests for HIV antibodies (AIDS), HTLV and Hepatitis B & C. Other blood screening tests include Syphilis, Cytomegalovirus and Cystic fibrosis. The donor’s blood group will be determined and there will be a chromosomal analysis. Donors are also screened for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.


Contacting your GP regarding sperm donation

Your agreement to contacting your GP for clarification of any specific details in your medical history may be sought.


How many visits will I have to make to the hospital?

If you were accepted as a donor you would be required to attend the Andrology laboratory for about ten/fifteen appointments, usually at weekly intervals. Please be aware that these appointments are morning appointments, Monday to Friday.

You will need to return to the Department of Reproductive Medicine for blood tests six months after you have completed the course of sperm donation.


DNA profiling

For donors that produce their samples offsite DNA profiling will be used to ensure that each sample received is from the intended donor and has not been contaminated or tampered with en-route to the laboratory at Saint Mary’s hospital.

A blood sample for this test will be taken during the donor’s first appointment and a small amount of semen from the sample produced onsite for the test freeze/thaw will also be retained for this purpose.


Information you must disclose

You must inform the laboratory if you are taking any medicines or tablets, or have had any injections whilst you are attending the Sperm Bank, or within the previous 6 weeks leading up to your first appointment. You must inform us of any illnesses or any lifestyle changes whilst you are attending the Sperm Bank.


Future commitments

In accordance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Guidelines, all semen samples must be cryopreserved for at least 180 days to enable a follow up blood screening tests to be performed on the donor’s behalf and for the donor to be re-examined to exclude the development of any possible sexually transmitted disease, at the completion of banking.



Since April 2012 the HFEA have allowed sperm donors to be compensated by £35 per clinic visit.


How is the semen stored?

Semen samples are stored in small, sealed bottles (ampoules) in liquid Nitrogen vapour. These ampoules are carefully labelled with your donor code, date of birth and date of freezing. A second member of staff verifies the details. Freezing needs to take place as soon as possible after the sample is produced. By law the samples can be kept up to 10 years from the date they were frozen.



The HFEA – Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – is the body that regulates fertility treatment in the UK. All semen donors have to be registered with the HFEA. Donors can stipulate how many families they are willing to create, up to a maximum of 10 families. For more information regarding the HFEA please see their website.


Legal and Financial Situation – Guardianship

You have no legal or financial obligations to any child created from your donation. The people who receive the donation will bethe legal guardians of any child that is born.


When can any offspring contact the HFEA?

When the child reaches 18 they can contact the HFEA for:

The donor’s full names (and any former names)

The donor’s date of birth and the town or district where born

The donor’s last known postal address (or their address recorded at the time of registration)

The donor’s NHS number

The donor will be informed by the HFEA that enquiries have been made about them.


Will the donor be held responsible if a child born from donation is disabled in any way?

No. However, it is your responsibility to inform us of any genetic or inheritable diseases which present themselves in your immediate family. Failure to do so is an offence and it is the right of any child resulting from this to sue the clinic for damages. The court might require the HFEA to disclose the donor’s identity under the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liabilities) Act of 1976.


What information will the recipient be given about the donor?

All information will be non-identifying. An attempt will be made to match donor and recipient physical characteristics.


What information will the donor be given about the recipient?

No information is given about the recipient. You may however ask whether your sperm has produced pregnancies and how many pregnancies.



If you have any questions before, during or after your donation you can contact our staff who will be happy to discuss them with you.

Sperm donation email address

Counsellors: Anne Curley or Bev Loftus (0161) 276 6800

Andrology laboratory (0161) 276 6473


Further information

  • Infectious diseases screening leaflet
  • Cystic fibrosis screening leaflet
  • Criteria for acceptance of sperm donors
  • HFEA leaflet on donating sperm
  • HFEA leaflet on what’s involved in donation
  • Sperm donor information flowchart
  • Important information for donors
  • Sperm donor enquiry questionnaire

The above leaflets can be found in the related media section of our website here.