A significant proportion of fertility problems are associated with sperm – either a problem with the sperm number, function, or sometimes a complete absence altogether. In rare cases, a partners’ sperm carries a risk of an inheritable condition and the couple can decide to use donated sperm to prevent passing this to their baby. In all of these cases, patients may choose to use donor sperm in order to achieve a pregnancy. Donor sperm also offers a route to genetic parenting for single women and single sex couples.
NUH Life uses donors recruited and processed mainly from the East Midlands region. All are carefully screened according to latest guidance, and only accepted if they meet the highest of standards.
Sperm quality is measured using our computerised semen analysis, which ensures that our donor treatment unit always meets our high standards and helps us to maintain our above average success rates.
How is donor sperm used?
NUH Life ensures that our donor sperm is of such good quality that they can be used with the simplest form of treatment: IUI.
Donor IUI or DIUI is the same procedure as IUI, only the sperm comes from a donor instead of the male partner. However, the use of donor sperm is highly regulated by the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) – which basically means that we have to abide by certain rules and guidelines laid down in law, and we have to pay fees to the HFEA for each treatment.
DIUI is very similar to IUI in terms of how it is performed. Sperm are taken from the freezer, prepared and inseminated at the time of ovulation.
However, because the use of donor sperm is highly regulated in the UK by the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), all the steps along the way must be carried out very carefully, ensuring that we comply with the law (HFE Act). This includes the following:
- Welfare of the child assessment
- Consent (including legal parenthood consent)
- Donor selection
- Follow-up and pregnancy reporting
Counselling is obligatory when undergoing treatment using donor sperm at NUH Life. It is really important that you understand that this session is NOT a judgment of your ability to be a parent, but rather an opportunity to ensure that all recipients understand the implications of using sperm from a donor and exactly what is involved. We also owe it to our donors to ensure that the donations they provide are utilised as they intended.
Legal Parenthood Consent is a complex area to understand, and patients should be provided with sufficient information and an opportunity for further counselling prior to completing these forms. For more information on the consent process or to to find out exactly what legal parenthood is all about, please contact our experienced nursing team.
There are serious implications for patients, their partners and resulting children if consent to legal parenthood is not obtained properly.
Donor Selection is an important step for most patients/couples. All of our donors are UK-based – mostly recruited within the East Midlands area. We are always extremely grateful for the patience of prospective donors who not only give up their time to donate, but have to go through a rigorous, rather personal and time-consuming selection procedure.
Selection is often based on physical characteristics like height, weight, build or eye/hair colour, but many recipients are equally as concerned about what type of person the donor is – their education, occupation, interests, personality and what motivates them to donate. No matter how you choose your donor, you must always be aware that there are no guarantees to how any child will turn out, either in terms of appearance or their behaviours. Our offspring could look like either one of its biological parents, a combination of both or perhaps even neither. Their behaviours and personality will be a product of both genetics and environment. For more about how to choose your donor, please read here.
Follow-up is required by law for DIUI. All pregnancies and live birth outcomes have to be carefully reported to the HFEA, who hold a register for all treatments using donor sperm. We are always grateful for patients staying in touch and keeping us informed about their pregnancy.
Please contact our experienced nursing team if you require more information about the DIUI treatment process, and feel free to read the success stories from previous patients who have been treated by NUH Life.