Sperm Donor program

Through your sperm donation you will enable those who cannot conceive naturally to have children of their own. Your donation will be received in the strictest confidentiality and you will always remain anonymous.

Because artificial insemination by donor (AID) introduces a third party it gives rise to diverse moral, ethical, legal and even genetic health issues.

People should not see this concept as frivolous or sexual but as a benevolent act such as blood donation.

There are two sources of gametes commonly used, those donated by relatives or friends, or those from completely anonymous sources.  Anonymous donors are always preferred though, to avoid the risk of conflict of attitude toward offspring from an identifiable non-parental source.  Concealing information about the conception of these offspring may become a problem later on in life when genetic fingerprinting is recorded.

In South Africa the law prohibits disclosure of donor and recipient identities. The identity of the donor shall remain anonymous and the clients have in no way the right to learn the identity of the donor or solicit donor-identifying information from any other source.  The donor shall also be free from any responsibility to the biological offspring produced by his sperm. It is the right of the sperm donor to indicate to whom he would like to donate his sperm (marital status of the couple, religion, sexual preference, and ethnic grouping).

The recipients have the right to be informed of the limitations and potential complications involved with sperm donation.  Sperm donation is not always successful and multiple treatments might have to be performed.  Also, the sperm bank cannot completely guarantee that the sperm they provide is disease free or free of genetic abnormalities.  Although genetic testing and disease screening techniques are advanced and sensitive, they are not fool proof.

Counselling and an informed consent are recommended for it establishes the donor and recipients rights about disclosure.  This consent is signed and verified by the donor, the recipient and the recipient’s doctor.  This form ensures that the client understands his/her rights and the rights of the sperm donor.  The principle of informed consent is based on the principles of scientific and medical ethics.

The recipients also must understand that she/he is fully responsible for the offspring conceived of the specimen.  Any woman who gives birth to the baby is the legal parent.  In the case of sperm donation, her partner is the legal parent with her so long as he/she has given written consent to treatment and they are being treated together as a couple.  The child’s birth certificate would state that they were the legal parents.  However, being a legal parent does not necessarily give the man/partner full parental responsibility unless he/she is married to the child’s mother.

Medical aspects of donor sperm

Proper screening of sperm donors requires sperm to be frozen and quarantined in a licensed storage facility before it can be used for treatment.  All donor sperm banks in South Africa should be registered at Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and should have a practicing license; therefore sperm from unlicensed sperm banks is illegal.

The number of times the same donor is used should be controlled. If a donor sires too many children, the incidence of intermarriage (consanguinity) increases. The limitation of numbers of live births prevents above mentioned problem and must be employed by all sperm banks.

In South Africa a donor is limited to six births.

Sperm donor screening

Donors are ordinary, physically healthy men from across society whose ages range from 19-35 years with normal, fertile sperm parameters.  All potential donors undergo rigorous assessment before being accepted.  Donor screening consists of questionnaires for a medical history, blood screening, and semen specimen screening. If you are bodybuilding the use of certain supplements or steroids can negatively affect your sperm quality. Alcohol and recreational drugs can also affect sperm quality.

An extensive semen analysis follows which includes a sperm count, motility, morphology, CMA3, and freezing and thawing ability.

When the candidate passes these tests, they will go on to being tested for infectious diseases.  These tests include:

  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody
  • HTLV-I, HTLV-II Antibody
  • Sexual Transmitted Diseases
  • Chlamydia
  • Ureaplasma
  • Mycoplasma
  • Other blood tests done are ABO-Rh Blood Typing.

Once the participant has passed the initial screening process he will be invited to see the clinical psychologist for evaluation.

Donors accepted for the donor program.

Accepted donors will be asked to donate sperm at least once a week, until we have 8 usable samples.  If the donor is sexually active care must be taken to use condoms or abstain from intercourse until he is finished with the donor program. If the donor has not abstained from sexual intercourse or masturbation the quality can be below the required parameters. Excessive stress or illness with a high fever can also influence the quality of the sperm. Extra samples can be required after the initial donation period has passed until the pregnancy quota has been reached.

What is the compensation for a sperm donor?

In South Africa, the Human Tissue Act prohibits donors from selling organs or tissue, and therefore the donor is only entitled to be given an honorarium to cover his expenses. At Medfem Fertility Clinic the compensation for your time and effort is discussed at the first appointment.

Will the donor be able to find out of his sperm has produced any pregnancies?

If the donor would like to know if he has produced any pregnancies, he may ask.  Alternatively, if he would prefer not to know, he may indicate so initially.  This is a personal issue. The donor will not receive any information regarding the recipients of the sperm.

What if the donor changes his mind?

The donor is at any time allowed to leave the program. Although any sperm that remains in the sperm bank would be the donor sperm bank’s property.

How to become a sperm donor at Medfem fertility clinic?

Please remember that Medfem is based in Johannesburg, Bryanston and all testing and freezing will be done on the Medfem premises.

Please contact donors@medfem.co.za for your application form. All forms can be sent back to this address and must include a copy of your ID, matric certificate and any tertiary education certificates. If you are married we will need a copy of your wife’s ID and signed consent.

Applications will be reviewed before a potential donor is invited for an interview and further testing.

Becoming a donor is giving a gift beyond compare!

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