The London Women’s Clinic works closely with both the London Sperm Bank and London Egg Bank providing the same exceptional level of care to patients and donors.
The close relationship ensures anyone wanting to conceive using donor eggs or sperm is able to select their own donor from the comfort of their own home.
The London Sperm Bank and London Egg Bank online catalogues were created to provide a safe, familiar online shopping environment… but all donors undergo rigorous screening and just by being on the catalogue, recipients have the reassurance that the donors are fit, fertile, with nothing in their own or their wider families medical history to cause concern.
In addition there’s a recognition that donating isn’t a simple process so we also know the donors listed have an altruistic element to their personality, a generosity of spirit in donating to enable recipients the opportunity to try to conceive.
Each month the London Sperm Bank receives around 800 contacts from men hoping to donate and a similar number from women hoping to donate eggs via the London Egg Bank; but often less than 10% attend in person having found out more about the process and the legal implications around donating.
From those who do attend in person around 3% are recruited as donors.
What brings donors in? Awareness of the need for eggs or sperm – often someone in their family or wider network has needed assistance to conceive, or they’ve spotted an advert or article and thought about it and talked about it with a few people.
For some their may be a recognition of healthy family genes that could continue via donation if they don’t have children of their own in the future.
I like to think that all donors have an ego that affirms their genes are worth donating… just as recipients have an ego that affirms they’ll make great parents. An excellent match!
One of the first tests the sperm donors have is a semen analysis; this checks the sperm count, the motility of the sperm and the percentage of sperm that have normal head shapes.
If all looks good then a freeze thaw test is performed.
After thawing the sperm still needs to be suitable for an insemination treatment cycle. As around a third of sperm can be lost during the freeze-thaw process so only the men with great number of healthy, hardy sperm are able to donate.
For women exploring becoming egg donors the first test is an Anti Mullerian Hormone blood test; this test informs a fertility doctor about the ovarian reserve and the result is used by the doctor along with age, medical history, genetic testing and the findings from an internal scan to assess how a woman would respond to the stimulatory medication used in an IVF cycle.
Sperm donors attend the bank weekly and egg donors begin to take the pill to ensure a regular cycle.
The sperm donors donate for around six months and at the end of that time their sperm remains in quarantine for six months, after which their sexual health screening tests are repeated and if all is OK the donor’s information is then added to the catalogue.
Egg donors are added to the catalogue after screening tests are completed and once a recipient has confirmed a match they then synchronise the monthly cycle to that of the donor.
Donors attend routine counselling as part of the donation cycle to ensure they are fully aware of the implications of becoming a donor, for themselves and their own family, including any children they have now or in the future.
The regulations in the UK empower a donor conceived child with the ability to access information about their donor from the age of 18.
Counselling support is available for donors as it is for patients before, during and following their time with the bank.