Donor Sperm Programme
Sperm donors are screened extensively as per EU legislation before they are accepted as a sperm donor. Potential donors will have to complete a medical history questionnaire and have a thorough physical health check and have blood and urine samples taken for a number of hereditary and infectious diseases. They will undergo counselling to ensure they are aware of the implications of donation and the types of donor they can be. Their sperm is tested to make sure it is of suitable quality after freezing and thawing. Once they pass all of these tests, they complete the donor profile and they start the donation programme. During the whole period of donation the donors are screened for infectious diseases while the sperm is quarantined, so the risk of passing on those infectious diseases is eliminated.
Anonymous and non-anonymous donors
As Ireland does not have a donor sperm bank, all donor sperm is imported from different countries. At ReproMed Ireland we import sperm from two well established Danish sperm banks. Both sperm banks supply sperm from anonymous and non-anonymous donors. Anonymous donors cannot be contacted at any time by the donor conceived child, while non-anonymous donors can be contacted by the donor conceived child when he or she turns 18 years old. The donor cannot be contacted by the parents of the donor conceived child. Anonymous or non-anonymous donors do not have legal rights or obligations towards the donor conceived child and cannot contact the donor conceived child or his/her family.
The children and family relationships bill of 2015 prohibits the use of anonymous donors in Ireland. However, as the bill has not been enacted yet, anonymous donor sperm can be used at present. There is no clear indication when this bill will be enacted, but clinics will be given advance notice so patients can be informed. If an anonymous donor was used and resulted in a live birth, then the sperm from an anonymous donor can be used for up to 3 years after the enactment of the bill. The Assisted Human Reproduction bill is also in the pipeline which will limit the number of families per donor. Currently the Irish fertility clinics are enforcing the limit of 3 families per donor in Ireland. This limit is adhere to as to minimise the chance of half siblings unknowingly marry or have children together.
All donors have a basic profile where information such as hair colour, eye colour, height, weight, blood group, ethnicity, country of origin and profession/education. Some donors provide an extended profile, where extra information is recorded regarding the donor’s personality and family background. They may also provide a personality test, baby photos, handwritten note, audio clip and staff impressions for donors with an extended profile.
Other things to consider when selecting a donor would be blood group and CMV status. While there is no risk to the mother or baby when blood groups don’t match, a lot of people do like to match the blood groups to their own or their partners as blood group is hereditary. CMV stands for Cytomegalovirus. It is a very common virus which most people will have at one point in their lives. In Europe approximately 50 % of people aged 20 years and almost 90 % of people aged 80 years have had a temporary infection with this virus (however this is lower in the Irish population). It is the policy of ReproMed Ireland to recommend use of CMV Negative donors for recipients who are themselves CMV negative.
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