IVFAustralia’s sperm donation program helps heterosexual couples, same sex couples and single women successfully conceive their baby.
You can use sperm donated by someone you know, or by someone who has made a de-identified donation directly to our clinic. We provide patients with access to a pool of potential de-identified donors, including donors recruited from overseas.
Who can be a sperm donor?
Healthy men aged between 21 and 45 can donate sperm directly to IVFAustralia. If you have a relative or friend who can donate and is over 45, we can make exceptions to this age limit.
Choosing your sperm donor
After consultation with your fertility specialist and counsellor, to discuss the long term implications of treatment using donated sperm, the next step is to choose a donor that will be suitable for you. You will be given access to our password protected sperm donor programme website.This site holds a database of all the donors that are currently available to choose from.
Here you will be able to view questionnaires written by our donor about themselves and their families.
If you have any questions, or would like to know more about our current donors contact our Donor Program Manager.
How does sperm donation work?
All our donors, whether they are recruited locally or overseas, undergo rigorous preparation for donation, including:
Medical Screening: Thorough medical history, including family and genetic history; tests for HIV, Hepatitis B & C, HTLV I & II, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Chromosomes, Blood Group, Rhesus antibodies and full blood count.
Genetic testing: Performed to screen for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and others depending on ethnic background.
Quarantine: All donors sperm is quarantined for 3 to 6 months, and donors are re-screened for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, HTLV I & II and syphilis prior to release for treatment.
Counselling: Donors and their partners spend time with our counsellors to consider the legal and psychological implications of donation. All donors consent to have their identifying information entered to the NSW Health Central Register, so children born from donation can access it once they turn 18. The counselling is a critical part of enabling donors to understand and be comfortable with the long-term implications of their decision.
Family Limit: All donors are only able to help create five families worldwide. As the donor will also want to have a family of his own, we will only allow four women access to a donor.
Once the donor sperm is released from quarantine, the recipient’s eggs can then be fertilised using either IUI (interuterine insemination) or IVF treatment with ICSI.
Find out more about sperm donation...
Can donor sperm help me conceive?
Sperm donation can help you have a baby if:
- the male partner in the relationship has no sperm of his own. Remember that with modern ICSI technologies, most cases of male factor infertility can be treated WITHOUT using donated sperm,
- the male partner in the relationship carries a serious genetic or infectious disease,
- you are in a same-sex relationship,
- you are a single woman,
Using donor sperm from overseas
There is currently a severe shortage of donor sperm in Australia, and as such, a waiting list exists. IVFAustralia has an agreement with an overseas clinic to give our patients access to donors recruited in the US, giving more patients access to high calibre donor sperm.
This arrangement meets Australia’s highest ethical standards. IVFAustralia adheres to practices developed by the Reproductive Technology Committee (RTAC) of the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA). The recruitment and counselling process for clinic-recruited donors complies fully with the national ethical standards set out by the Australian Health Ethics Committee of the National Health and Medical Resource Council (NHMRC), and the requirements of the 2007 NSW Assisted Reproductive Technology Act, and 2009 Regulations for this Act.
Where do our American donors come from?
An agency based in Seattle recruits American donors for us. For this reason, the recruitment expenses are higher for an American donor than for an Australian donor.
However, the US donors:
- Do not receive any payment other than reasonable expenses,
- Have the same limit on the number of families created, and
- Have consented to their identifying information being made available to any children when they turn 18.
What costs are associated with accessing a sperm donor?
In addition to any treatment cycle fees, you should expect to cover the following additional fees:
If using a known sperm donor:
- The preparation costs for a known sperm donor is $1205, this includes counselling for the donor, sperm testing, some genetic testing, freezing of the first donation and storage of the donation for the first six months.
- Other costs include the sperm donor’s out-of-pocket expenses for medical consultations, and any tests requested by the specialist that are not preparation costs as above.
If using a clinic recruited donor:
- American Donor access fee $950.00
- Australian Donor access fee $600.00
Single women and same-sex couples are welcome to seek treatment with donor sperm, egg or embryos, although it should be noted that there is no Medicare rebate for fertility treatment unless there is a medical cause for the infertility.
NSW sperm donor laws
IVFAustralia has extensive experience in helping create families through our donor program and we regard the interests of your future child as paramount.
We now know from experience that many individuals who have been conceived from past donor sperm practices have expressed deep distress about the effects on them. Nowadays, a much more open approach is taken and all donors are counselled about the long-term implications for them of these possible relationships in the future.
It is up to the parents of the child to explain, when they feel it’s appropriate, the way in which the child was conceived. Our experience shows that the more openly available this information is, the more successful the outcome for everyone.
IVFAustralia adheres closely to the national Australian Health Ethics Committee guidelines when providing any fertility treatment. In Australia, it is illegal to buy or sell any human tissue, including sperm, eggs and embryos.
Under current NSW law, a child born from donated sperm is deemed to be the child of the birth mother. Donors are under no legal or financial obligation to the child.
In 2010 the NSW Health Department established a Central Register for donors and donor-conceived offspring. The NSW Health Central Register contains information about donors and children born as a result of ART treatment using donated gametes and surrogacy.
Once a child conceived using donated sperm turns 18, they will be able to access certain information on the Register if they wish.
IVFAustralia does not offer a donor service for women beyond the natural age of menopause (51 years of age) or to someone whose health could be compromised by a pregnancy.
Some other things to consider
When deciding to use donor sperm there are many psychological, legal and ethical factors to consider. Your IVFAustralia counsellor will help take you through many of these implications to assist you in coming to a fully informed decision.
It is important that potential recipients discuss and understand a range of topics relevant to the welfare of any potential child created from a donation.
Current research and the experiences of offspring conceived through donation suggest that children should be told of their biological origins and that secrecy can have adverse effects on family relationships. Advice on how and when to tell children about their genetic origins is available from your counsellor.
This SBS Insight programme on Sperm Donation aired in October 2013 and explores some of the social issues of sperm donation. Guests include sperm donors, donor conceived children and fertility specialists.
What’s the next step?
To find out more about using Donor Sperm book a consultation with a fertility specialist to discuss your medical history and the options available to help you conceive. Appointments are available in the next couple of weeks and will cost approximately $150 after the Medicare rebate.
Or call our experienced donor team on 1800 111 483 to discuss how our donor program can assist you.