Life can take you in many directions, some expected, others not. Baby making is one of those unpredictable areas in life that can take you by surprise.
While one in seven couples will face fertility challenges, another issue is finding the right partner in the first place.
Although in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is most commonly considered for couples that have fertility issues, it is increasingly being used by single women and those in same-sex relationships turning to sperm banks.
This was recently brought to the fore when singer Natalie Imbruglia announced her pregnancy on Twitter, revealing that she had fallen pregnant “with the help of IVF and a sperm donor.”
Show me the Sperm
Finding a sperm bank and donor has become increasingly easier as culture modernises and the stigma around same-sex and single-parenting diminishes. Hooray for progress.
So, here’s the science bit.
A man, also known as a ‘sperm donor’ donates his sperm for the sole use of artificial insemination – a ‘quick’ process if you like. This is undertaken in a professional sperm bank after a series of wellbeing checks.
Only reasonable expenses can be offered, up to £35. Donors are therefore incentivised not by money, but by doing something good. That concludes their contribution.
There are no legal rights or financial responsibilities towards a successful pregnancy and child. However, the law allows donors’ offspring to find the identity of their father, if they so wish, upon turning 18
In the UK, the donation shortage problem has given rise to the European Sperm Bank locating an office in London. It may surprise you to know that in 2017 alone, 3,000 sperm samples from Denmark were exported to the UK.
Invest in the Bank
There are 138 licenced sperm banks and clinics in the country. The first point of call to find a professional licenced clinic is through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. They help 2,500 people with treatment through a donor every year.
The other option is to find a private donor. However, this can come with a number of health, financial and ethical consequences, which are best avoided if possible.
As is widely documented, IVF is not a cheap solution either. One single round of IVF on the NHS for instance is estimated at £5,000. Another factor to consider is age. The older a woman, the lower her chances of a successful pregnancy through IVF.
According to the NHS: “IVF isn't usually recommended for women over the age of 42 because the chances of a successful pregnancy are thought to be too low.” At 44, we’re pleased to see Imbruglia bucking the trend.
For some women, using a sperm bank may be the only way to fulfil their dreams of being a parent. Using a licensed clinic is the best way to obtain donated sperm and receive comprehensive treatment for the best possible outcome.
Before undertaking any treatment, it’s important to speak to your GP first.