Finding the Right Donor

Baby sleeping 300x200To help lesbian women, or couples, in their attempt to become parents, the clinic runs a sperm, egg and embryo donor program. It may seem like a fairly simple process; however, the decision to create a family using donor sperm, eggs, or embryos, will have a significant impact on everyone involved (including the recipient, the donor and the child who is born as a result of the donation). If you decide to go ahead, our friendly staff will provide you with guidance and support throughout the process, helping you make informed decisions and find the right option for you.

Find out more about our donor programs.

Sperm Donor Program

One of the first things a lesbian woman, or couple undergoing fertility treatment will need to do is choose a sperm donor. Sperm donors are classified as either “known” or “unknown” depending on the type of relationship between donor and recipient.

  • Known sperm donor – where the identity of the donor is known by the woman undergoing treatment. Usually a friend or family member, they have an existing relationship with the recipient and their donated sperm will only be used by them.
  • Clinic-recruited or unknown sperm donor – where the identity of the donor is not known to the woman undergoing treatment. When a child is conceived this way, they will be able to access identifying information about the donor when they reach 18, or acquired sufficient maturity to appreciate the significance of the request (NHMRC 2007).

Whether working with known or unknown sperm donors, the clinic follows a thorough process of preparation for women, or couples, using donated sperm. This process involves comprehensive medical assessment, detailed screening, consent forms and counselling of all parties involved in the donation. As part of the process, donated sperm is quarantined for six months, with donors rigorously tested for infectious disease both before and six months after the donation. This lengthy process is designed to exclude any donor who does not meet all of our quality standards.

At Rainbow Fertility if you already have a “known” donor we will be happy to work with him. Alternatively, we will help you find a suitable one from our available clinic-recruited donors.

 

I want to know more about unknown sperm donors: what are my options?

A variety of unknown sperm donors are available for ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) treatment. You can select from clinic-recruited donors from Australia (Sperm Donors Australia), or from clinic-recruited donors from Overseas.

Keep in mind clinic-recruited donors from Australia are able to donate to up no more than 10 women in VIC, QLD, SA and 5 in NSW (this includes the donor and any current or former partner of the donor). If you want to use the same donor for both partners, it is important to let the clinic know. We will try to help you select a donor with whom this is possible.

Lesbian women, or couples, who choose to use a clinic-recruited sperm donor will be provided with a profile of the potential donor(s) consisting of non-identifying details such as physical characteristics, ethnicity, interests, education and career, to help them select the one that is right for them.

 

Egg Donor and Embryo Donor Program

After starting the family-building process with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), some women may discover they, or their partner, have a fertility problem and need an egg donor. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved.

  • Egg donation – egg donors can either be “known” (friends, sisters or other family members) or “unknown”.
  • Embryo donation – sometimes, IVF patients create more embryos (fertilised eggs) than they need, with the excess cryopreserved (frozen) for future use. After a period of time, the patient has the option to donate some of these unused embryos to help someone else build a family.

 

Selection Criteria for sperm, egg and embryo donors

People of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds can become donors. This includes people of different heights, shapes and sizes, as long as they meet the criteria below:

  • Sperm donors must be between 18 and 45 years of age (21 to 45 in Victoria). All clinic-recruited sperm donors must have semen analysis, anti-sperm antibody test and trial freeze/post thaw analysis to ensure their sperm is suitable for donation.
  • Egg donors must be aged 21-32 years. All clinic-recruited egg donors must have an AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) blood test (which is generally a good indicator of the ovarian reserve) and pelvic ultrasound to ensure they will be suitable as donors.
  • Donors must be in good health and have no history of hereditary disease. Donors will not be accepted if they suffer from an illness, disease or genetic condition that poses an unacceptable risk of being passed on to any child conceived from the donation.
  • Donors must have a low risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. All donors and their partners are screened for infectious diseases.
  • Donors must provide a family medical history.
  • Some people in the community may not be able to donate because their lifestyle puts them at greater risk of contracting diseases that could infect the recipients and any children conceived. All donors must sign a lifestyle declaration.
  • All donors (and their partners) must complete two counselling sessions.
  • All donors must consent to release their identifying details to any possible offspring, when they reach the age of 18 years.

 

Things to Consider

Some of the things you may have to consider when choosing a donor are:

  • Relevant laws.
  • Your feelings about creating a family with a known donor or a clinic-recruited donor. Think about your criteria for a donor and the role of the donor.
  • Who needs to know about this: family, friends, work?
  • What about the possible offspring? What if they wish to contact the donor? What if they want to know how the donor was chosen? Writing down how these decisions were made is one way to prepare for the number of questions that a child may have about his or her conception and genetic heritage.
  • Lesbian(s) using a known donor are encouraged to discuss some of the following key issues with their donor:

– What processes for donating is he/she open to: is he/she open to donate for more than one child?

– What is his/her role during the pregnancy, birth, children’s life? Is this the role he/she really wants?

– Will your donor be known to the child?

– Will the donor be open about his/her role with friends and family?

– If your donor has a partner, what is the role of the partner?

We invite you to take your time to consider the above. Try not to feel rushed and trust your instinct.

 

 

Watch these IVF Journeys

Please note: These videos may not be copied or used, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Rainbow Fertility © 2016.

 

We understand that choosing a donor can be difficult. We have a dedicated and experienced donor team to provide you with guidance and support throughout the process. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.

Call: 1300 222 623
email: info@rainbowfertility.com.au

 

 

 

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Rainbow Fertility has a responsibility to provide Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) based on relevant state or federal laws and guidelines. All individuals/couples are encouraged to obtain their own legal advice regarding the relevant legislation applying to their circumstances.