Purchasing sperm from abroad
If you require donated sperm, you will be aware of the nationwide shortage of donors and the knock-on delays to treatment. If unable to meet your needs from its own bank, the LCRM team will make every effort to secure an alternative UK-sourced supply, but few units are willing and able to offer samples from their own limited supplies. You may be asked to purchase a package which, as well as the sperm, includes a pregnancy slot: that is to say, you are allowed to use that sperm to create one of the ten families to which each donor is restricted.
Given the current shortage of UK donors, it is worth noting that it is possible to import sperm from other countries under certain conditions. In the past LCRM has used two banks, one in Denmark, the other in the US, both of which has donors that comply with UK regulations and so sperm samples can be imported on your behalf. These pages give a brief introduction to each bank and describes the procedures to select, order and import donor sperm samples.
Please be aware
But first, some very important starting messages….
- Please do not order sperm from any bank without first discussing this with us. We are legally obliged to ensure compliance with UK regulations and will not be able to import sperm if there is any doubt. We suggest you contact the bank and reserve samples but do not order and do not make payment until we can confirm suitability for use in the UK.
- You must choose only a UK-compliant, open (non-anonymous) donor: we are legally not permitted to use anonymous donors in the UK.
- If you have been screened as CMV-negative, we advise you to select a CMV-negative donor; if in any doubt, speak to us first.
- Be mindful that all options are likely to be expensive and that you should factor in the transport costs in addition to the sample costs.
As long as these points are kept in mind, it is relatively straightforward to help you import samples.
European Sperm Bank (ESB)
ESB is part of Nordic Cryobank and is based in Denmark, though some of its donors are actually from the USA. As it is within an EU member state, the bank is subject to the same European regulations governing tissue banks as those that apply in the UK. As such, it is relatively easy to import samples from ESB to any HFEA-licensed IVF centre.
Xytex is a large cryo bank based in Atlanta and Augusta, USA. The company has an international medical advisory board, the appropriate, required licences and ISO 9001:2000 certification. Xytex offers a number of donors that are suitable for export to the UK and meet HFEA regulations.
Website address - www.xytex.com
- First of all, contact us and let us know that you might wish to purchase sperm from Xytex.
- On the website’s homepage, click on Advanced Search.
- Filter the list by selecting UK Compliant donors by ticking the box. You can also further refine your search based on ethnicity, physical characteristics, religion, blood group, CMV status etc.
- Select any donor of interest then visit the FEES page, which you will find in the drop-down menu under PATIENT SECTION; this will help you calculate the approximate cost. Please note that you must use ID disclosure units.
- We usually advise you to choose pre-washed units (as this is prepared to select the most motile sperm) but are able to accept unwashed units too.
- Email Xytex directly using the general email address (xytex(at)xtyex.com ) to check availability.
- Reserve the sperm when happy with your choice: this can be done by telephone, email or via the online chat (see the box top right of every webpage - this operates between 2pm and 10pm UK time). Sheridan Rivers deals with international sales so please contact her in the event of any queries (srivers(at)xytex.com ).
- Please copy emails to david.morroll(at)leedsth.nhs.uk so we are aware of your interest; we can then email Xytex requesting copies of the necessary donor registration documents and then confirm suitability for import.
- Once you are notified that everything is in order, you should place the official order directly with Xytex.
Xytex will then liaise with the LCRM Embryology team to agree a shipment date.
Website address: www.europeanspermbank.com
- First of all, contact us and let us know that you might wish to purchase sperm from ESB.
- On the website, click on DONOR LIST.
- Filter by selecting Open from the drop down menu under Status and Yes for Available in the UK.
- Select any donor of interest then visit the FEES page, which will help you calculate the approximate cost.
- We usually advise you to choose IUI-ready sperm (as this is prepared to select the most motile sperm) but are able to accept ICI units.
- Email ESB directly at info(at)europeanspermbank.com to check availability; at this point, if you have been screened as CMV negative, it is worth checking the status of the donor.
- Reserve the sperm when happy with your choice.
- Please copy emails to david.morroll(at)leedsth.nhs.uk so we are aware of your interest; we can then email ESB requesting copies of the necessary donor registration documents and then confirm suitability for import.
- Once notified that everything is in order, you should place the official order directly with ESB.
- ESB will then liaise with the LCRM Embryology team to agree a shipment date.