Can you choose your egg or sperm donor?

17th August 2012 in General

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

If you need to use a donor egg or donor sperm to have your family, you may be wondering whether you actually get a choice when it comes to selecting your donor.

Although you can’t flick through a catalogue or look at photographs of potential donors, what we do supply you with is a choice of potential donors for you to choose from. You choose from donors who have come through our successful recruitment programme.

All of them will be from the UK, and they have all passed the stringent medical criteria needed to be accepted as HFEA-registered sperm or egg donors. This means their eggs or sperm are safe to be used by you to have a family, they have no serious medical history or genetic or hereditary conditions, or any illnesses which could be passed onto you or your baby.

Because they are registered it also means their details are stored so in future, if you have any children using their donated sperm or eggs, your children can find out about their donor when they turn 18 if they wish to.

So what information will you get about our donors? When you initially enquire about treatment using donor eggs or sperm, we will ask you what characteristics you’re looking for in a potential donor, and make a note of your own physical characteristics. Typically, if you need to use donor sperm because your partner has a sperm disorder or perhaps a hereditary condition, then you would usually want the sperm donor to match your partner’s physical traits, and in the case of an egg donor then characteristics would usually be matched to the female recipient.

Once you’ve decided to request treatment, we will look at what traits you prefer in a donor and see if we have any which match. Typically we give you a choice of two who have similar  characteristics to those you’re looking for, at this stage the information you’ll get is purely the physical details of the donor – so weight, height , hair and eye colour – but you can ask for more information if you want it, a donor’s ‘full profile’.

This consists of extra details such as occupation, religion, hobbies and interests, plus their reasons for donating and a ‘pen picture’ written by the donor to give you an idea of what type of person they are. All of our donors are also invited to write a good will message, which will form part of the profile you can see. 

What you will never be given is any identifying information about our donors – such as names, addresses or photographs. In that sense, although the law was changed to allow donor-conceived children the right to find out about their donors when they’re 18, sperm and egg donation is still anonymous between donor and recipient.

When you’ve decided which donor you’d like to use,   you then call us to ‘reserve’ your choice of donor. Your donor is then allocated to you and with sperm donation, this means you can use the same sperm donor for repeated cycles of treatment if needed, as long as there  is sperm available from that particular donor, which we check every month.

You are also able to reserve a particular donor’s  sperm so you can give any child born a sibling in future.

For details of our treatments using donor eggs or donor sperm, click here.

Last updated: 16th April 2021