PrivateAbout spermSperm donation - an introduction

    Introduction to sperm donation at Cryos

    Sperm donation - the process in which a man donates his sperm to help others conceive - is widely used by single women, same-sex couples, and couples experiencing infertility. Here we will introduce you to the topic and cover aspects such as donor requirements, the donation process, and local laws.

      At Cryos we have more than 35 years of experience with sperm donation. A lot has happened through the years, and especially the development and recognition of new family structures have increased the importance of sperm donation. Today, sperm donation is widely used by women and couples all over the world as a help to achieve pregnancy.

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      Cryos nurse explaining sperm donation process at Cryos

      What is sperm donation?

      Sperm donation is the process in which a man provides his sperm to be used by another individual or couple to achieve a pregnancy through e.g., insemination (ICI or IUI) and other types of fertility treatment (IVF, ICSI, etc.).

      Sperm donation can take place anywhere – but in order to protect your health and the legal rights of both donor and recipient, it is highly recommended that sperm donation takes place at a licensed sperm bank, where the legal aspects are covered, and the donor sperm is screened for genetic and infectious diseases before being frozen and stored.

      When donating sperm at Cryos, the sperm donors are asked to decide between being ID Release or Non-ID Release. This is a matter of whether or not the donor allows future children the opportunity to get identifying information about the donor from Cryos when he or she turns 18. Not all sperm banks offer the same donor types or profiles, and some countries have laws that limit the donor selection.

      Who needs a sperm donor?

      There are several reasons why someone might benefit from sperm donation. 

      Lesbian couples 

      To be able to conceive, lesbian couples need a man to donate his sperm for use in fertility treatment such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). About 35% of our customers are lesbian couples for whom sperm donation is a unique opportunity because one of the women in the relationship will have a genetic relation to the child. If you want to read more about how lesbian couples can have a baby, then follow the link to our blog post.

      Single mothers by choice

      Single women who wish to become single mothers by choice without a partner may want to use donor sperm to conceive. About 50% of the women ordering donor sperm from Cryos are single mothers to be.

      Male infertility

      For men with low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or other fertility issues, using donor sperm can be an alternative to natural conception. Because of different factors, the number of couples experiencing infertility has increased through the years. After coping with infertility as a heterosexual couple and perhaps going through the 5 stages of grief, the option of conceiving through sperm donation may seem like the right way to proceed, as this allows a genetic relation between mother and child.

      Individuals with genetic disorders

      If a man carries a genetic disorder that he does not want to risk passing on to his children, he (and his partner) may choose to use donor sperm instead.

      If you find yourself in one of the categories mentioned above and are looking to start your journey towards parenthood with donor sperm, please continue to our page on how to get pregnant with donor sperm or contact our Customer Care Team, who will try to answer all your questions.

      Sperm donation requirements at a glance

      To qualify for sperm donation at Cryos, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

      • Be between 18 and 45 years old
      • Have good sperm quality
      • Have a good physical and mental health
      • Provide a detailed medical history of his genetic origins
      • Give blood and urine samples on a regular basis

      Learn more about sperm donor requirements.


      The sperm donor process - step by step

      Many people are surprised to learn exactly how thoroughly we screen all sperm donor candidates before accepting them as Cryos sperm donors. Becoming a sperm donor is not something that anyone can do – in fact, only about 5-10% of all sperm donor candidates live up to our sperm donor requirements and eventually become donors. In the following, you can learn more about the different steps that each sperm donor goes through before the actual sperm donation.

      Step 1: Applying as a sperm donor

      First, a potential sperm donor must fill out an application form with basic information and contact info and then book an appointment for a preliminary sperm sample.

      Step 2: Preliminary sperm test and analysis

      The sperm donor candidate visits one of our sperm bank locations and provides a preliminary sperm sample. This is of course a very important step, as we want to make sure that his sperm can survive the freezing and be able to fertilize an egg later on. To measure sperm quality, we look at the motility (MOT). Read more about sperm motility and what it means for your fertility treatment.

      Step 3: Clinical examination and family medical history

      If his sperm quality is good, and he lives up to our preliminary sperm donor requirements, the donor candidate will undergo a clinical examination. The purpose of the clinical examination is to ensure that there are no physical signs of diseases, and a healthcare professional will therefore thoroughly check the sperm donor candidate’s skin, lymph nodes, blood pressure, BMI, etc.

      Before the examination, the candidate must complete an extensive questionnaire regarding his and his family’s medical history. The questionnaire will then be discussed with a healthcare professional in relation to the physical examination to check whether there is any history of serious hereditary mental or physical diseases. We will also ask for blood and urine samples to test for infectious diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, etc. and common genetic variants causing cystic fibrosis and other frequent, serious hereditary diseases. If you want to know more about the different tests, you can read more on our page Screening of sperm donors.

      Step 4: Psychosocial interview

      Besides their physical health, we want to make sure that the sperm donors are mentally healthy and understand the meaning of sperm donation. During a psychosocial interview with our in-house psychologist, the donor candidate will be asked about his motivations, ethical considerations, openness, and expectations.

      Step 5: Sperm Donor Profile choices and questionnaires

      During the screening process, the sperm donor candidate will be informed about the difference between being an ID Release or Non-ID Release sperm donor as well as having a Basic or Extended Donor Profile, and he will be asked to decide which type of sperm donor he wants to be. If he chooses an Extended Profile, he needs to fill out another questionnaire with questions about his life experiences, preferences, personality, etc. and send in child photos, a handwritten message, and a voice recording. ID Release sperm donors also sign different consent forms allowing their identifying information to be shared with donor-conceived children later on.

      Step 6: Approval - the sperm donation can begin

      If the donor fulfils the sperm donor requirements and passes all tests and screening, he will be approved as a sperm donor. Only then can he begin the actual sperm donation and help others achieve their dream of a child. The sperm donor commits to delivering at least 10 approved sperm donations, which is referred to as a batch. Before and after every batch, the sperm donor must have his blood and urine tested to make sure that he has not caught any infectious diseases. If the tests look fine after completing a batch, the sperm will be released for purchase via the Sperm Donor Search on our website, and the sperm donor will receive his compensation. He can then decide if he wants to continue the sperm donation and commit to another batch.

      Sperm donor compensation and benefits

      Sperm donation is a gift of life, and what motivates many sperm donors at Cryos is the possibility of helping others become parents. In addition, sperm donors are financially compensated for their time and effort related to sperm donation. The sperm donor compensation is regulated by law and varies from country to country.

      Since Cryos' sperm donation facilities are located in Denmark, we act under Danish regulation, which means we can provide the donor with 200 - 500 DKK (28 - 67 Euro) per donation. If you want to learn more, please visit our blog post about sperm donor compensation & pay.

       Frozen sperm straws after sperm donation at Cryos

      After the donation: Processing and freezing sperm

      Once a sperm donor candidate has been approved for sperm donation, he commits to delivering 10 sperm donations within a period of approximately 10 weeks. The actual sperm donation takes place at one of Cryos’ sperm bank locations. Here, we have private donor cabins where the sperm donor goes in to donate. Afterwards, the sample is handed over to the staff and instantly taken into our laboratory, where we will thoroughly check the sperm quality to ensure that only high-quality sperm is distributed from Cryos.

      If the sperm quality is good, the sperm will be further processed in the lab before it is put into so-called straws of 0.5 ML that are easy to freeze, store, and thaw. All donor straws are clearly marked with the sperm donor name or number as well as the ejaculate number and categorized according to the type and quality of the sperm.

      At Cryos we offer two types of donor sperm: IUI and ICI. IUI donor sperm can be used for most fertility treatments, as this has been washed and prepared for use. ICI donor sperm is unprepared and contains all the natural fluids present in a normal ejaculate. This is ready to use for ICI treatment, but must be washed by your fertility clinic if used for other treatments such as IUI or IVF.

      Furthermore, the donor sperm is divided according to motility, which is an expression of the quality or concentration of sperm cells. The higher the sperm motility, the more active sperm cells are.

      Finally, the donor sperm is kept frozen and safely stored in a nitrogen tank at -196 °C, until it is purchased by someone who has decided to get pregnant with donor sperm.

      Shipping and use of sperm donations

      When we receive an order of donor sperm, we will carefully move the donor sperm straws from our tank and into a smaller container or tank that will keep the sperm frozen and safe during transportation. A courier company will deliver the order to your clinic, which checks and signs for the delivery. You can read more about the shipping and delivery of donor sperm here.

      Once it is time for your fertility treatment, the donor sperm will be thawed at room temperature. This takes about 15-20 minutes, and immediately after, your clinic must perform a microscopic sperm analysis to check that the sperm quality is as expected. After that, the sperm is ready for use in fertility treatment such as IUI or IVF.

      Happy mother with children conceived with sperm donation

      Sperm donation laws by country

      Sperm donation is a highly regulated area, and each country has its own laws regarding who is allowed access to fertility treatment, which types of donors can be used, and which health checks the sperm donors must pass to be allowed to donate.

      At one end of the scale, you have a country like Denmark that allows free donor choice and access to fertility treatment for both singles, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples, while other countries, unfortunately, have very strict laws allowing very limited access to sperm donation treatment.

      You can learn more about the legal aspects of sperm donation here or contact Cryos if you want advice on where to have the treatment you want.

      Want to see the men approved for sperm donation?

      Now you hopefully have an idea of how thoroughly a sperm donor and his sperm have been screened before being released for purchase here on our website. If you want to order sperm for fertility treatment, then follow the link to our guide on how to purchase donor sperm.

      You might also be curious about the financial aspects of using a sperm donor? Read more about the cost of using a sperm donor here.

      Frequently asked questions about sperm donation

      How much do you get paid for a single sperm donation?

      The compensation a sperm donor receives for a single sperm donation is between 200 - 500 DKK (28 - 67 Euro) per donation. The amount depends on different factors like sperm motility, choice of Donor Profile, and amount of sperm donated.

      Can you make sperm donations anonymously?

      Yes, sperm donors can donate their sperm anonymously. If, however, a sperm donor chooses to be an ID Release Donor, he accepts that children conceived from his sperm donations can contact Cryos at the age of 18 and receive identifying information about him. A Non-ID Release Sperm Donor, on the other hand, wishes to remain anonymous. 

      Why do men donate their sperm?

      The sperm donors at Cryos donate their sperm because they want to help others achieve their dream of a child. Some of them have a close family member or friend who has struggled to have children, and others are parents themselves. The compensation is a chance to earn a little extra but is not the primary reason and the motivation to donate.