WHAT HAPPENS AT A SPERM BANK? A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES AT SEMOVO27th June 2017
It has been a year since Semovo was launched and in that time we’ve grown to become one of the UK’s most successful sperm banks, helping people from right across the UK to conceive with our donor sperm whilst supporting men who want to be sperm donors.
But what actually goes on at a sperm bank? Our sperm bank manager, Jo Adams, gives an insight into a typical day at Semovo – a day which involves everything from welcoming new sperm donor applicants to patient matching and keeping abreast of the latest regulations:
Patient matching with Semovo sperm donors
New sperm donors are always becoming available so every day we’re sending out sperm donor profiles to patients. People who need sperm donors want to know as much as they can about a donor, so the personal insight we can give is really valued. I’ve met every sperm donor we have available in our sperm donor bank, I’m always happy to have a quick chat with patients to reassure them about their choice.
Sperm donation appointments
Our sperm donors donate to us throughout the day, so we’ll process and freeze sperm samples to add to our sperm bank. We also have initial appointments where we assess someone who’s applied to be a sperm donor. This is really informal and involves discussing what’s involved, the sperm donation process, any ‘do’s and don’ts’ and then an assessment of an initial semen sample in our lab to check suitability of sperm.
Rescreen of sperm donors
All sperm donors need to be rescreened before the very first batch of their samples can be released for patient use. The rescreen is a health check to ensure that there are no issues that could mean your sperm can’t be used. So we’ll check your rescreen results and then officially make you available as a sperm donor to patients if all is well. This includes compiling your full sperm donor profile, so it’s ready to be sent out if you’re a match for someone.
Exit interviews: Successful sperm donation
We also see donors for an ‘exit interview’, which takes place around six months after your final donation. We’ll have a chat with you to remind you about your responsibilities as a sperm donor – including the potential for future contact from donor-conceived children when they reach the age of 18. We can also tell you if your sperm has been used successfully yet. At this appointment you have your final health screen, which means all your samples can now be released for patient use.
Sperm bank management: 10-family limit, storage and freezing
Our sperm bank follows the strict processes and procedures specified by HFEA regulations. This includes checking that no samples are nearing expiration – donor sperm can only be stored for 10 years under current rules.
And also checking patient treatment outcomes to ensure we adhere to the 10-family limit for each donor. As we can have several patients across a number of clinics using the same Semovo sperm donor, I have to monitor live births for each patient so we don’t risk breaching the limit and can free up donor availability.
We also have incoming frozen samples from our regional sperm donation locations that need to be stored here centrally, and we also have outgoing samples to send to clinics and patients who’ve ordered sperm from us.
HFEA regulations: Keeping abreast of sperm donation legislation
We regularly review HFEA regulations and guidance to ensure we’re complying with their Code of Practice and keeping our processes up to date. As a member of the HFEA’s National Donation Strategy Group, I often have to answer queries and comment on new policy.
I’m also Chair of the Association of Biomedical Andrologists (ABA) Education Committee, which means I’m responsible for students around the country training in Andrology. And I also speak at Manchester Fertility’s monthly patient evening all about treatment using donor sperm and our Semovo sperm bank and donors, which is a really fun and informative way for people to learn about using a sperm donor to conceive and how we can help them.
Donate your sperm with Semovo
Explore more about being a sperm donor with Semovo. Read our sperm donation FAQs, learn about the sperm donation process and see if you meet the criteria. If you’re ready to apply, complete our initial, no obligation sperm donor application form here or have a chat to our friendly team on 0346 266 1272.