How to Complete Your Family Medical History28th July 2023
At Semovo, we want to ensure those hoping to receive your sperm donation have the highest chances of a successful pregnancy and a healthy child. A family medical history is integral to this process, and we want to help our donors prepare this information. However, sometimes our donors are not sure what information is relevant.
That's why we've compiled our handy guide to completing your family medical history to support potential sperm donors like you on their journey, so you know exactly who to ask, how to start the conversation, and what information you'll need to become a sperm donor.
You share more than you think with your family – besides DNA, you can also share behaviours, habits and sometimes medical conditions. A family medical history is a record of you and your close relatives' general health and medical conditions.
What information do I need to collect for my family medical history?
When taking a medical history, the HFEA advises that our team needs to be completely satisfied that a potential sperm donor does not have a family history of a serious condition or disease that could be inherited genetically. Any disorders that are hereditary may lead to health problems in a donor-conceived person, either as a child or later in life, as an adult. If you are at any point uncertain about what you should include our team will be there to advise you.
What sort of conditions could be genetic?
Although some conditions will not have any bearing on your ability to donate, it is still vitally important that you include any medical information you have access to so we can build a full picture of your health. The types of conditions that can be inherited are:
- Conditions that cause blindness, deafness or other sensory disabilities
- Commonly occurring conditions such as asthma and eczema
- Cystic fibrosis
- Heart disease
- Some types of cancer
How can I collect my family medical history?
We suggest opening an honest dialogue with your relatives is the most straightforward way to collect the necessary information. You can do this in person, over the phone, by email, or even via social media. We recommend using whatever method is the most comfortable for you.
Sometimes, potential sperm donors are already thoroughly aware of their family's medical history. If this is the case for you, you can use what you already know to fill in your questionnaire – and ask your family for any additional, up-to-date information.
It may make acquiring the information you need easier if you plan one-on-one time with certain relatives. Popping over for a brew and catch-up might be the easiest way to get more detailed information without the added distraction of other family members.
Choosing to donate is a wonderful thing, but only some people feel comfortable enough with their families to discuss their sperm donation journey
. In these cases, you can ask your family to provide the information you need without telling them the purpose - or by offering an alternative reason, such as "I need the information for a check-up" or “I need the information as I want to join a clinical trial”.
Which family members will I need to provide information for?
Before you complete a medical history for yourself and your family, our team will make you aware of who you need to collect the information from – generally, you'll need to consider the following:
- Yourself and any biological children
- Biological siblings (including half-siblings)
- Your biological parents
- Your biological parents’ genetic siblings (your aunts and uncles)
- Your biological grandparents
If you cannot collect the history of specific relatives, for example, if they have passed away, we recommend checking to see if another close family member can recall any relevant medical information on your relative that we need to be aware of.
What if I am found to have a genetic condition from the tests done during the donation process?
It might be that we find out that you are unexpectedly carrying a condition that, unfortunately, means you are unable to continue with sperm donation. Being a carrier does not generally have any implications for your own health but may mean there’s an increased chance of affecting a child born from your donation. We want to ensure our recipients have the highest possible chances of a successful pregnancy and healthy child, which is why carriers for certain conditions may not be able to donate – even if they're in exceptional health themselves.
Our team will consider your family's medical history, taking into account your circumstances, and in some cases, they may be happy to progress your application. If you are not able to continue with your donation due to a genetic condition that you were not aware of, then we will arrange for you to have a conversation with a member of our clinical team to discuss any implications this may have for you and your family.
Can I donate my sperm if I am adopted or donor-conceived?
If you are adopted or donor-conceived, the good news is that you can still donate your sperm if you provide the information needed to complete a family medical history. You need to have up-to-date medical information on your biological parents/donor. We may also ask you to contact them for more information if required.
What happens after I provide my family medical history?
After completing your family medical history, we will be able to book you in with one of our trained reproductive technologists, who will go through the medical history in more detail with you. It may be that they need to ask one of our expert consultants to check some of the information to determine if you are able to continue with the donation process. If you are able to proceed, our consultant will discuss your family medical history with you in detail during your medical consultation.
Questions? Read our FAQs or contact our friendly team.