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Drawing of sperm

Sperm donation is used to help infertile couples, same-sex couples, and solo women to conceive children where otherwise it would have been impossible. Private sperm banks operating throughout the UK provide tested sperm from screened donors to regulated fertility clinics at different price points. Donor profiles displayed on gamete bank websites are the principal way for potential recipients to search for available donors. Once a donor has been selected, the recipient can purchase gametes for delivery to their clinic of choice. When donor sperm is purchased through a regulated bank, a family slot (for a maximum of ten families in the UK) is filled under the regulatory framework put in place by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

However, when donor sperm is purchased in the UK, it is not always made obvious to the patient that some UK donations will be made available for exportation to assist families abroad, beyond the UK ten family limit. For many parents, the discovery of exportation is an unpleasant surprise. Emily, a solo mother by choice through sperm donation, talks about her shock when...