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European Sperm Bank - things to me mindful of

(11 Posts)
Darkchoc Fri 13-Mar-15 09:13:12

As far as I know I don't have an fertility issues. I'm about to start IVF as I am single and without a partner, meaning I need donor sperm, at the grand age of 41. For me personally, having to use donor sperm feels pretty naff.

For anyone about to embark upon this route please be mindful of the process etc and don't buy into all this crap about the Vikings are coming. Believe you me, there is very little bloody sperm available even at the European Sperm Bank when you have to factor in certain criteria.

So I stupidly found 5 donors, all more-or-less, what I was hoping to find. I took a big sigh of relief as this took days to do and it is an emotional rollercoaster in its own right. Three donors seemed perfect. However, I had made the error of not selecting donor sperm available for shipment to the UK...upon doing this, only 1 donor remained...one at the bottom of my pick-list and no ICI was available for him. Just good old and more expensive IUI samples.

However, I was then told by my clinic that my donor would have to be cmv negative as I myself am cmv negative. Needless to say my remaining selected donor is positive so I cannot use him. What's more, nearly all the donors are positive, whittling down the number by a whopping 85-90%...this is the same for most sperm banks I believe.

Now there are no bloody donors at the ESB that match my criteria - I already have one child and need to meet certain characteristics so they look similar etc.

Also the ESB is very canny at adding on additional costs. It costs 429euros for one unit of donor sperm...two are required per IVF cycle (something my clinic only cared to tell me yesterday). It's 339 per ICI unit of sperm, but this is hardly available. Then with being based in the UK, they charge a whopping 900euros for something called a pregnancy slot. On top of that, it was 100euros for x3months of viewing extended donor profiles. Oh and 1 shipment is 275euros.

Cryos is no better as I discovered last night!! Seriously, we hear so much about a shortage of donor sperm in the UK, but the reality is that once we have factored in a) selecting a donor based upon certain characteristics, i.e blond hair, blue eyes, above 5.9, b) being cmv neg, c) sperm available for export to UK, d) sperm available as ICI, there is also a really limited supply of sperm at banks in Europe also.

Persipan Fri 13-Mar-15 15:55:45

My clinic has its own associated sperm bank, which made things a bit easier - though yes, when you have a few factors to take into account, the list ends up being fairly short. And the cost including shipping was £1k.

With you as a common factor do you not think any baby you conceive will end up looking pretty similar to the child you already have? Not knocking you choices, just interested in how others go about making that choice...

TywysogesGymraeg Fri 13-Mar-15 15:59:31

I really wouldn't worry about "matching" your DCs. Loads of siblings have different DAds, and mine, who have the same Dad look nothing alike.
Who's to say both kids won't take after you anyway?

If it narrows the available donor list, forget about hair colour, height etc and pick someone who's available x

Darkchoc Fri 13-Mar-15 20:16:31

Thanks for the replies and it helps to know that I'm not the only one using the donor sperm route. Sorry I wasn't clear, yes, I'm looking for a Caucasian donor, hopefully with the blond hair and light eyes (recessive genes) which both me and my little one carry as do both our respective families. But I am not obviously looking to use, for instance, an African or an Italian donor as their physical characteristics don't match my family, and the fertility clinic would not approve in any event as it is about 'matching.' Different issues/implications are thrown up when donor sperm is used.

TywysogesGymraeg good point about kids even with the same dad looking different...I can see that in my family and that of friends. In my case though, any child conceived won't have a dad, they will be the result of IVF with donor sperm and it's about creating a heritage for them which is as uncomplicated as possible and in that regard, bearing as much physical resemblance to my l.o and myself is the goal...however, the options for that are slim at present.

The problem isn't so much finding the right physical characteristics, the real problem is a) the sheer level of cmv positive donors, which I cannot use...the ratio of negative to positive is close to 1 to 10, and b) also whether the clinic ships donor sperm to UK. Whilst the sperm banks I mentioned earlier do indeed ship, they do not ship sperm from all donors.

Perispan I don't know if your clinic also charged you a fee for using donor sperm...mine charges an additional admin fee of over £300...and that is without storage. I calculated today that it would cost close to £2000 just to use donor sperm for one IVF attempt.

Thomo2014 Fri 13-Mar-15 21:07:43

Hi just wondering if you have thought of using Xytex- the American sperm bank. You may find that there's a wider choice of donor? My partner and I used them when we were going through our IUI cycle four years ago which resulted in our son, and we are now using the same donor for IVF. We found them really helpful. As for for your clinic charging £300 to use donor sperm- is that usual??Maybe we are just really lucky- our clinic is certainly not all about the money and don't charge for using donor sperm. Seems that sadly some clinics are just out to make money, as I said, our clinic is absolutely amazing so we are very lucky.
Good luck with it all x

Persipan Fri 13-Mar-15 21:28:12

Nope, it was just £850 for the sperm and £150 to courier it to the clinic (or something like that; it definitely came out at £1000, anyway).

juneybean Fri 13-Mar-15 21:31:15

Was coming to recommend xytex in America. I too am cmv negative and found a range of neg donors on xytex smile

Is there an actual risk of cmv positive if the infection isn't actually active? Are clinics just being overly cautious?

Persipan Fri 13-Mar-15 21:36:59

I think the risk is theoretical and very small - I'm pretty sure my clinic would have let me use a CMV positive donor if I'd wanted to; I just chose not to.

TywysogesGymraeg Fri 13-Mar-15 22:52:30

Sorry to sound dense- and I know you don't make the rules, but no-one tested me and DH for CMV before we conceived. Why is this such a big thing with IVF?

I still feel that if you're desperate for a child, you should put looks to one side. I think you're making too much of the "fitting in" thing.
Presumably the child will know how he was created when it's appropriate. And before then, I doubt it would even question why it had different colour hair to its mum. Kids don't notice these things.
It might notice different coloured skin, but eyes and hair - I doubt it.

There's no guarantee two blond haired parents would produce a blond baby anyway. How would you feel if you hold out to find a suitable blond donor, and the child still turns out to be dark haired?

Darkchoc Sat 14-Mar-15 12:57:58

Thomo2014 I think you are right about clinics not ordinarily charging for donor sperm. This has been a very steep learning curve...I assumed most did. But...I did tons of research yesterday re: other clinics and my money grabbing clinic is just that, money grabbing. I spoke with a good clinic in London and their fee structure is on a par if not cheaper than the one I am probably just about to leave and no they don't charge a 300 quid+ fee to use donor sperm. I will be going through Xtex today. I initially avoided xtex as rules on the number of donations from which children can be created are very lax in the USA and are not generally regulated/enforced. However, I'll be looking at their donors today and may even find a suitable one. Congrats on your son btw, that is absolutely fantastic smile and good luck for baby no 2. Do keep us posted.

Thanks Persipan I think your clinic is the norm on such fees rather than the exception.

Juneybean I believe the risks of contracting cmv is tiny but if it happened during pregnancy the congenital risks to the baby can be very serious...it's one of the reasons why we are supposed to avoid people with chicken pox when we are pregnant etc. My clinic has said I can only use cmv neg donors.

TywysogesGymraeg this isn't about me being picky re: looks of any child. This is about me prioritisng the welfare of any future child I happen to conceive with donor sperm via IVF. Both processes still have stigma attached to them and it is about having a child that looks as genetically part of my full family as possible. For that reason I would not consider, for instance, using the Japanese cmv negative donor currently available, or the African donor, who is also available. This is not about simply producing a 'blue eyed' baby. It's about having a Caucasian child....Where did I say btw that I am holding out for a blond haired donor? Don't simplify as it's highly offensive on a very emotive and difficult subject. Moreover, I am currently sat here without an order for sperm as most are cmv positive, or are not available for shipment to the UK.

You are right people are not routinely tested for cmv when trying to conceive naturally...nor are they routinely tested for hep or hiv etc etc. But IVF is a medical procedure and such tests are performed at the behest of the HFEA.

MarieLondon26 Thu 03-Mar-16 12:17:22

Has anyone used ESB lately?
I purchased two straws from them in Feb 2016 and they sent one straw below the required MOT and now they refuse to accept responsibility for selling sperm not properly tested and then sold.
It worried me as I got this news after my egg removal and waiting for the clinic to create the embryos. The other straw also did not have an expected high MOT as ESB claims to be selling MOT20.

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