“There’s a variety of reasons why people choose a sperm donor as their fertility option,” says Lone Bruhn Madsen, a genetic consultant at the Cryos International, the world’s largest sperm bank. “It might be a couple unable to get pregnant because of a problem with their own sperm that means it can’t be used naturally or in vitro. Very rarely, it may be that the recipient has a genetic disease they don’t want to pass on.”

A shift in the traditional family structure is another factor. Madsen points out that there is a growing tendency in society for people to live as singles, and that women can work for themselves and choose to have children without a partner now. “This is related to more women entering the labour market; it’s a general societal change that’s been developing over the past 20 years or so, but has accelerated tremendously in the past ten.”

 

Donor profiles

 

Cryos is a Danish company which supplies sperm donations to many clinics across the UK and internationally.

“We’re an international sperm bank with rigorous screening methods,” explains Madsen. “People considering this option can go to our website and explore the donor profiles, then they can ask their local clinic to purchase the sperm, which we send in by courier in a dry ice package or in a nitrogen tank.”

“A donation can completely change a person’s or a couple’s life. It’s an amazing thing to be able to help others achieve their biggest dream"
- Lone Bruhn Madsen

Most donors are Scandinavian, she says, though there are also donations from men from other countries who have come to live in Denmark. While it is legal for donors to be anonymous in Danish law, this is not the case under UK legislation.

“There are different reasons apart from legislation which donors have for choosing to be anonymous,” says Madsen. “It just means that anonymous donors are not available to UK users.”

 

Rigorous screening

 

The advantage of going through a donor bank, Madsen stresses, is that a reputable company will be putting donors through a comprehensive medical screening, and also carrying out an examination of their family history.

“Donors are aged 18-45 and they are usually healthy, but if their family history shows they have an increased risk of a serious hereditary disease, they won’t be accepted by Cryos. We screen for the most common recessive diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, which may not be apparent in the carrier,” says Madsen.

Only a small percentage pass the medical and genetic examinations to become a Cryos donor.

A major motivation for many donors, Madsen says, is their desire to help others fulfil the dream of having a child. “A donation can completely change a person’s or a couple’s life. It’s an amazing thing to be able to help others achieve their biggest dream.

“As a consultant, it’s very satisfying to hear people’s stories and be able to help them – every time it’s a gift.”

 

“Worth it all”

 

It’s important for people considering the option to understand that a child born by this method will be completely their own, she stresses. Though you can choose certain donor characteristics such as ethnicity, eye colour, height and weight with the Cryos service, you cannot choose anything about the child.

“It would be impossible to make a ‘designer baby’,” Madsen says. “Some parents like to choose a donor whose colouring is similar to their partner’s, simply because it creates less questioning as the child is growing up.

“The important thing to remember is that the child will be moulded by the way it’s brought up – it’s all about the love you put into the process. Our job is to ensure the safety and health of the baby as far as possible. I’ve seen over and over that the treasure of being able to bring up a child is worth it all.”

 

Learn more

Cryos Denmark is the world’s largest sperm bank with more than 600 donors and the highest number of registered pregnancies. Cryos has 30 years of experience with supply to more than 80 countries. Cryos is licensed according to the EU-Tissue Directive, setting the highest standards of quality and safety. Cryos offers free and unlimited access to our donor search and high professional and personal customer service.

Cryos International – Denmark ApS
Vesterbro Torv 3, 5th floor
8000 Aarhus C
Denmark