Selecting a sperm donor - Frequently Asked Questions

How will I be matched with a donor?

We will offer you all the donors we have available on the day of your matching appointment.

You may make requests for specific characteristics for your donor however due to the shortage of donors, we may not be able to fulfil your request, and this will significantly delay your waiting time.

It is important to remember that the characteristics you choose may not be the ones your child inherits.  There are no guarantees! There is some genetic information we know can be inherited such as eye and hair colour however there are many ‘environmental’ factors that are not scientifically known to be inheritable. 


How many donors do you have and how many will I be offered?

We generally have between 25 - 50 donors at any time in total that are fully screened and released for treatment use.  You will be offered a minimum of 3 donor profiles that match your ethnicity, the type of treatment you wish to have eg. IVF/ICSI or IUI and you will be matched to any restrictions the donor has placed.  For this reason, there may not be more than 3 donors available. On average, there are 5 – 6 profiles to view.

Our donor profiles are being viewed by recipients in all of our clinics across New Zealand on a daily basis.  For this reason, you will be asked to make your donor selection during the appointment at the clinic and sign your consent form.  You do not have to select a donor if none of the options are suitable for you.  If you prefer to delay your decision, this means that your preferred donor may not be available in the future, we are not able to hold donors for you.  

If you decide to wait for further options in the future, this is possible however it will significantly increase the time you may need to wait for a suitable option.


How are the donors screened? 

The donors are fully screened by Fertility Associates in accordance with Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee RTAC regulations.  All clinic donors have met with both a Doctor and a Counsellor and the stored samples have completed a three month quarantine period.


Am I able to view photographs of the donors? 

Sometimes.  It is not mandatory for donors to provide photos of themselves and it is for this reason we don’t have photos of all donors. You will also need to let us know if you would like to see the photos as we don’t routinely offer them since there are some recipients who do not wish to view them. The image/s  must be viewed on site at Fertility Associates with a staff member. We are unable to provide you with a copy of your donor photo (to keep) at the time of choosing your donor.


How many samples will I be allocated? What are the associated fees?


The amount of sperm we reserve is designed to give a woman aged 37 or younger at least a 75-80% chance of having a baby. 

  • Privately funded treatment  We offer two treatment pathways:
  1. IUI then IVF/ICSI - We aim to reserve enough sperm up to 3 IUI cycles and 2 IVF/ICSI cycles. This path is only suitable for donors with IUI quality sperm.
  2. IVF/ICSI - We aim to reserve enough sperm for up to 3 IVF/ICSI cycles. This path is suitable for donors with IUI quality sperm and for donors with IVF/ICSI quality sperm.  We strongly suggest the IVF/ICSI pathway for women 40 and older.
  • Publicly funded treatment  We aim to reserve enough sperm for two packages of treatment, based on up to 4 IUI cycles in the first package if you are not pregnant from the IUI.  If the donor’s sperm is only suitable for IVF/ICSI, then we will reserve enough sperm for two packages of IVF/ICSI. The Ministry of Health expects patients to complete public treatment within 18 months of starting.

You will need to meet with your Doctor for review if you are unsuccessful after your third cycle and wish to continue treatment.  Fertility Associates aims to keep an insurance pool for the majority of donors so it may be possible to continue with your original donor but you may be asked to select a new donor especially if you are changing from DI to ICSI or vice versa. 

Same sex female couples who are both wishing to use the same donor to each carry a pregnancy will each need to have their own individual donor allocation.  This is because donors consent to help a maximum of 7 recipients.  This ensures each partner in the relationship has their own allocation of donor sperm should the relationship circumstances change in the future. Importantly, it means the donor’s wishes for a maximum of 7 recipients is adhered to. The partner who is not having treatment first will need to sign a consent to reserve sperm for the future after selecting a donor. 


Storage fees

Depending on your type of funding, you will start paying storage for your reservation after 6 months (private) or 18 months (publicly funded) from the date of reservation.

Storage fees are $150 every 6 months in advance.


How much time do I have to utilise the sperm that is allocated to me?

  • Treatment must begin within 3 months of reservation.
  • The reservation is available for up to 2 years.
  • Donors consent to a legal storage period maximum of 10 years. Your donor may have donated several years prior to you selecting his profile.  This is usually due to a previous recipient returning samples to the pool.  It is very important to check how many years of storage are remaining when you select the donor.  It is sometimes possible to extend storage of donor samples beyond the 10 year expiry date but this is usually only granted by an Ethics Committee after you have had a baby or if you are storing embryos, to enable you to try to conceive a sibling child.  If your extension is granted, storage fees are applicable. 
  • If you have IVF treatment using donated sperm and you create embryos that are frozen for future use, then those embryos have a legal expiry date also. The expiry date is 10 years from when the donor sperm is frozen, not 10 years from when the embryo itself is frozen.


If I become pregnant, can I reserve sperm from the same donor?

Yes, providing there are samples available from the same donor.

We will write to you after 20 weeks of pregnancy to ask if you would like to reserve sperm from the same donor for future treatment for sibling children. 

Same sex female couples: Each partner wishing to conceive again in the future must have their own reservation as clinic donor sperm is reserved for individuals.  Individual reservation fees are applicable. If reserving an exclusive known / personal donor, individual storage fees are applicable.


What if I use all the sperm that I am allocated? 

Fertility Associates usually has an ‘insurance pool’ of donor sperm which may be available if you use all the sperm in your original allocation.  It is possible that you will not be offered any further clinic donor sperm in these circumstances and you may be asked to recruit your own personal donor.


I’ve selected a suitable Donor, what should I do next?


With regard to beginning treatment, you need to contact our nursing team and they will provide you with the next steps.


Can I transfer my Donor samples to another fertility clinic?

No.  The exception to this is when you have had a child with a clinic donor and you wish to transfer sibling sperm to another clinic.