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Donor Sperm - What do I need to know?
Junior Embryologist & Laboratory Technician
2020-08-09

Donor Sperm - What do I need to know?

Becoming a sperm donor at a donor bank isn’t as easy as you may think; in fact, it’s a highly selective screening process.

Initially, approximately 80% of applicants are rejected based on their sperm quality. This may mean they have a reduced concentration, motility or morphology of sperm cells or the sperm is unable to survive the freezing and thawing process that is required to store sperm prior to treatment.

A further 10-15% of applicants are rejected due to medical reasons, which takes into account hereditary conditions within the family, infectious diseases and screening for chromosomal abnormalities. That means only 5-10% of men applying get to become sperm donors, so you can rest assured that you are ordering some top quality sperm!

Ordering Donor Sperm

Choosing a sperm donor can be a quite daunting task but there is an abundance of information that you can access from the different donor banks. Each donor has their own specific profile, including information on their age, height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, ethnicity, occupation and medical and family history. The donor also has the opportunity to write something about themselves, why they are donating and a message to their future child. At the point of choosing a donor, you do not have access to their name and address.

However, in the UK all donors are open-anonymous which means that the child can access this information at the age of 18.

The process of ordering donor sperm at City Fertility is highlighted below.

Donor Sperm - FAQ

  • What is an MOT value?

An MOT value is a measure of sperm motility and relates to the number of million motile sperm per milliliter post-thaw. As a clinic, we recommend different MOT values depending on the treatment you are planning to proceed with (IUI – MOT20, IVF – MOT10, ICSI – MOT5).

  • Do I choose ICI or IUI ready sperm?

IUI ready means the sperm has been washed prior to freezing, where ICI ready has not. At City Fertility, we put the sperm sample on a gradient and wash to remove the cryoprotectant and any other unwanted cells or debris, so it doesn’t matter whether you select IUI or ICI ready.

  • Why is the donor CMV status listed?

We recommend matching with a donor based on their cytomegalovirus (CMV) status. Following a blood test, you will be told your CMV status. If you are CMV positive, you can match with either a CMV positive or negative donor as you have and will pass on the CMV antibodies to the fetus. However, if you are negative you can only match with a CMV negative donor, as it is possible (although very unlikely), that the donor could pass on the virus to the unborn child. This may sound troubling but is not something to be highly concerned with and can be discussed with the doctor if you wish to ignore these matching guidelines.


If you would like to know more information or begin the process of treatment with donor sperm, we will be more than happy to help, please contact the embryology team at clinic@city-fertility.com or on 020 8209 3226. 

Georgina Pool
Junior Embryologist & Laboratory Technician