Compensation, parental rights and more: How to donate sperm in South Africa

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"Here is a list of sperm banks in South Africa." Photo: Getty Images
"Here is a list of sperm banks in South Africa." Photo: Getty Images

Are you interested in the idea of donating your sperm? 

Sperm donation has become an acceptable option for couples or single adults longing to become parents, but unable for any number of reasons, to do so on their own.

Those who are in need of donor sperm may include couples facing infertility, LGBT couples wishing to start their own family or adults considering single parenthood through IVF or surrogacy. 

Sperm donors offer these prospective parents the most wonderful gift.    

Parent24 researched six large sperm banks in South Africa and gathered details on donor requirements and compensation options.

The process

Potential sperm donors face a rigorous selection process. First, an appointment is booked and then the screening process begins, consisting of questionnaires, blood and semen specimen screening, and screening of the donor's history.

A donor's family's genetic background, general health and lifestyle will be investigated, at no cost to the donor. A psychological screening process is also common. 

The sperm donation process typically involves two visits to the clinic a week, over about four months. Donors are encouraged to produce a specimen on site, but home options are available with some restrictions. 

A sample can be generated via one of the following options:

  • masturbation
  • a specimen collection pouch used during intercourse
  • through electrostimulation 

The ejaculate is then screened and prepared for cryogenic storage, where it may be stored for as long as 20 years. 

Numerous blood tests are required throughout the process. There are no health risks associated with sperm donation.  

Read: 'We had to carry on alone': Two dads advocating for same-sex parenting share their surrogacy journey 

Siblings 

There are sometimes restrictions on how many times one donor can donate sperm to different recipients. The number of times the same donor can be used is set by local law and is limited to six live births per donor. 

Some donor recipients may request the sperm donor not to donate to other recipients, so as to ensure they can have another child who shares the same genetic material as their sibling. These requests may be discussed and agreed to at the sperm bank's discretion. 

Read: Mom gives birth to 'miracle baby' after buying sperm online  

Compensation  

As per South African legislation, donors are not paid for their sperm. Nonetheless, a donor may be reimbursed a nominal amount to cover costs that might accrue, such as for travel and out-of-pocket expenses.

Some sperm banks offer compensation for "time and commitment" too.

A donor can expect to receive between R3 000 and R8 000 compensation for their efforts. 

Payments are only made if the donor was successful, after the process is completed.  

Also see: 'Not possible': Legal expert explains rules around 'multiple' surrogates in South Africa 

Parental rights

Sperm donors renounce their parental rights and obligations by signing a letter of permission that allows the bank to use the sperm for artificial insemination purposes.    

Sperm donors may express a preference for whom he would like to donate his sperm and include details such as the marital status, religion, sexual preference, and ethnic grouping of the family receiving the donation. 

South African law prohibits disclosure of donor and recipient identities, and the couples who make use of anonymous donor sperm have no right to learn the identity of the donor. They also may not look for donor-identifying information anywhere else.

Find a local sperm bank

Different sperm banks may require you to have a certain level of education or be interested in something that will add value to the intended family, such as having a degree or being proficient in sport or academics. 

Aevitas Sperm Bank situated in Cape Town, invites men between the ages of 19 to 37 to apply.  

AndroCryos situated in Johannesburg welcomes donors between aged between 21 and 35. 

Cape Cryo Bank situated in Cape Town, looks for men between 19 and 40 years of age.  

Medifem situated in Johannesburg encourages donors between 21 and 35 to apply. 

Vitalab Cryobank South Africa accepts applications from men aged 18 to 35. 

Wijnland Fertility Sperm Bank asks for donors to be older than 18 and younger than 40. 

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