Looking for a sperm donor in Singapore: what you need to know

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If a couple is unable to conceive due to azoospermia (a condition wherein the male partner does not produce sperm in his ejaculate), or advised not to due to genetic conditions such as haemophilia, opting for a sperm donation might do the trick.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to get a sperm donation in Singapore. In this article, we walk you through the different avenues that you may explore, and tell you all you need to know about looking for a sperm donor.

Sperm banks in Singapore

There are three hospitals in Singapore which have sperm banks within their fertility centres; these are Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National University Hospital (NUH) and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). While other private fertility centres do have donor insemination programmes, they tap on the same supply of sperm provided by these three hospitals.

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Is it easy to get a donation from a sperm bank?

Regardless of which hospital you visit, your chances of scoring a sperm donation are slim. All three hospitals see only one to two men donating their sperm every year, and demand for sperm donations vastly outstrips supply.

Why is this the case? Among other things, it takes a great deal of commitment to be a sperm donor, with donors having to make at least six trips to the donation centre over six months for screening and other procedures. On top of that, sperm donors in Singapore are not paid for their donations; they simply receive reimbursements for transport costs.

What if you can’t get sperm from a local sperm bank?

Couples who are unable to get a donation from a local bank may wish to look for a willing sperm donor on their own accord. If the couple is looking for a donor because the male partner has testicular failure, another option is to have this partner undergo microsurgical operation, and retrieve sperm from his testes.

Last but not least, couples can also choose to purchase sperm from foreign sperm banks. Including freight cost, couples can expect to pay between $2,000 to $3,000 for a single vial of sperm from a foreign bank.

Using an overseas sperm bank

If you would like to purchase donor sperm from a foreign sperm bank, you should speak to your fertility clinic or hospital about it, and let them make the necessary arrangements.

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Your clinic will provide you with a list of MOH-approved sperm banks, and you may choose a donor from there. Donors are identified with a code number, and you will typically get to access basic information such as the donor’s education and qualifications, hair and eye colour, and blood type. While some sperm banks do provide childhood pictures of their donors, you will not be able to look at a current picture of your sperm donor prior to making your selection.

Once you’ve chosen your sperm donor, your clinic will contact the sperm bank and verify if the donor’s sperm has been imported into Singapore before. If that’s the case, you will only be able to proceed with your purchase if this donor’s sperm has resulted in three or fewer live births. This condition is to reduce the possibility of half-siblings meeting and procreating in the future.

Assuming there are no hiccups, your clinic will go on to import the sperm for you. The sperm will be frozen in a cryopreservation medium so that it can survive the flight to Singapore.

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