Are the usual tests necessary when using donor sperm?
Dear Professor Winston,

My wife and I have recently started to look into having a child. Being lesbians it has been a very daunting task and even more so being told that we need to go to a fertility clinic. I feel as though the clinic treats us as we are infertile, but really we are just missing the sperm.

My wife’s dream in life is to have children, so she will be carrying. They had her go through the HSG test, genetic testing and in uterine pelvic sonogram. In your research or life do you think all this is necessary for two women together who just need sperm? And do you think it is better to try and conceive in a doctor’s office? I know this probably isn’t something you deal with often, but I thought I would ask. It has been an emotional ride lately, and as the partner I feel like a bystander most days at this clinic instead of being a part of the process.




Dear Kate,

I don’t think this question is within my remit. There are all kinds of ways of getting hold of sperm but you are asking essentially a political question.  Donated semen is in short supply which is why some women try other routes for conception, for example using self-insemination. But, whilst not ideal in your view, doing this through a proper clinic with a qualified doctor reduces any of the serious risks associated with the use of a “casual” donor.

I cannot say much more except that I think the Genesis Research Trust and its associated IVF clinic which it funded, was almost certainly the first clinic in the world to champion the needs and aspirations of lesbian women and our first treatments were almost forty years ago.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful

Robert Winston



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