Vind spermadonoren

Your A-Z glossary on donor sperm and fertility treatment

Having a baby with donor sperm involves learning a lot of new terms. On this page, you can look up the definition of unfamiliar words and abbreviations.


Many countries have rules regarding the maximum age that you can have fertility treatment as a woman. The age varies from country to country and in some countries there is also a distinction between the maximum age at which you can get publicly funded fertility treatment and the maximum age at which you can have fertility treatment that you pay for yourself.

In the UK, for instance, the fertility treatment regulator HFEA recommends that funded IVF be offered to women until age 42 whereas there is no recommendation or limit for privately paid treatment.

Other examples include Denmark where you can get publicly funded fertility treatment until you turn 41. If you choose to pay for it yourself at a private clinic, you can get treated until the age of 46.

Other countries such as Spain, Greece and Cyprus have higher age limits for women seeking fertility treatment.

AMH is een glycoproteïnehormoon dat wordt gemaakt door de granulosacellen in de eierstokken.

AMH-tests zijn voor de meeste vruchtbaarheidsklinieken de meestgebruikte methode geworden om de eierstokreserve van een vrouw te bepalen. Dat komt omdat het anti-Müller-hormoon wordt geproduceerd door de zich ontwikkelende eierstokfollikels (d.w.z. potentiële eicellen) bij volwassen vrouwen. De hoeveelheid en kwaliteit van de eicellen of zich ontwikkelende eicellen van een vrouw worden haar eierstokreserve genoemd. Een hoger AMH-gehalte betekent meestal dat er een groter aantal eicellen is, tegenover een lage AMH-waarde die duidt op een lager aantal resterende eicellen.

The term anonymous donor refers to a donor whose identity is secret to parents as well as the children conceived with his sperm. The opposite donor type is what is commonly known as ID Release donors where children can learn the identity of their donor when they reach legal age. Anonymous sperm donation is not allowed in many countries, among them the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

However, in many cases such donors are in fact not anonymous because there is often a lot of information about the donor available to parents and children. When combined, information about a donors blood type, occupation, nationality, education becomes identifying in a legal sense. Also, the term "anonymous" indicates that the donor is anonymous to the sperm bank which is not the case. That is why sperm banks do not use the term anonymous donors and instead opt for terms like "No ID release" or "Non-ID release".

Finally, the rise of consumer genetic tests and international DNA databases is jeopardizing the anonymity of sperm donors. This is something that is now discussed with prospective sperm donors in most sperm banks before they are approved as sperm donors.

Artificial insemination is a category of medically assisted reproduction where the sperm is inserted into a woman's vagina, cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes.

When performed by a fertility treatment professional, artificial insemination is carefully timed with the woman’s ovulation through hormone stimulation and ultrasound scans, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy.

There are several different types of artificial insemination, but the most common is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

Zie Dominant overervende aandoeningen.

Zie Recessief overervende aandoeningen.

Azoospermia is a medical condition where there are no sperm cells in a man's semen. The lack of sperm cells can be caused by several factors including hormonal imbalances, genetic abnormalities, or blockages in the reproductive tract.

Men with azoospermia are unable to conceive naturally. However, in some cases, the cause of azoospermia can be treated, so the person is able to conceive a child. Treatment of azoospermia is done through medical procedures and often in combination with assisted reproductive technologies such as ICSI.

Barnrett refers to the term and legislation previously used in Norway to ensure that a donor does not exceed the allowed number of children per donor. However, as of February 1st 2020, legislation in Norway has changed and Norway now uses the term Pregnancy Slot like most other countries. You can read more about pregnancy slots here.

CMV - short for Cytomegalovirus - is a herpes virus that is transmitted through saliva or body fluids. It is a common infection that most people get at some point in their lives and the majority of CMV infections are harmless.

You can read more about CMV and our CMV screening of sperm donors on our screening page.

The word cryobank typically refers to sperm banks, but it can also be a place for preservation and storage of other types of biological cells or tissue. The word ""cryo"" means ice cold or freezing and thus refers to the method of preserving the sperm cells at very low temperatures (see Cryopreservation).

Cryopreservation is a technique that preserves human tissue or cells by cooling them to extremely low temperatures. The prefix ""cryo"" means ice cold or freezing.

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular for people to use cryopreservation to freeze their own eggs or sperm to increase the chances of being able to have children later in life - what is also called social freezing. At sperm banks, cryopreservation is used to preserve the quality of donor sperm.

Drager zijn betekent dat je mutaties in je genen draagt die ziekten kunnen veroorzaken bij je kinderen.

We hebben allemaal mutaties of defecten in sommige van onze genen en deze mutaties kunnen genetische ziekten veroorzaken – bij de persoon met de gemuteerde genen of bij diens kinderen. Of iemand de ziekte ontwikkelt en ziek wordt, is afhankelijk van veel factoren. Eén daarvan is de wijze van overerving. De vier belangrijkste soorten genetische overerving zijn: autosomaal recessief, autosomaal dominant, X-gebonden recessief en X-gebonden dominant (zie de uitleg van deze termen elders op deze pagina).


A word used by some people for the children conceived with the same donor who are growing up in separate families. ""Dibling"" stems from a combination of the words ""donor"" and ""sibling"". Other terms include donor half siblings or donor-conceived siblings.

Een dominante aandoening ontstaat wanneer een kind één gemuteerd exemplaar van een gen erft van één van de biologische ouders. In tegenstelling tot recessieve aandoeningen zijn dragers van dominante aandoeningen zich vaak bewust van de aandoening omdat die in de familie voorkomt. De aanvangsleeftijd en de symptomen kunnen variëren binnen een familie.

De volledige naam voor dit soort genetische aandoeningen is autosomaal dominant overervende aandoeningen. ‘Autosomaal’ betekent dat het gemuteerde gen niet op een geslachtschromosoom ligt (XX voor vrouwen, XY voor mannen), maar op een van de overige 44 chromosomen.

Veelvoorkomende dominant overervende aandoeningen zijn erfelijke aanleg voor borst- en eierstokkanker (BRCA), de ziekte van Huntington en het syndroom van Marfan.

Donor profile refers to a collection of personal information about the donor. The range and depth of information varies from one sperm or egg bank to the next. In many cases, aspiring parents and donor-conceived individuals can read about the donor's hobbies, personality, occupation.

You can learn more about what kind of information we provide about our donors on the donor profile information page.

Double donation means using both donor sperm and donor eggs to conceive a child through fertility treatment. Double donation can be used in a variety of cases:

when both aspiring parents struggle with infertility

when a prospective solo mum is struggling to conceive (she will already be using donor sperm to form her family)

when avoiding genetic disease. People who suffer from a serious inheritable condition risk passing on the disease to their future child if they use their own reproductive cells.

In the last case, double donation is typically considered when the other person in the couple is struggling with infertility.

Bij vrouwen met endometriose groeit er buiten de baarmoeder weefsel dat lijkt op het baarmoederslijmvlies, de binnenste laag van de baarmoeder.

Endometriose kan ontstekingen en littekenvorming veroorzaken. Het is ook vaak een oorzaak van onvruchtbaarheid, omdat de weefselgroei verstoppingen in de eileiders of schade aan de eierstokken en baarmoeder kan veroorzaken.

In sommige gevallen kan het nodig zijn dat de persoon met endometriose een operatie of voortplantingsbehandeling ondergaat om een kind te kunnen verwekken, omdat natuurlijke conceptie moeilijk of onmogelijk kan zijn, afhankelijk van de ernst van de aandoening.

Many countries' legislation limits the number of families that a donor can help in that given country. This is also referred to as a pregnancy limit. However, because a donor can help families across borders, the number of families helped globally may exceed the number determined locally. There is no globally agreed-upon maximum for the amount of children conceived with a donor's sperm.

Get Started

Considering solo motherhood?

Join our free webinar and get clarity and support on how to start your fertility journey with sperm donation as a Solo Mum. Learn about donor options, treatment types, legal aspects, and emotional and community support access.

Try searching for a donor

Have a look at our donor search to get an idea of what the right donor for you might be. You can filter donors by height, hair colour, ethnicity and much more.


Genen zijn de basisbouwstenen van ons lichaam en bevatten de instructies voor groei en ontwikkeling en het onderhoud van lichaamsfuncties. Je kunt genen zien als het recept voor een mens of andere levende wezens.

Mensen hebben zo’n 22.000 verschillende genen in tweevoud, geplaatst op 23 chromosomenparen. De geslachtschromosomen bepalen ook ons geslacht. Voor mannen zijn de geslachtschromosomen XY en voor vrouwen XX. We erven één exemplaar van elk gen van onze vader en een ander exemplaar van elk gen van onze moeder.

Genetische screening is het proces waarbij de genen van een persoon worden onderzocht, meestal om een mogelijke genetische aandoening vast te stellen of om te bepalen of de persoon mutaties in de genen draagt die een ziekte kunnen veroorzaken. Er zijn verschillende soorten genetische screenings, waaronder: diagnostische genetische tests, dragerschapstests, prenatale genetische tests zoals de NIPT-test en screening bij pasgeborenen zoals de PKU-test.

With home insemination, the couple or woman using donor sperm to have a family carry out the treatment at home instead of at a clinic. During home insemination, you or your partner insert the sperm yourselves into the vagina with a small catheter or syringe.

The appeal of home insemination to many people is the fact that the treatment happens in the comfort of one's own home. Many like the idea of creating an intimate or romantic atmosphere at home instead of going to a fertility clinic.

It is good to know that home insemination is not allowed in all countries. Also, the chances of achieving a pregnancy can be lower compared to treatment at a clinic where insemination is carefully timed with the ovulation of the person being inseminated (see Artificial insemination for more information).

ICI, also known as Intra-Cervical Insemination, is a fertility treatment method that involves placing sperm in the vagina, close to the cervix, or directly in the cervix using a syringe.

With this treatment method, the sperm cells need to travel further to reach the egg than it is the case with the more common IUI method where sperm is inserted directly into the uterus (womb).

For ICI, you can use unprocessed sperm (also referred to as ""unwashed"" sperm). ICI units of sperm contain all the naturally occurring ejaculate fluid and cells. They have not been removed during a lab process as is the case for IUI sperm units.

Read more about treatment types on the dedicated webpage.

ICSI (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is an advanced form of fertility treatment where a single sperm cell is injected into the egg with a tiny needle. After the injection, the ICSI process follows that of an IVF treatment, so many fertility clinics consider ICSI a form of IVF.

Following the fertilisation of the egg, the growth of the developing embryo is followed for a few days, and if deemed optimal, the embryo is placed in the womb of the woman.

ICSI (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is typically used in cases of couples that struggle with severe male factor infertility or if they have had several failed IVF treatments. An ICSI treatment doesn’t require the sperm cells to swim well to reach the egg because only one sperm cell is selected and injected into the egg. For that reason, this method can be useful for men with low sperm quality who do not have the higher number of good swimmers required for other medically assisted reproduction techniques.

For the same reasons, ICSI is not used much when donor sperm is used for fertility treatment because the quality of donor sperm is so high, thus eliminating the need for ICSI.

ICSI is sometimes also referred to as micro-insemination.

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) is a very common type of fertility treatment where the sperm is inserted in the woman's womb with a small catheter and in this way bypassing the cervix. The method of Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) is much more simple and less invasive than IVF or ICSI treatments where eggs are fertilised outside the womb in a lab and then placed in the uterus if the fertilisation is successful.

IUI is often considered the first treatment option for couples where there are no known factors that could severely affect their fertility.

Other forms of insemination exist such as Intra-Cervical Insemination (ICI) and Intra-Vaginal Insemination (IVI). In these treatment types, the donor sperm is placed even further away from the egg, thus making it necessary for the sperm cells to travel longer to impregnate the egg.

For IUI treatments you use processed sperm (what is also referred to as ""washed"" sperm). Inserting unprocessed sperm (also known as unwashed sperm) directly in the uterus may cause an allergic reaction in the form of anaphylactic shock.

Read more about the most common treatment types on this webpage.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a fertility treatment in which an egg is fertilised with sperm outside of the body in a laboratory dish. Following the fertilisation of the egg, the growth of the developing embryo is followed for a few days, and if evaluated optimal, the embryo is placed in the womb in the hope of achieving a successful pregnancy.

IVF is commonly used to treat infertility caused by scenarios such as blocked fallopian tubes, male factor infertility, several failed IUI attempts or unexplained infertility. The process involves several stages including ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval (unless an egg donor is used), fertilisation, and embryo transfer.


"Known donor" refers to a person who donates sperm or eggs to someone they know. Typically, the donor is a friend of the person who wants a child. Choosing a known donor offers the opportunity of the future child having a relationship with the donor, but complications could arise later if the right arrangements and agreements are not made prior to conceiving the child.

Een karyotype is een visualisatie van de set chromosomen van een persoon. Karyotypen worden gebruikt voor chromosoomanalyse, een soort genetische screening waarbij de structuur en het aantal chromosomen wordt onderzocht. Het doel van de screening is om te bepalen of de persoon een volledige set chromosomen heeft met een normale structuur.

Aandoeningen zoals het syndroom van Down, het syndroom van Turner en het syndroom van Klinefelter worden allemaal veroorzaakt door een abnormale vorm of een abnormaal aantal chromosomen.

Een abnormaal gevormd chromosoom hoeft niet per se problemen op te leveren voor de persoon zelf. Maar als de afwijking via het sperma of de eicel van de persoon wordt doorgegeven, kan het vruchtbaarheidsproblemen veroorzaken met een hoog risico op een miskraam en ernstige problemen met de gezondheid, groei en ontwikkeling van de foetus.

Our blog

LGBT couple's search for a donor: From grey market to sperm bank

Hayley and Katja Schönberg considered using a private sperm donor - also known as a grey market sperm donor - before settling on using a sperm bank. Read about their journey on our blog.


Sperm morphology refers to a sperm cell's shape and size. Sperm morphology analysis is done by examining a semen sample under a microscope to determine the amount of abnormally shaped sperm.

MOT is short for Motile Total and refers to the concentration of forward-moving sperm cells in a millilitre of sperm. That is, how many ""good swimmers"" there are (see Motility for more information).

MOT is counted in millions per millilitre and donor sperm is available in several MOT concentrations. For instance, MOT20+ means that there are at least 20 million forward-moving sperm cells in a millilitre. The higher the MOT value, the more good swimmers per mililitre. However, it is important to note that MOT is not a quality parameter. It only refers to the concentration or the number of forward-swimming sperm cells. The quality of the sperm cells (their shape and ability to swim) is the same across all MOT types, only the amount of forward-moving sperm cells differs.

Donor sperm comes in multiple MOT types because different amounts of sperm cells are required depending on the fertility treatment you will be having. If you are doing IUI, most fertility clinics will choose to use MOT20 because the sperm cells need to travel to the egg themselves - compared to other treatments like IVF or ICSI where fertilisation of the egg happens outside the body.

Learn more about MOT here.

Sperm motility describes a sperm cell’s ability to move. A sperm cell needs to move in a forward-swimming motion to reach the egg during natural conception - as well as during several forms of medically assisted reproduction (for instance, IUI). Not all sperm cells move in a forward-swimming motion, and many cases of male infertility are caused by poor motility.

Some sperm cells move in small circles, others don’t move at all and then there are the sperm cells that swim forward – this third group possesses a quality called “progressive motility”. Sperm cells with progressive motility stand the best chances of making it all the way to the egg and fertilising it.

A No ID Release donor has decided that he doesn't want his identity to be revealed to children conceived with his sperm. Typically, that is the only difference between ID release donors and No ID release donors, although there can be slight differences from sperm bank to sperm bank in how they define each donor type.

In some places, No ID Release donors are also referred to as Non-Contact donors.

A Non-Contact donor has decided that he doesn't want his identity revealed to children conceived with his sperm.

See also the entry on No ID Release donors.

An open donor is a donor who has agreed to children conceived with his sperm learning his identity when they reach legal age - if they so desire.

In many cases, an open donor is the same as an ID Release donor, but there can be differences across sperm banks in how they define their donor types.


PCOS, of polycysteus-ovariumsyndroom, is een hormonale aandoening die voorkomt bij vrouwen in de reproductieve leeftijd. Het wordt gekenmerkt door onregelmatige menstruatiecycli, een overmatige productie van androgene hormonen en de vorming van kleine cysten in de eierstokken.

PCOS kan de vruchtbaarheid beïnvloeden door de eisprong te remmen of te verhinderen, waardoor vrouwen moeilijker zwanger worden op de natuurlijke manier. In dat geval kunnen geassisteerde voortplantingsbehandelingen zoals hormonale behandeling of in-vitrofertilisatie (IVF) nodig zijn om een kind te verwekken.

See Family Limits for more information.

The legislation that governs the amount of families to which a sperm or egg donor can contribute (known as pregnancy limits) differs from country to country. In order to ensure that pregnancy limits are not exceeded, some treatment countries require that you purchase a Pregnancy Slot. In other words, a Pregnancy Slot acts as a quota, so there is a fixed and limited amount of pregnancy slots.

A Pregnancy Slot grants you the right to use a given sperm donor for your family, so you can use the same donor for potential siblings to your first child.

Having a Pregnancy Slot does not guarantee you the availability of sperm straws from the donor. For that reason, it is a good idea to buy donor sperm when booking your Pregnancy Slot to ensure that you will be able to use the donor for your family.

Learn more about Pregnancy Slots here.

Een recessieve aandoening ontstaat wanneer de moeder en vader allebei een gemuteerd exemplaar van hetzelfde gen doorgeven aan een kind, waardoor het kind de aandoening ontwikkelt.

We zijn allemaal drager van een of meer genetische ziekten, maar de meesten van ons weten niet wat hun genetische dragerschap is – d.w.z. welke ziekten we in onze genen dragen – omdat de meeste dragers van een recessieve aandoening gezond zijn en geen symptomen hebben. Als je echter drager bent en kinderen krijgt met iemand die dezelfde aandoening draagt, hebben je kinderen 25% kans om de ziekte te krijgen.

De volledige naam voor dit soort genetische aandoeningen is autosomaal recessief overervende aandoeningen. ‘Autosomaal’ betekent dat het gemuteerde gen niet op een geslachtschromosoom ligt (XX voor vrouwen, XY voor mannen), maar op een van de overige 44 chromosomen.

Veelvoorkomende autosomaal recessief overervende aandoeningen zijn cystische fibrose (taaislijmziekte), thalassemie en spinale spieratrofie.

Need more guidance?

Book a free consultation

A fertility consultation is your chance to get in-depth, personalised guidance on your fertility journey or your donor choice.

Our service is free and comes with no strings attached. You can book a free consultation on this page.


Sperm straws are the containers that sperm is stored in after donation and potential lab processing. Sperm straws are small plastic tubes that are sealed before they are stored in liquid nitrogen. One sperm straw is enough for one round of fertility treatment (regardless of the type of fertility treatment).

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after having one or more successful pregnancies in the past. It can be caused by various factors including age, medical conditions and lifestyle factors. Secondary infertility may require fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or ICSI (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Unwashed sperm is the same as an ejaculate, meaning that unwashed sperm contains ejaculate fluid and cells. The only lab processes performed on unwashed sperm is the addition of a cryoprotective fluid, the filling of the sperm into straws and the freezing.

Unwashed sperm can be used for ICI treatments, but should not be used for IUI treatments as the injection of unwashed sperm into the uterus can cause a severe allergic reaction.


Er zijn veel verschillende soorten vruchtbaarheidstests die iemands vruchtbaarheid kunnen beoordelen of de oorzaak van onvruchtbaarheid kunnen bepalen.

Voor vrouwen kunnen de tests bestaan uit gynaecologisch onderzoek, bloedonderzoek om de hormoonspiegels te controleren, zoals de AMH-waarde, echografie om de baarmoeder en eierstokken te onderzoeken of hysterosalpingografie (HSG) om de eileiders te controleren.

Mannen kunnen een spermaonderzoek ondergaan om het aantal zaadcellen, de beweeglijkheid en de morfologie te beoordelen.

Bij daadwerkelijke onvruchtbaarheid kunnen mannen en vrouwen ook genetische tests ondergaan om vast te stellen of de onvruchtbaarheid kan zijn veroorzaakt door genetische factoren.

Het type vruchtbaarheidstest dat wordt aanbevolen hangt af van de individuele omstandigheden en kan een combinatie van tests omvatten.

Washed sperm is sperm that has been processed in a lab after donation. Prior to cryopreservation, the motile sperm cells are separated from the seminal fluid. One method of doing this is by using a so-called density gradient centrifugation. The sperm cells are then washed - that is, the gradient is removed from the sperm cells - and a cryopreservative fluid is added.

Washed sperm is IUI-ready, meaning that the sperm does not need further processing before being it can be used for insemination.

Bij X-gebonden dominant overervende aandoeningen is slechts één gemuteerd exemplaar van een gen nodig om de ziekte te doen ontstaan. In zulke gevallen wordt de ziekte doorgegeven van een moeder aan zowel haar zonen als haar dochters, terwijl de vader de ziekte alleen kan doorgeven aan zijn dochters (omdat mannen geen X-chromosoom doorgeven aan hun zonen). Ouders worden zelf getroffen door de aandoening.

Het syndroom van Rett en incontinentia pigmenti type 1 zijn voorbeelden van X-gebonden dominant overervende aandoeningen.

X-gebonden aandoeningen worden veroorzaakt door een gemuteerd gen op een geslachtschromosoom, in tegenstelling tot autosomaal overervende aandoeningen. X-gebonden aandoeningen treffen voornamelijk mannen of jongens, omdat zij maar één X-chromosoom hebben. Vrouwen hebben er twee.

Als een X-gebonden gen gemuteerd is, heeft de man in kwestie geen ander X-chromosoom om de verstoorde werking van het defecte gen te compenseren. Daardoor zal de eraan gerelateerde ziekte zich bij hem ontwikkelen. Vrouwen hebben twee X-chromosomen (en dus twee exemplaren van de X-gebonden genen) en lopen minder kans om de gerelateerde ziekte te krijgen, omdat ze nog een ander X-chromosoom hebben dat de defecten van het gemuteerde gen kan compenseren.

Voorbeelden van X-gebonden recessieve aandoeningen zijn hemofilie, de ziekte van Fabry en oogalbinisme.