Many pathways to creating a family, or helping others create theirs

“A lot of gay men think they can’t be sperm donors.” said Belinda Wooffitt the Donor Coordinator at Fertility North. “Because they can’t be blood donors, they think they also can’t be sperm donors, but they can.”

Helping people who want to have children by becoming a sperm donor is something that many men from different backgrounds have signed up to do.

Wooffitt said that she’d encountered many gay men who volunteer because they wanted to be a part of something.

Becoming a sperm donor isn’t something people undertake lightly, it involves counselling and even once you sign up there is a six month ‘cooling off’ period before a donation can be assigned to a prospective family.

Ultimately one donor’s contribution could go on to create up to five separate families.

Dr Melanie Walls, Fertility North’s Scientific Director said that while sperm donation was a relatively simple process, egg donation was more complex.

“Unfortunately, freezing eggs is a lot more difficult that freezing sperm, it involves hormonal stimulation” Dr Walls explained.

While usually one egg would be released in a menstrual cycle, the hormonal treatment allows doctors to access several eggs at once.

Dr Walls said there were many reasons that women may choose to freeze their eggs, ranging from providing a donation to another family, to delaying having a family of their own, and in some cases due to illness that may affect their fertility.

“Sometimes it hard to think about freezing eggs in your early twenties”, Dr Walls said, “But it’s actually the best time to do it.”

Dr Walls suggested that preserving eggs, or sperm, is something that should be considered by people who are transgender who may want to have children from their own biological material later in life.

Embryologist/Andrologist Kate Reynolds, who is a member of the LGBTI community, told OUTinPerth that she hoped that everyone could see how passionate the whole team at Fertility North are about their work, whether they’re behind the scenes in the lab, or upfront with the patients.

“It’s a safe space, there’s no judgement here, no discrimination.” Kate said, sharing that the staff are regularly undergoing training about diversity and inclusion.

Recently the ethical guidelines around donating were updated. Clinics can no longer accept donations from any donor who wishes to place conditions on the donation that would exclude individuals or couples from particular ethnic or social groups. Belinda Wooffitt noted however it was very unusual in the past for donors to make restrictions based on race, marital status or sexuality.

For people considering starting their own family, the team at Fertility North outlined there were many different pathways to creating a family, and everybody’s situation is slightly different. The best way to get started is to call up and chat to one of their team.

Fertility North is based in Joondalup, find out more about their services at

Want to read more about this topic? Check out these stories

Charitable Donations: read more about sperm donation.

Getting Personal: A young gay man shares his experience of becoming a sperm donor

Graeme Watson

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