Thanks to the advancements made in reproductive technologies, the need for sperm donors has dipped a bit in the last few years. With the invention of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), many couples who once had no hope of conceiving without a donor are now able to conceive. However, for others, sperm donation is still a needed and appreciated service.
Who Uses It
There are different reasons why a couple or individuals decide to use a sperm donor. Single women and lesbian couples who want children can take advantage of donor sperm to help them achieve the family they desire. In some heterosexual couples, the man is sterile and therefore unable to provide a sperm sample for IVF or ICSI. In other instances, the couple may look to use a sperm donor in order to avoid passing on a genetic disease or disorder that is carried by the male sperm.
Choosing A Donor
Couples and individuals wishing to use a sperm donor can either ask a friend or relative to donate sperm or they can purchase sperm from an anonymous donor in a sperm bank. Regardless of which method you decide on, it is strongly recommended that all people involved in the sperm donation process undergo psychological counseling. Being a donor to a friend or using a sperm donor in order to conceive can raise many questions and issues. It is important to deal with these concerns before proceeding with any fertility treatment.
Donors Are Screened
All sperm donors must undergo rigorous medical testing to ensure the health of their sperm. Donors are screened at the time of their donation for numerous infectious and genetic diseases including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and hepatitis B. Sperm is then frozen and put in quarantine for six months. After the quarantine period, the sperm is then evaluated again for many of the infectious diseases it was originally tested for. This is done because some diseases may take as much as six months before appearing in test results.
When deciding on a sperm donor, couples and individuals often make their decision based on the donor’s physical characteristics, ethnic and/or racial background, education level and career. Those people using an anonymous donor may also be able to read a profile on their donor and may possibly be provided with a photo.
A sperm donor can be used in IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI). If you are using an anonymous donor, then you will purchase the sperm from a sperm bank that will then send the sperm to your fertility clinic. The sperm will most likely be already prepared for insemination. If you have a friend or relative who has agreed to donate sperm, then the sperm will need to be isolated for six months before it is retested and prepared for IVF or IUI.
If you are using a sperm donor in your IVF procedure, you will still receive fertility medications to prepare your eggs for harvesting. Once retrieved, your eggs will be combined with the donor sperm and any resulting embryos will then be transferred back to you. For women undergoing IUI, the sperm will be deposited directly into your uterus around the time of ovulation. With this method, it is possible to do two inseminations in one cycle, thereby increasing your chances of pregnancy.
Success With A Sperm Donor
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a woman’s chances of conceiving through the use of a sperm donor. Your age, past history of pregnancy, method of insemination and number of inseminations per cycle can significantly impact the likelihood of pregnancy. Women under the age of 35 with no history of fertility problems have the best chance of becoming pregnant with donor sperm. Because it is possible to do one to two inseminations per cycle, women who fail to conceive after several cycles may be evaluated for fertility problems.
Costs associated with sperm donation and insemination can be as little as $500 or as much as $17,000. The wide range in prices can be attributed to the insemination process you plan to utilize, which fertility clinic you are being treated at and whether you use an anonymous sperm donor or someone you know.