Sperm Donors (Donor Insemination)


Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is the form of assisted reproductive technology wherein sperm are inserted directly into a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. For couples struggling with infertility, IUI can mean the answer to a prayer. In some cases, instead of using sperm from a woman's husband or partner, sperm from a donor is used instead.

Donor Sperm Advantages

The use of donor sperm offers several benefits to couples who are trying to become pregnant by means of artificial insemination.

Sperm taken from a donor allows a woman to experience pregnancy (as opposed to adoption), and allows the baby to have DNA from at least one parent.

For men who are experiencing male infertility due to poor sperm quality (i.e., low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology), sperm donation is a viable alternative. The use of a sperm donor is also an option for men suffering from no sperm in their semen (azoopermia), retrograde ejaculation (when semen enters the bladder instead of going out through the urethra during ejaculation), or genetic defects that may be transmitted to the child.

Finally, single or gay women who want to have a baby can use sperm donors.

Who are the Sperm Donors?

Anonymous Sperm Donation: All sperm donors must go through rigorous examinations and interviews and meet certain sperm bank requirements in order to qualify as a sperm donor. In addition to providing comprehensive personal and family medical histories and tests for genetic disorders, potential donors undergo screenings for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV.

Sperm donation candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 40, have excellent sperm quality, a healthy lifestyle, and no history of fertility problems. If they meet all of these requirements, donors are eligible to sign a contract with a sperm bank for a 6-month or year-long period. Donor sperm is stored in a frozen state.

Known Sperm Donors: If couples to choose to use a donor whom they personally know, they may be taking a risk unless the donor undergoes many if not all of the rigorous screening protocols required by an anonymous sperm donor.

Sperm Donation Legal Issues

There are many obvious legal concerns that must be addressed when using a sperm donor. The importance of hiring an attorney to review and finalize all legal paperwork cannot be stressed enough. The issue of highest concern is that of legal rights to the child (parental rights). In the case of anonymous donor sperm from a sperm bank, donors have no access to a woman's information and have already formally waived their legal rights to any offspring born from their sperm. When using a known sperm donor, couples are advised to make the process a legal transaction in which the donor terminates his parental rights and grants the couple full custody.

However, there are locations where a child who has turned 18 years of age can legally request identifying information of the sperm donor.

Other Donor Insemination Considerations

•- Religious positions on donor insemination

•- The child will not know their biological father and may never be able to access his information

•- Issues surrounding children's rights to know how they were conceived, as well as their biological history

•- The women's husband will have no genetic relationship to the child

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