Egg, sperm or embryo donation along with surrogacy are referred to as third party reproduction.
These these of fertility treatment options have opened a new door for couples, who otherwise were labeled as being sterile. Donor sperm insemination may be used to accomplish conception in a group of patients with appropriate indication.
Some of the indications for using donor sperm include:
- a male partner with low or no sperm
- ejaculatory dysfunction
- significant male factor infertility (failure of fertilization, male immune disorders or very low count and motility)
- when intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is not feasible or elected
- presence of a significant genetic defect or having an affected offspring
- presence of an ineradicable sexually transmissible infection
- severe Rh-immunized female with Rh positive male
- females without partners
The donor sperm IUI process
The female patient is usually treated with injectable medication (gonadotropins) to enhance the ovulation and the insemination is done on one or two consecutive days to maximize the chances of conception. It is important that documentation of fallopian tubal patency is undertaken in advance. The chances for conception are 15-20% per cycle and 85% overall (4-6 cycles), assuming there are no female factors.
The decision to proceed with donor sperm insemination is complex and requires a thorough discussion with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) and psychological counseling.
Sperm donor qualifications & testing
The main qualities to look for in selecting a sperm donor are assurance of good health and absence of any genetic diseases.
The sperm donor should be younger than age 40 to avoid potential problems with aging. Although establishment of fertility is ideal, it is generally not required. Using sperm from anonymous donors is much more common than known donors and both are acceptable as long as both parties agree.
Laboratory testing for sperm donors include serological tests for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea and chlamydia, cytomegalovirus, HTLV and HIV at baseline and are repeated at 6 months. Both anonymous and non-anonymous donor specimens must be quarantined for 180 days for appropriate re-testing to avoid any potential transmission of infection to the recipient. Therefore the use of fresh semen for insemination is not justifiable.
At New York Fertility Services, we work with a number of reputable, licensed sperm banks.
Selecting a sperm donor
Selection of a donor is usually made from a catalog or on line. Facts such as height, weight, eye color, hair color, hobbies and interests, IQ, blood group, family health history and educational background are usually provided. Some banks will give more in-depth information for additional fees.
Patients should consider whether they wish to purchase more sperm than they require for any particular cycle, in case they wish to have a genetic/biologic sibling in the future and the donor is no longer available. We will be able to store additional vials at New York Fertility Services and you should speak with Colleen Ryan, our Practice Administrator, to get the current fees for this service.
It is important to know that when we provide services to couples and individuals who require donor sperm treatment, we follow the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health and the FDA. Disclosure (informing the child) to the offspring is a personal matter, but is usually recommended so that the child will have good information about their personal health history. The main issue is that a consistent story is told to the child throughout its life, advancing information at age appropriate intervals.