Donor sperm can be used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. This sperm is sometimes obtained from a known donor, but usually it is obtained from an anonymous donor through a sperm bank. Donor insemination is the process of placing previously frozen sperm that has been thawed, washed, and prepared into a woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation. The donor sperm can be used in a “natural cycle” with IUI during which the woman will usually release one egg if she is ovulating on her own, or, more commonly, it can be used in conjunction with fertility medications that stimulate the ovaries to develop eggs and that trigger ovulation. In vitro fertilizatoin (IVF) requires sperm be placed around harvested eggs or injected into the harvested eggs to facilitate fertilization.
Patient situations that may require donor sperm:
- Single women
- Lesbian couples
- Couples where the male partner has no recoverable sperm
If you wish to use a known donor:
Women who wish to use the sperm of a friend or acquaintance are required to obtain legal counsel to avoid future conflicts with such an arrangement. They are also strongly encouraged to meet with a counselor to address questions that may arise in the future. Furthermore, they must abide by state laws that stipulate the testing of the male partner for specific sexually transmitted diseases and the quarantining of the semen for a specified time period prior to its use. In addition, patients may want to have their donor screened for genetic disease carrier status such as cystic fibrosis.
If you wish to use an anonymous donor:
The sperm banks make the process of selecting and using donor sperm easier by screening the donors for infectious diseases and genetic disorders and by obtaining necessary legal release of ownership of the sperm prior to its use. Sperm banks that we recommend include:
Note that a couple may want to use the male partner’s own frozen sperm in such cases as:
- Male partner who will be out of town around the time of planned insemination or IVF cycle
- Male partner with performance anxiety who wishes to have frozen “back up” sperm for IUI or IVF
We can prepare and store frozen sperm for later use in situations such as the above.