Choosing to use donor sperm for intra-uterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), enables pregnancy in women who are single or in same-sex relationships. For other couples with severe, untreatable male factor infertility, or in the cases when the male carries a hereditary disease that he doesn’t wish to pass on, use of donor sperm becomes the treatment of choice as well. At Pacific NW Fertility, we accept donor sperm from a few, regulated and reputable sperm banks. Women considering the use of donor sperm should know that thorough screening is carried out and documented on all donor sperm samples available according to Federal Regulations. This screening is performed by the cryobank providing your donor sperm and typically involves a thorough family history, complete medical, social and sometimes psychological history, blood group information, genetic screening and screening for transmissible diseases.
As part of the regulated guidelines, all donated sperm must be quarantined for a period of 6 months to ensure that the donor still screens negative for infectious diseases such as HIV after initial testing. This quarantine period is also performed by the cryobank from where you have selected your donor sperm.
You will have the opportunity to select your own donor through these cryobanks. Catalogues are often available online, and can be requested by mail as well. Donor choice can be based on racial or ethnic background, physical or social characteristics, or previous history.
As part of the donor insemination process, all women or couples considering this option are encouraged to meet with a reproductive counselor. This is an important step in the process as it allows for discussion of the decision making process as well as consideration of the impact the choice may make on the individual or couple. We also advise that you consult with an attorney who specializes in the reproductive laws of Washington state.
Inseminations are performed early mornings, 7 days a week. Typically 1 insemination is performed each cycle to ensure the maximum chance of conception. It can typically take 4-6 months of inseminations to achieve a viable pregnancy. We would advise ordering several donor sperm samples in preparation for this duration. Any leftover samples can remain frozen for future use.
The intrauterine insemination process is simple and quick. Once you arrive in the clinic the day of the insemination, the lab will start to thaw the sperm. When it is ready, you will be asked to come into the exam room. Just as with a routine Pap test, a speculum is placed into the vagina to clearly see the cervix. The sperm is labeled with your identity which you verify for us with a signature. The sperm is then loaded into a small syringe with a soft plastic-tipped catheter. The catheter is passed through the cervix and into the cavity of the uterus, where the sperm is injected slowly. Once the insemination is completed, you will be asked to rest for 5-10minutes and then you carry on with your usual daily activities.
Success rates of Donor Sperm IUI:
Published rates of success in women under 40 years are about 10-15% per cycle. After 6 months of inseminations, about 50% of women are pregnant. After 3-6 cycles with no success, it may be important to consider some fertility treatments to maximize your chances in a shorter time period. Your doctor will discuss this with you during the course of your treatment if necessary. Once a pregnancy occurs, it is no different than one that occurs naturally in any other woman of the same age. The risk of miscarriage, or congenital abnormalities is also the same as others in the same age group. You will be asked to sign consent forms which include acknowledgement that a child born through TDI is considered to be the legal child of the mother, and her partner (if applicable).
If having future pregnancies is important, some women or couples choose to use the same donor. We can store multiple samples at Pacific NW Fertility for up to 5 years in these cases for future family planning. If you desire longer storage, we will be happy to refer you to a long-term storage facility.
Advanced Sperm Donor Screening with GenePeeks
By analyzing your DNA in combination with the DNA of potential sperm donors, GenePeeks provides you with a personalized catalogue of safer sperm donor matches. These matches are screened for over 500 conditions not included in the typical sperm bank screen.
For Pacific NW Fertility clients interested in donor sperm, GenePeeks provides a virtual catalogue of sperm donors from partnering sperm banks. After completing the GenePeeks analysis, you will learn which of these sperm donors are safer matches for your unique genetic profile.
To order the GenePeeks service for donor sperm, please visit www.GenePeeks.com/PNWFSperm
We have three beautiful children, all made possible through IVF at PNWF. We wouldn't change a thing about our family or our journey here.