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Donor Sperm

Couples use donor sperm (DI) when the husband/partner has no sperm or a very poor semen analysis (azoospermia, oligospermia, poor motility), or when there is a genetic problem which could be inherited from the male. Single women who want a biological child also use DI.

One must be psychologically ready to proceed with DI. Most doctors recommend that any patients considering DI see a counselor who is skilled at clarifying feelings about infertility, and about trying DI. It is essential that both partners feel comfortable with the decision and that all fears and questions be openly discussed. For some, it may mean dealing with various moral and ethical questions; for others, exploring questions about donor selection and whether to be open about the decision to do DI and whether to tell a child conceived by DI how they were conceived.

  • Donor Selection

  • Information about a donor’s physical characteristics, race, ethnic background, educational background, career history, and general health would be available. Many banks provide written profiles about the donors they have available. Some sperm banks are open to providing non-identifiable information about the donor (even photographs) as well as providing a service for adult offspring to obtain information about the donor.
  • All donors should have tests for certain infections such as syphilis, hepatitis B, cytomegalovirus (CMV), gonorrhea, chlamydia, streptococcal species and trichomonas. All these organisms can be transmitted via semen to woman. Some can have grave effects on the fetus; others principally affect the woman. The donor’s semen should also be checked for the presence of white blood cells which can indicate an infection within the reproductive tract.
  • Donors are excluded from a donor program if he or his sexual partner have experienced any of the following: a blood transfusion within one year, a history of homosexual activity, multiple sexual partners, a history of IV drug use, or a history of genital herpes.
  • Before starting DI, a careful medical and reproductive history should be taken on the woman and a rubella titer, blood type, and antibody test for CMV should be done. If the woman tests negative for CMV, only a CMV-negative donor should be used. Some practices want to document normal ovulation patterns and many doctors order a hysterosalpingogram to document that the woman’s fallopian tubes are open.
  • The DI procedure involves inseminating the woman as close to the time of ovulation as possible
  • The highest success rates for DI are reported in women who have no infertility problems, are under 35 years old and whose partner/husbands have azoospermia (no sperm). Lower success rates are reported where there is a female factor (ovulation problem, endometriosis, DES, etc.) Or the woman is over 35.
  • Success rates vary from 60-80% but achieving pregnancy may take many cycles.

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