One of the options for treating male infertility, or for achieving pregnancy without a male partner, is the use of donor sperm. There are several indications for using donor sperm, including:
- Severe male factor infertility (low sperm counts, low sperm motility, or sperm that requires surgical extraction due to prior vasectomy or other conditions)
- History of poor or abnormal fertilization
- Arrested embryo development
- Male carrier of genetic condition in couples not pursuing preimplantation genetic diagnosis
- Serodiscordant couples (in which the male partner has an infectious disease, and the female partner does not)
- Single women, same-sex female couples, and transgender individuals
Donor sperm can be used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Patients using donor sperm will meet with Genetic Counselors to ensure an appropriate match, and also psychological counselor to discuss relationship and family dynamics, age-appropriate ways to disclose to their children how they were conceived and issues related to anonymity and possible search for biologic siblings in the future depend on the circumstances or if suggested by your physician. Our physician and nurse coordinator will help you through the process of choosing your treatment path and sperm donor.
Finding Your Sperm Donor
- Donor sperm can be used from a known donor, an anonymous donor whose identity is not disclosed, or an open-identity donor which gives your child the option to contact the donor after turning 18 years old.
- If you are choosing to use a known sperm donor, they must be screened by a licensed sperm bank prior to donation in accordance with federal law. They are welcome to attend your initial consultation but their presence is optional.
- If you are choosing an anonymous or open-identity donor, your RMASoCal care team will help guide you through the selection process. All prospective donors undergo rigorous screening of their medical and family history and have genetic testing performed to identify possible carrier conditions that could result in the conception of a child with a genetic illness. Anonymously donated sperm is frozen and quarantined for 6 months prior to availability for use to ensure the donor does not have an infectious disease.
Treatment with Donor Sperm: Intrauterine Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization
- Through an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle, oral or injectable fertility medications may be used to stimulate the ovary and promote ovulation. Alternatively, we can work with your own cycle and time insemination to your body’s natural ovulation. Near the time of ovulation, sperm is placed directly into the uterine cavity through a small catheter, in a short office procedure similar to a pap smear. A pregnancy test is then taken approximately two weeks later.
- Patients may also elect to use donor sperm for fertilization of eggs through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Here, donor sperm is placed directly with the retrieved eggs in the laboratory to create embryos, which can then be transferred to the uterus or cryopreserved for future use.
Take the next step toward your path to parenthood. Speak to an RMASoCal patient liaison today, 424.293.8841.