Choosing to use donor sperm can take a lot of thought to reach a decision. We hope the following information will increase your understanding of donor sperm and therapeutic donor insemination (TDI).
Donor sperm can be used in many different situations. Commonly, unwed women seek reproductive help using donor sperm. This includes women in lesbian relationships. Married couples often choose donor sperm to help build their families when other attempts to correct male infertility have not been successful or do not present reasonable chances of conception. In some cases, donor sperm can be combined with that of a male partner.
The two main sources for donor sperm include directed donors and donor sperm banks. Due to increased regulations and social considerations, we strongly urge you to consider using a donor specimen from a sperm bank. These specimens already meet rigorous testing requirements and will likely lead to a more cost effective solution in the long run.
Choosing a Donor Profile and Bank
There are several donor sperm agencies available. California Cryobank is one of the largest and most popular banks today. Cryogenic Laboratories offers another option as well as Fairfax Cryobank. Once you have selected a donor sperm bank you will need to contact the bank of your chosen donor. The donor bank will need to establish an account before you can order donor specimens. You will not need to have the specimens sent to our clinic until you are ready for an insemination. We will notify you of the date of delivery during your medication treatment. Since shipping is costly, we recommend that more than 1 sample is shipped at a time, however, please be aware that we must charge for storage in excess of 1 year. We also recommend using only anonymous donor sperm at a given time. Specimens will be marked for IUI (intrauterine insemination) or ICI (intracervical insemination). Please only select specimens for IUI as these are prewashed specimens. IVF patients may select ICI specimens as well since the sperm will undergo additional preparation before use. Most banks offer detailed information, audio recordings, photographs, and more. These items are usually provided at additional cost. Since this is anonymous donation, we do not advise you purchase these additional materials.
Preparing for Insemination
Inseminations can be combined with natural cycles or with medication and monitoring. You should discuss your individual situation with the doctor. Timing of the insemination will be related to timing of ovulation. We will help you get your insemination done when the time is right.
Insemination What Next?
Only frozen semen will be used since freezing allows optimal screening of each donor prior to the use of the semen. There are new FDA regulations concerning the screening and handling of donor specimens. Once thawed, the sperm will be ready for insemination. The insemination can be accomplished quickly with very little discomfort, similar to a Pap smear. A small catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The washed sperm is then placed into the uterine cavity. Mild cramping and light spotting is not uncommon. You will be able to resume normal activities after the procedure is completed and there is no need lie flat. Because the timing of the insemination has been optimized, repeat inseminations will not be performed.
Common symptoms after a cycle include abdominal bloating, “crampy” abdominal pain, mild nausea, and breast tenderness. Activity levels should be adjusted to the severity of symptoms. If not pregnant, the period following a cycle may be heavier than normal. Early pregnancy symptoms may mimic PMS symptoms so beware of interpreting the symptoms you experience. Also, the cycle between stimulated cycles may be longer than usual. We will draw blood for a pregnancy test 20 days after IUI if no menses. Once pregnancy has been confirmed, you will be scheduled for an ultrasound about 5-6 weeks after insemination.