Sperm donation helps couples who are unable to achieve conception on their own. Sperm donation allows a woman to be impregnated when her male partner produces unviable or insufficient sperm.
Sperm Donor Candidates
Though on the surface sperm donation may seem like a simple
procedure, it is actually quite arduous. Only about 5 percent of applicants are
accepted by a sperm bank to donate sperm. Grounds for immediate disqualification
for sperm donation include intravenous drug use, homosexual contact, and the
presence of certain diseases (cystic fibrosis, for example) in the applicant's
Potential donors who meet the initial criteria must then pass a thorough screening of their medical and sexual history, testing for genetic and other diseases, analyses of their sperm for count and motility, and investigation of a variety of other factors. Sperm donors who successfully pass the screening process may then have their sperm used to conceive up to 10 children.
Sperm Recipient Candidates
Donor sperm is an excellent option for couples that are experiencing male infertility problems such as varicoceles, low sperm count, and low sperm motility. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive without success, schedule an appointment with a fertility doctor. A physician can run diagnostic tests to determine the cause of infertility.
Donor sperm is also a great option for gay couples that want to conceive. Some couples may have an available sperm donor, while some couples choose an anonymous donor. If you choose an anonymous donor, most sperm banks will offer information about the donor, including characteristics such as height, weight, race, eye color, and hair color.This is similar to the information that is provided to egg donor recipients.
Once the donor sperm has been prepared, fertilization can occur via artificial insemination procedures (such as intracervical insemination or intrauterine insemination) or assisted reproductive technology procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection or in vitro fertilization).
The Sperm Donation Procedure
In the sperm donation process, the donor enters a private room and produces a semen sample into a sterile container. The sperm is collected and frozen in liquid nitrogen at -320 degrees Fahrenheit in a process known as sperm cryopreservation. It remains frozen until needed for donor sperm insemination.
Donor Sperm Insemination
Artificial insemination with donor sperm has been in use as an infertility treatment since the early 1900s. The procedure provides a safe, effective way to produce conception when male infertility occurs. In the insemination process, the woman's menstrual cycle is closely monitored. When an egg is released, donated sperm is brought out of sperm cryopreservation, brought to viability, and placed into the woman's uterus, where fertilization of an egg usually takes place. Recent refinements and advances in sperm donation technology have greatly improved this technique's ability to produce conception.
Consult a Fertility Specialist
If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving due to male factor infertility, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist to discuss your treatment options. Donor sperm paired with artificial insemination or assisted reproductive technology procedures may be a viable option for you.