One of the options for treating severe male factor infertility, or for achieving fertility where no male partner is involvedis artificial insemination using donor sperm.
Where Do Donor Sperm come from?
Donor sperm are obtained from reputable sperm banks that must meet strict standards imposed by Health Canada. Rigorous screening is performed on each donor before collecting and freezing sperm. The screening process includes a thorough family history, complete medical and social history, blood typing, screening for genetic disorders, sexually transmitted infections, and for Hepatitis B and C, HIV, CMV and HTLV. Potential donors are not accepted if there are any abnormalities detected in any of the screening tests. Furthermore, each frozen specimen is quarantined after freezing and only released for use if the donor remains free of any infectious illnesses for at least 6 months. Only sperm and banks that meet the Health Canada standards can be used for donor insemination in Canada.
How Do I Choose a Sperm Donor?
The sperm bank provides a list of donors available. Brief descriptions will be given of the donor – including racial or ethnic background, blood type, certain physical characteristics and/or certain social characteristics that may be important to you. More detailed profiles are normally available from the sperm banks on request.
Is Donor Insemination Safe?
Donor insemination is a very safe procedure, especially when no medications are used. Once a pregnancy occurs, it is no different to one that occurs naturally. The risk of miscarriage is not increased, remaining at about 15% for women under the age of 35. The risk of congenital abnormalities is also the same as would be expected for anyone conceiving naturally. However, if fertility-enhancing drugs are used there may be other risks, including multiple pregnancies.
Is Donor Insemination Confidential?
This is a highly confidential process. It is not necessary for you to disclose your participation to anyone. You will not have access to the identity of the donor, nor will the donor have access to your identity. You might or might not choose to discuss this process with your family, friends, or the children that result. These are some of the many issues that you should discuss with a counselor before starting treatment.