If you experience infertility due to a complete lack of sperm, you can often still achieve a pregnancy using donor sperm. You can arrange for sperm through one of several national certified sperm banks where donors are appropriately screened and the sperm is quarantined.
Donor sperm is commonly needed by:
- Single women
- Same-sex female couples
- Heterosexual couples with severe male factor infertility
Certified Sperm Banks:
What to Expect
The Donor Sperm Process
As with any person who undergoes fertility treatment at Shady Grove Fertility, you will need to have a basic infertility work-up. Additionally, you will need to meet with a social worker to discuss the mental and emotional aspects of utilizing donor sperm. Once testing is complete, you will meet with your physician to review the results and determine your course of treatment.
Selecting a Sperm Donor
You will select your sperm donor using the cryobank's website. Sperm donors are anonymous, but the donors usually provide a childhood picture. The donor database offers personal demographics (i.e., hair color, height, race, etc.), as well as essays written by the donor. Some cryobanks even offer voice recordings of interviews with the donor and information on what celebrity the donor looks like. In some cases, recipients can view if previous pregnancies have resulted from that donor's sperm.
In the case of a known donor (i.e., a friend or family member), you will still need to have an infertility work-up, as well as social work consultations. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a 6-month quarantine of the sperm sample period in order for the cryobank to:
- Test the donor sperm for sexually-transmitted diseases.
- Freeze the sperm.
- Release the sperm to Shady Grove Fertility.
After Donor Selection
After you select the donor and the quarantine period has passed, the cryobank sends the frozen sperm sample directly to Shady Grove Fertility, where we will thaw the sperm and analyze it in our andrology laboratory. From there, you will undergo an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle using the donated sperm. Additional frozen sperm specimens will be kept at the cryobank for future use.
Because donor sperm is already tested for quality, the success rate of donor sperm treatment is directly related to the age and ovarian reserve of the woman.
How can I ensure I receive high-quality sperm?
Shady Grove Fertility is very selective in choosing which cryobank to refer patients. For each of the sperm banks we recommend, all sperm donors go through a rigorous course of screening as required by the FDA—physicals, family medical history screenings, genetic screening, psychological testing, and a semen analysis to name a few. This is to protect you, ensuring that you will have access to the healthiest possible sperm.