The use of donor sperm can allow patients to succeed with pregnancy in cases where the partner’s sperm count is low.
Other scenarios in which donor insemination might be used include: treatment for a single woman/same-sex couple or if the male partner carries a genetic defect that he would not want to pass on to his children.
Sperm donors are typically less than 40 years of age to minimize the potential hazards of aging. Usually donors are anonymous (unknown), though occasionally a known donor might be used. A sperm donor has to undergo rigorous blood testing to minimize the risk of transmitting a communicable disease. Also, the sperm must be quarantined for a minimum of 6 months prior to use.
Sperm banks (where donor sperm can be found) typically have an extensive medical history on the donor as well as his family. It is common to obtain detailed information about education, appearance, hobbies, and interests about the donor.
The sperm donor will undergo an initial semen analysis to confirm that the sperm are of good enough quality to undergo freezing/thawing. If selected, the donor will produce further samples which are washed, concentrated, and frozen for at least 6 months. At this time the donor is retested for communicable diseases, and the sperm are only available for release if all testing is negative.
Donor sperm can be used for artificial insemination (where sperm is placed in the uterus around the time of ovulation) or with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Your doctor can help you to decide what treatment option would be best for your particular case.