Donor Sperm; the Choice is Yours!

get the facts behind the donor sperm process

Why use donor sperm?

Using donor sperm is an option for women who desire pregnancy. Women who are single or in a same-sex relationship have the opportunity to build a family through donor sperm insemination. Heterosexual couples where there is male factor infertility may opt for donor sperm insemination as an alternative to more “high tech” fertility treatment options such as IVF using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Use of donor sperm is also an option to avoid having offspring with a serious hereditary disease if the male partner is a genetic carrier.

Where do I start?

Once the decision has been made to use donor sperm as a fertility option, the best place to start is with your physician who will refer you to a reputable fertility centre. Many fertility centres also have a self referral process. In Canada, there are strict regulations against paying sperm donors. As a result, most donor sperm used in Canada originates from the United States as there are no regulations against importation of donor sperm. Fertility centres are able to order donor sperm selected by their patients from commercial sperm banks to be used in donor insemination.

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Genesis Fertility Centre: An advocate for creating families, regardless of ethnicity

Genesis Fertility Centre: An advocate for creating families, regardless of ethnicity

Our medical director, Dr. Sonya Kashyap, responds to the National Post article published on July 25, 2014: No ‘prerogative’ to create ‘rainbow families’: Calgary’s only fertility centre bans donations that don’t match ethnicity.

There has been significant coverage in the media about National Post’s article addressing Regional Fertility Program’s policy which “restricts patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their ethnic background.”

Canada is well-known for its multiculturalism, our acceptance and celebration of all racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. This should be even truer in fertility science where choosing the right embryo or sperm should be done rationally and free of racial prejudice.

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The Globe and Mail: Alberta’s ‘most conservative’ fertility clinic restricting donations to patients of same ethnicity

The Calgary Herald‘s Jessica Barrett penned “No ‘rainbow families’: Ethnic donor stipulation at fertility centre ‘floors’ local woman” over the weekend. As a result, there have been lots of discussion and media coverage with regards Calgary fertility clinic Regional Fertility Program’s policy which “restricts patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their ethnic background.”

Our medical director, Dr. Sonya Kashyap, was interviewed by the Globe and Mail to discuss this subject. To view the article, please click here or the image below.

Dr. Kashyap also penned a blog post, “Genesis Fertility Centre: An advocate for creating families, regardless of ethnicity“, in response to the controversial policy.

The Globe and Mail

Fertility Food Friday: Grilled Vegetable and Farro Salad

Fertility boosting recipe by Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver


Recipe by Krista A. Parr

Farro is an ancient strain of wheat with a much lower gluten content and a much higher protein content than common wheat. It’s also packed with magnesium, zinc, iron, B vitamins and fiber; all important elements of a balanced fertility diet. With a mild nutty flavor and a chewy but firm texture, farro really works well in salads. Better than quinoa, in my opinion, because it won’t become soggy after marinating in the fridge with veggies and dressing after a few days. While there are many nutrients in this salad that are supportive of male and female fertility, its best quality may be that it sets you up for healthy eating success.  Once you have this salad in your fridge (it makes a very large batch!) it is a quick, healthy, nutrient-dense meal or snack that is ready to eat with no further preparation. It’s also versatile: bring to a potluck or picnic, serve as a side dish with whatever is going on the BBQ, or pack it for lunch on top of a bed of lettuce and an avocado on the side. You may wonder why the recipe asks you to melt butter to grill the veggies rather than simply drizzling on olive oil. Butter is a saturated fat which is not easily damaged by high heat cooking (ie. BBQ). Damaged fats behave like free radicals in your body, causing damage to your tissues. As a mono-unsaturated fat, olive oil is more delicate than butter and easily damaged by heat, light, and air. When you consume olive oil raw, it rewards you with numerous health benefits, but when you heat it (especially high heat like BBQ grilling), olive oil becomes a damaged, dangerous fat. If you don’t want to use butter, coconut oil is another great option for high-heat cooking.

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Reduce the Stress of Pregnancy with Restorative Yoga

Reduce the Stress of Pregnancy with Restorative Yoga


These days, more and more people are taking up the practice of yoga as a way to keep themselves fit and healthy both physically and mentally.

Yoga itself has long been lauded as bestowing upon its practitioners many direct and indirect health benefits from increased flexibility to reduced blood pressure, but is it safe to practice yoga during pregnancy?

Alan Kemp from in Vancouver is back to share some of his yogic and fitness knowledge with you.

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Meet Us Monday: Patricia Friesen, Nursing Assistant

Patricia Friesen, nursing assistant at Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver


My name is Patty and I have been working at Genesis for over 5 years. I am originally from Chile, but have lived in Canada for over 30 years.

My nursing background has been mainly Critical Care at Vancouver General Hospital, before moving on to work as a Nurse Administrator at a rural hospital on Vancouver Island.  After taking time off to stay home with my daughters and living in Tokyo for 3 years, we moved back to Steveston.  My experience of helping my Mom with her dialysis and her palliative care prompted me to get back to nursing.

I have embraced the challenge of working in such an exciting field such as Fertility Medicine. It gives me such joy when I get to talk on a personal level to new Moms and Dads who are so grateful their dream of a family has come true. I feel so proud to belong to a team so dedicated to helping create families.

When I’m not working here I like going to Zumba classes, walking our dog at the Steveston boardwalk and travelling when time permits!

Fertility Food Friday: Raspberry, Lemon and Mint Infused Water

Healthy, fertility boosting infused water recipe by Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver

Use whatever fruit or herbs you have on hand to enhance your water.

Recipe by Krista A. Parr

We all know how important it is to keep hydrated, especially in hot weather. But if you don’t love the taste of plain water, fruit and herb-infused water is a refreshing option. Use whatever fruit or herbs you have on hand, such as peach-lemon balm or rhubarb-lavender. It’s important to note that it’s wise to avoid drinking a lot of fluids while eating, so try to hydrate yourself in-between meals (leave a 30 minute window). This is because digestive juices in your stomach are diluted when you take in fluids with food, compromising the proper breakdown of the food and leading to poor nutrient absorption. One reason people may drink a lot of water with meals is that it is thought to make you feel fuller, leading you to eat less; this is a myth. You may feel fuller on less food at the time, but you’ll probably feel hungry again soon because your body is still craving the calories and nutrients it actually needs. So, listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat until your body feels nourished by the real, whole food on your plate. Hydrating with basic water or more flavourful beverages like this raspberry, lemon and mint infused water should happen during the rest of the day. Bottoms up!

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We would love to hear from you!

What questions do you have about ferility health, fertility treatments, and more

Over the past number of months for Wellness Wednesday, we have presented a wide range of topics to our readers. Now, we would love to hear from you! What have you liked; not liked? What would you like to learn more about?

Here at Genesis, we have a wide-range of knowledge, expertise and experience to draw upon for Wellness Wednesday topics.  Our scientific team learns about the latest developments in reproductive technologies such as genetic testing, egg freezing and advanced treatments for infertility. Within the Genesis team and our associates, current information is available regarding nutrition, dietary supplements and exercise.

Beyond science and the human body, infertility also touches the psychological, sexual and spiritual dimensions of the human experience.  Maintaining balance can be assisted through learning about activities such as yoga and pilates. In addition, the Genesis team can provide information to support psychological coping with the stress of infertility.

Please do take the time to let us know your thoughts and ideas; they would be so appreciated. Once we hear from our readers, the Genesis team will be hard at work presenting Wellness Wednesday topics that are of interest and benefit to you!


IVF Success Rates: What Do They Mean?

Our medical director, Dr. Sonya Kashyap, responses to the National Post article published on June 22, 2014: The fertility clinic guessing game: Canadians have no way to find out success rates of pricey IVF treatments.

IVF success rates: What do they mean?

IVF success rates: What do they mean? (Photo Credit:

In 2013, Genesis Fertility Centre became the first and only clinic in Canada to have independently verified success rates. Our success rates are some of the best in North America due to our attention to detail, dedication and consistency.  We also have introduced the newest and advanced technologies, such as egg and embryo vitrification; comprehensive chromosomal screening; and trophectoderm biopsy which are among the services we provide that can assist with increasing the chance of conception.

I believe we have a responsibility to make the process as transparent as possible for patients. This includes reporting success rates in terms of a denominator, be it cycle started or embryo transfer, and also in terms of differentiating between biochemical, clinical and live birth rates.  In addition, we see the importance of identifying separate categories for success rates per frozen embryo versus those which are screened for chromosomal abnormalities.

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Wellness Wednesday: The Goodness of Mineral Make-Up

By: Carla Bondoc

makeup, toxins and fertility health

Mineral Make-Up (Photo Credit: Carla Bondoc, Prettier in Green)

It’s no secret that the body absorbs chemicals through the skin, so whether you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, choosing healthier skin care products is key. Mineral make-up, with its “cleaner”, non-toxic ingredients, is one option.

The history of mineral make-up dates back in time where many ancient cultures used ground up natural minerals as means of applying color to the skin, camouflaging and using it as war paints. Today, the talk about mineral make-up is everywhere. Many more people are switching to using mineral make-up as the interest in safe, natural and organic products is increasing.

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