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.

Is donor sperm safe?

Commercial sperm banks routinely screen sperm donors for sexually transmitted diseases and a large number of hereditary diseases. In addition, sperm donors are required to have a physical examination and provide a complete medical history. Screening of each sperm donor is typically updated every six months. Commercial sperm banks generally provide a complete list of all sperm donor testing done.

How do I select donor sperm?

This can be the most difficult part. Choosing donor sperm is extremely personal, individual and private. Commercial sperm banks usually provide several different levels of information. Some people may decide they only want to know the basics such as race, ethnicity, hair colour, height and blood type. Others may want more personal information about the sperm donor such as education, religion, hobbies, interests, family traits and occupation. And there are some people who when choosing donor sperm want to know absolutely everything about the sperm donor. Some commercial sperm banks provide handwriting samples, photos, audio or video recordings to assist with the selection of donor sperm. Fertility centres typically do not advise patients regarding the selection of donor sperm, respecting that it is a very personal decision.

Do you have an experience to share?

Many questions come to mind when thinking about choosing donor sperm. What is important to you? How much information do you need when making a selection? What helped you make that all important decision? Let us know your thoughts!