Requirements of Sperm Donation and Who May Benefit From It
While fertility technology provides many solutions to male factor infertility, from IUI , IVF, and ICSI , sometimes even with all the fertility resources available, a sperm donation must be used in order to achieve a successful pregnancy.
If a male partner has low or no sperm, or if IVF and ICSI is not an option for a patient, sperm donation can be a valuable resource when trying to get pregnant.
Some couples also decide to pursue sperm donation if they have concerns about transmitting genetic defects to their child, instead opting to use the genetics of someone who has a healthy family history. Lastly, women who don’t have a male partner, like lesbian couples or single women who want to become parents, use sperm donation in order to build their family
Sperm donation is the use of sperm that is not from the male partner in a couple, and there are two different kinds of sperm donors that parents can choose from.
When an individual or couple chooses their sperm donor they are referred to as a “known sperm donor” or a “directed donor”. This chosen donor must be unrelated to the intended mother, and in many fertility cases is often a close friend or unrelated family member who does not participate in sexual intimacy with the intended parents.
A known donor must go through all the preliminary tests that an anonymous sperm donor must adhere to. This means the donor will undergo a semen analysis , be screened for STD’s, and complete genetic testing to ensure no genetic abnormalities of defects may put an embryo at risk.
These types of donors can be appealing to parents that want to have a genetic connection to the parent who will not be carrying the child (ex. A brother or cousin of the prospective father of the child, unrelated to the mother) or to parents that wish to have a personal or emotional connection to the donor by knowing their personality and background more intimately than they would if using an anonymous donor.
Usually, doctors will recommend that the sperm sample is quarantined for about 6 months while the known donor is tested again for STD’s. This is so prospective parents and their fertility doctor can be 100% sure there is no potential of transmission of a disease to an embryo or the intended parent once they become pregnant.
Because a known donor may have future contact with the child or children of the prospective parents, Fertility Doctors also recommend that a donor undergo counseling and psychological evaluation before completing a donation. Going through counseling will help the donor prepare themselves for any possible emotional effects that donating may have on them, and make sure that they are 100% psychologically equipped for their future involvement (or lack of involvement) with the child that is born using their donation.
Lastly, once screenings and preliminary tests are complete, the known donor and prospective parents will have to complete a legal contract . The contract will require the sperm donor to surrender all legal parental rights to a child or children that may be born using his donation. This step is critically important, and fertility doctors will always recommend it is drawn up between the parents, the donor, and an impartial lawyer to ensure no loopholes or missed information could put prospective parents legal parental rights to their child at risk.
Unlike a known donor, an
anonymous sperm donor is someone that neither of the prospective parents knows or has any contact with. These donors are acquired through official sperm banks, and can be appealing to parents that wish to have no contact or personal connection to the donor. Many prospective parents feel that this gives them more independence and closure when using donor sperm.
Anonymous sperm donors will be selected by the prospective parents according to certain criteria they are seeking out. This usually includes ethnic background, height, weight, eye and hair color, family history, education and even hobbies of the donor. This allows parents to select a donor they feel a connection to.
Like known donors, anonymous sperm donors that go through a sperm bank must also have their sperm tested, undergo genetic screening for genetic defects, in depth STD testing, and have their personal and family medical history evaluated to ensure any embryos that result from their donation are at low risk for diseases such as cancer.
These donors must be retested for STD’s 6 months after their donation. Their sample is released and available to the public only if they screen negative for any STD’s after this period. This long window is necessary as it may take up to 6 months for someone who has contracted HIV to test positive, and doctors want to make sure that there is no chance a donor could pass on diseases to the intended parents or an embryo.
Many parents may be concerned that simply anyone can donate sperm at a sperm bank, but they can rest assured that sperm donation centers are extremely careful and thorough regarding who they accept as sperm donors. The process of being selected as a sperm donor is often very competitive, as sperm banks aim to provide the highest quality donations possible for parents who use their services.
We know how confusing it can be during this step of your fertility journey, with paperwork and all the different options you have available, it can be hard to know what the right choice is for you and your family.
That’s why here is Fertility Finders we have a multitude of resources available to help you through the donation process. If you are seeking out sperm donation services, our staff is here to answer any questions you may have about this part of your fertility treatment.
To find out if sperm donation is the right choice for you, give us a call, or schedule a consultation today to begin taking the steps toward making your beautiful baby.