Sperm is an important part of reproduction, and sometimes couples need a sperm donor in order to conceive.
what is a sperm donor?
A sperm donor is a person who donates sperm through ejaculation to a sperm bank or directly to an interested parent(s).
Sperm donors may be identified (directed) or non-identified however most sperm donors are non-identified. Non-identified sperm donors are typically young and screened extensively to optimize for sperm with health and reproductive potential.
Why use a sperm donor in IVF?
There are many reasons patients consider using a sperm donor. Some cases of infertility can’t be treated with IVF using partner sperm.
How do I/we find a sperm donor?
Mate has built partnerships with sperm donor agencies. These vetted agencies optimize the process of finding and screening excellent sperm donors which optimizes the health of the donated sperm.
The most important job of intended parents is to spend time thinking about what matters the most to them outside of genetic and medical health. Reproductive therapy and counseling is an important part of this process and can help guide you through these decisions.
Some intended parents may prefer to have a child from a donor with certain physical traits, educational background, ethnic background, or religious beliefs. It’s important to note that children are uniquely themselves and may or may not have the traits that may be apparent in the donor.
The more flexible you are on traits, the less time it takes to find a healthy sperm donor. However the goal is to be deeply honest with yourself and/or partner about what matters to you most, so that you can find a donor that works best for you.
What are some of the challenges of using a sperm donor?
Cost: IVF is already an expensive process and sperm donation does add additional cost. Typically, 2 vials of frozen sperm need to be purchased per IVF cycle. 1 vial of sperm typically costs about $1,000. Using fresh sperm creates more complexity like additional legal fees, reproductive counseling costs, and the additional cost of screening tests required by the FDA.
Time: Often, using donor sperm can add a few months to the IVF process. It can be stressful to wait. However, it is critical that each stage of the process receives the attention and time it deserves to be done extremely well.
Complexity: It’s important to understand that the reproductive journey is often a complex one for intended parents, however adding “third party” reproduction is adding another layer of complexity. Working with your reproductive psychologist to understand the nuances helps support patients before and after the sperm donation process.
What information is typically provided for intended parents
Egg and sperm donor agencies provide different levels of information about their donors, but often intended parents can see childhood photos, personal characteristics, or essays about the life of the donor. Some agencies provide counseling sessions to offer additional support navigating this process.
What are donors screened for?
Infectious diseases: The FDA considers egg and sperm donation to be similar to an organ transplant and thus requires extensive screening of the donors to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission.
Medical health: Donors are screened for medical health by a physical exam and blood work. This is to optimize health for children and to ensure safety for egg donors going through the egg retrieval procedure.
Genetic heath: Not all genetic diseases can be screened for, however, many can be. The goal of genetic screening is to decrease the risk of predictable genetic diseases in offspring. This is done by a review of genetic history and a blood test called expanded carrier screening.