Some patients fulfill their dream of having a baby through the use of sperm donation. There are a number of treatment protocols for using donor sperm, depending on each patient’s medical situation.
1. Natural cycle insemination timed by using urine ovulation prediction kits (OPK)
2. Ovulation-inducing pills timed by urine OPK or by ultrasound monitoring and a “trigger” injection to release the egg/s
3. Ovulation-inducing daily injections, ultrasound monitoring, and a “trigger” injection to release the egg/s
4. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) using donor sperm to fertilize the eggs
A CRM physician will discuss which protocol is appropriate.
Purchasing Sperm for TDI
There are two types of sperm preparations available to purchase: unwashed and prewashed. This terminology refers to the necessity of separating the sperm itself from the seminal fluid in the ejaculate before the intrauterine insemination (IUI) is performed in the clinic. If unwashed sperm is purchased, it must be “washed” before doing the IUI by the Andrology lab.
Donor Sperm for IVF
If donor sperm is being used for IVF, it is recommended that one unwashed vial is purchased. Some patients wish to order an additional vial of sperm in case the first vial provides a suboptimal number of motile sperm. For IVF samples, vials should arrive by Day 1 of stimulation, so they are available when the lab and physician are preparing the final sperm insemination instructions.
Safety of Donor Sperm
The Center for Reproductive Medicine (CRM), in accordance with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), uses only sperm that have been quarantined. This means that each sperm donor was tested for sexually transmitted diseases and found to be negative, donated his sperm which was frozen, then retested at a later date. Only after the second negative testing will the sperm be released for insemination.
Following a 6 month quarantine, there has never been a reported case of transmission of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to a woman from donor insemination.
In addition to STD testing, each anonymous sperm donor fills out a social history questionnaire. Any behaviors associated with high risk for STD make that potential donor ineligible.
Finally, each donor’s family medical history is reviewed, and each donor is often tested for selected recessive disease traits such as cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy, or other common genetic mutation depending on their ancestry.
Each sperm bank has its own protocols for genetic testing, and patients are urged to read this published information on the website of each sperm bank before choosing a donor. A CRM physician can provide a list of sperm banks most commonly selected.
Known donors need to use an FDA approved lab for testing, quarantine, and screening as per the FDA guidelines for IUI and IVF procedures.