THERAPEUTIC DONOR INSEMINATION
Couples whose infertility is due to a significant sperm abnormality in the male sometimes choose to undergo insemination using sperm from an anonymous sperm donor. In therapeutic donor insemination (TDI), the donor's sperm is inseminated into the woman's uterus at the time of ovulation, enabling the woman to conceive.
When is donor insemination needed?
Donor insemination is an option in a number of circumstances, including when the sperm count is very low, when no sperm are present, or when sperm repeatedly fail to initiate pregnancy. These circumstances stem from a number of causes such as the absence of sperm production, previous vasectomy, or residual effects from chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Donor insemination may also be used in cases where both the male and female are carriers of a genetic disorder or a female is severely Rh immunized and the male is Rh positive. Donor insemination is also an option for single women who wish to become pregnant.
GENESIS acquires cryopreserved (frozen) sperm only from reputable, licensed sperm banks. Semen is frozen in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C, where all sperm activity is essentially halted until it is thawed. After thawing, most sperm return to the pre-freeze motile and functional state. To insure safety, the sperm donor is tested for HIV and other infectious diseases at the time of sperm donation, and the sperm is then frozen for six months. The donor is retested at this time, and if the donor's testing for infectious diseases remains negative, the frozen sperm is made available for use. While this does not totally eliminate the possibility of disease transmission, it makes the risk extremely low. Sperm banks provide profiles outlining the physical characteristics, race, ethnicity, educational background, career history, and general health of each donor. In addition to screening for infectious diseases, donors are also screened for genetic abnormalities and Rh factor. Donors are usually between the ages of 18 and 40, have had a thorough medical history check and often have a history of proven fertility. Our clinical staff will provide you with the latest sperm bank catalogs and can assist you in selecting your donor if you wish.
The insemination procedure
Insemination of donor sperm is timed as closely as possible to the time of ovulation. The patient can monitor her ovulatory cycle by testing her urine for a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, which precedes ovulation. Usually inseminations are done on two consecutive days following the LH surge. The donor sperm specimen is thawed in our laboratory on the day of the insemination, and then it is loaded into a small plastic catheter. During an intrauterine insemination (IUI), the prepared sperm are inserted into the uterus via the catheter. An IUI is a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes and is usually painless. After a short time following the procedure, the patient can resume normal activity.
The decision to use donor sperm in order to become a parent can raise complex questions and concerns for people. As part of our caring staff, we have a clinical psychologist who will meet with you to explore these issues.