What is sperm donation
Sperm donation is the process by which a man, known as a sperm donor donates his semen to a recipient with the intention that it be used to achieve a pregnancy and produce a baby in a woman who is not the man's sexual partner.
Pregnancies are most commonly achieved via sperm donation by the use of artificial insemination (known as AI or, where a donor is used, as donor insemination or DI), and less commonly by IVF, rather than by NI (or sexual intercourse). Artificial insemination performed at home is also known as home insemination. Sperm donation is a means of third party reproduction. Sperm donated in this way is known as donor sperm. A sperm donor may donate his sperm directly to recipient women, at a clinic known as a sperm bank or fertility clinic.
Who benefits from sperm donation
Sperm donation commonly assists heterosexual couples unable to produce children because of 'male factor' fertility problems, but it is increasingly used as a means to enable single women (termed choice mothers) and single and coupled lesbians to have children. For some clinics lesbian couples and single women may amount to 70% of those treated.
Where is sperm donation undertaken
Sperm donation is commonly undertaken at a sperm bank or fertility clinic, however home insemination is becoming an increasing common option for many single and lesbian couples using a known sperm donor or co-parent.
What are the risks of sperm donation
The main risk of sperm donation is that of acquiring an infection, particularly if using a known donor who may not have undergone extensive infection screening. Ensuring that the donor has undergone the proper infection testing will significantly reduce this risk. Advice regarding infection screening can be gained from your local GP or through a fertility clinic.
Along with the physical risks the other concern when using a known donor is the legal responsibility. Known donors may be seen as the child’s legal father unless legal donor agreements have been drawn up by fertility lawyers.
Other concerns include the issue of relationship problems. Not all couples will feel comfortable with the prospect of bringing up a child who they are not biologically related to. For this reason it important to discuss matters with your partner at length, raising any concerns before taking things further. Using a counsellor may be worth considering to clear up any issues before proceeding, this is particularly important when using a known donor.
What is the success rate of sperm donation
Success rates for pregnancy using sperm donation are dependent on many factors including the age and health of the recipient. For this reason giving an accurate estimation of success can be misleading. However artificial insemination by means of intra-cervical insemination (ICI) is no more or less effective than natural means of conception.
Generally, it is 10 to 15% per menstrual cycle using ICI, and 15-20% per cycle for IUI. In IUI, about 60 to 70% have achieved pregnancy after 6 cycles.
As seen on graph below, pregnancy rate also depends on the total sperm count, or, more specifically, the total motile sperm count (TMSC), used in a cycle. It increases with increasing TMSC, but only up to a certain count, when other factors become limiting to success. This shows the importance of the donor semen having a high sperm count and can be checked using a male sperm count test such as the Fertilcount male fertility test.
For those using IUI and IVF at a fertility clinic, the following information gives data for success rates within the UK for the year 2003-2004:
3158 women underwent a total of 7,350 cycles of treatment using donor sperm. (HFEA) Of these, 782 women went on to have a successful birth, resulting in a total of 825 children born as a result of DI that year.
The success rate depends on the age of the woman if she is using her own eggs. Statistics show that for women under the age of 35 the success rate is about 14 per cent, falling to 8 to 9 per cent for women aged between 35 and 39, and to 4 to 5 per cent for women aged between 40 and 42 (HFEA).
What is the cost of sperm donation
Although IVF is one of the most successful treatment procedures for those unable of becoming pregnant on their own, one crucial consideration to be made is the cost of the process. On average, it costs £1000 to £4000 per treatment cycle in the United Kingdom. This may vary from centre to centre and depends on a lot of factors, such as the number of IVF cycles performed; whether ICSI was used; if the couple is considering embryo freezing; and the cost of drugs.
In the UK some couples age 23 to 29 years may be offered up to 3 IVF cycles on the NHS, although the final decision rests with the local health authorities.
Can I get free sperm donation
Using a free sperm donor for sperm donation can certainly reduce treatment costs. A known donor may be used, this may be a friend or member of your extended family. However many women are increasingly looking for sperm donors willing to donate sperm by private arrangement. Using internet connection services such as Pride Angel provides an ideal safe environment to communicate through our internal messaging system. Once a known donor is found, fertility treatment can be undertaken at a regulated fertility clinic. Some women may choose to use home insemination as a method of conception especially in co-parenting arrangements. It is important that the correct advice is sought regarding health screening and legal agreements.