The main reasons to choose donor sperm are:
Severe male factor infertility
Although IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) lets us work with severely low sperm counts and/or quality, and with men who need surgical sperm retrieval for severe male factor including total obstruction (blockage in transport or storage including vasectomy patients or after failed vasectomy reversal), donor sperm remains a viable option as it is less expensive and usually easier. We can assess each couple’s unique situation and give you appropriate choices.
We have successfully treated single women with the same care that we extend to couples – if you have decided not to wait any longer to have a baby, we support you! Although women using effective birth control or not currently in a relationship are not technically “infertile”, we will offer appropriate testing for you to optimize the chances of success, including assessing your ovarian reserve (egg supply). Most women choose anonymous donors (see below). We assure you total discretion – not even your Ob/Gyn has to know any information unless you choose to disclose it.
For women with a female partner, donor sperm can be used for IUI procedures just as for single women, and if you need In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) this can also be performed with donor sperm. We are sensitive to your unique needs – we have successfully used known donors, for example if one partner has a brother who is willing to donate sperm to fertilize the other partner’s eggs, it can satisfy both partners’ desire to have a biologically related child. Anonymous donors are another option – you can choose a donor with similar physical characteristics (ethnicity, hair color, eye color) to you, or not – the possibilities are as diverse as the couples we serve.
For men with a male partner, we can use your sperm with an egg donor and gestational carrier. We have both fresh egg donors and frozen donor eggs available, giving you access to a wide range of reproductive options.
The IUI procedure
The IUI process involves washing and processing the sperm to enrich the sperm sample so that it takes up a small volume and contains more healthy, moving sperm and less dead sperm or immotile sperm (non-swimmers). Donor sperm is usually processed before it is frozen in vials in medium, and the frozen vials are then stored in liquid nitrogen. Once the sperm specimen is thawed and ready we can inject it into the woman’s uterus in a simple 5 minute office procedure. We perform a speculum exam just like a Pap smear visit, use a fine catheter to inject the sperm into the inside of the uterus, then remove the speculum and let you lay down for 10-15 minutes while the sperm are moving to the fallopian tubes. For most women the procedure is painless or accompanied by no more than mild cramping.
Why choose IUI treatment at Overlake Reproductive Health?
First, we will measure the donor sperm sample’s sperm count and motility accurately with every IUI attempt – so that we can identify donors whose sperm is not ideal for IUI treatments.
Second, we are the first clinic in the USA, and the only clinic in the Pacific Northwest, to use Electronic Security Tagging to track the sperm sample through the andrology lab where the sperm sample is prepared, to the clinic where we perform the insemination, so that we minimize the chance that you don’t receive the right sperm!
Of course we still write your name and the donor’s ID number on all of the containers, but this is an extra layer of security that we have provided for all our IUI patients since 2007.
Third, we offer unique financial options, including discounted package prices or credit towards IVF:
We are pleased to be the first clinic in the Pacific Northwest to make IUI treatment more accessible, with two new programs. The first is the Peace of Mind multi-cycle IUI discount program where you can prepay for three cycles of IUI treatment at a substantial discount. The second program, for couples who want to try to get pregnant with IUI before moving on to IVF if needed, gives you a credit towards IVF if the IUI treatment doesn’t result in a pregnancy. More details on the Peace of Mind IUI credit program.
Anonymous donors and known donors
Most people use an anonymous sperm donor. This safeguards your identity – you will never meet or know the exact identity of your donor, nor will the donor be able to contact you in the future, unless you choose to initiate contact, subject to the policies of the sperm bank concerned. We work with several of America’s leading commercial sperm banks to offer you a full range of donors, including California Cryobank and Fairfax Cryobank. Their websites allow you to browse potential donors, and Fairfax even offers face-recognition based matching.
We also work with Seattle-based European Sperm Bank USA, who specializes in “open identity donation”, where donors have agreed to at least one contact with any children born through use of their sperm, at the child’s request upon reaching the age of 18.
We can also work with known sperm donors, such as a friend or a family member who is willing to donate sperm. You will need a legal agreement with the donor, and we can recommend legal practitioners who are experienced in this area.
How is donor sperm tested to prevent transmission of infectious diseases?
Commercial sperm banks and infertility clinics are regulated by the US Government’s Food and Drug Administration or FDA (we realize that sperm isn’t a food or a drug but the FDA regulates everything from medical devices such as pacemakers to organ transplants). The FDA is concerned with preventing transmission of infectious diseases with donor sperm – including the most important potential risks, Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C) and HIV. All commercial sperm banks test the sperm donor for infectious diseases according to the FDA rules, then freeze and quarantine sperm samples for at least six months, then retest the donor for infectious diseases to make sure that the donor has not “seroconverted” to Hepatitis or HIV positive. Only after passing initial and repeat infectious disease testing can the sperm samples be released for treatment. Many sperm banks retest the donors at intervals if they continue to donate, and some exceed the FDA requirements with additional testing. All this ensures that the risk of acquiring a disease from donor sperm is minimized, and we have never had a case of transmission of an infectious disease by donor sperm at Overlake Reproductive Health.
For known sperm donors, we apply the same standards (testing, quarantine, and retesting after 6 months) as we expect from commercial sperm banks – if you have a known donor in mind, we are happy to see him first to get started on this process even before we meet you to plan your treatment.