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.
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 the locally based Seattle 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.