Who uses sperm donation?
Sperm donation offers you a way to have a baby if your partner isn’t producing enough healthy sperm for you to get pregnant, or he wants to avoid passing on an inherited disease. It’s also a great option if you’re having a baby alone, or with a female partner.
How does sperm donation work?
Donor sperm is used to fertilise an egg inside your body. This is known as donor insemination (DI). “The sperm are passed through a fine plastic tube that enters the cervix and extends into the womb,” says Richard Smith, Consultant Obstetrican. “As you’d expect, treatment takes place around the time you ovulate to boost the chance of you conceiving. And your doctors may suggest you take a fertility drug to increase the number of eggs you produce.”
Alternatively, donor sperm can fertilise eggs in a laboratory, using IVF. “This means your eggs would be surgically removed, then fertilised by the sperm in a lab,” says Smith. “Then the egg (now called an embryo) is then placed back into your womb to hopefully grow and develop.”
Where does the sperm come from?
Some couples choose to get donated sperm from someone they know. But in most cases, sperm is obtained and treatment is carried out at a registered or licensed sperm bank.
“If you use sperm from a registered donor, you have the peace of mind of knowing that they have been screened for infections and inherited diseases,” says Smith. “They will also have been carefully assessed for their suitability and their physical resemblance to you and your partner.”
Sperms donors are not paid for making a donation – they’re just trying to help couples conceive – and sperm from a single registered donor can be used to conceive a maximum of 10 babies.