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Question 32. Should I consider using a sperm donor to conceive?

Posted Jul 28 2010 6:14am
So first we had Snowmaggedon and the Gordon family was without power for six days and now we have experienced Summerggedon! Sunday afternoon an intense thunderstorm ripped through the Washington DC area and did widespread damage. Over 300,000 taxpayers were without power and that included yours truly. Fortunately the power was restored last night after more than 48 hours of pioneer living. Needless to say we were very happy to rejoin the 21st century. On the other hand, the simplicity of going to sleep soon after sundown and waking up early in the morning fully refreshed should not be underrated. Simple can = good.

This concept can also apply to cases of severe male factor infertility. Not all couples are prepared to go the distance in terms of IVF/ICSI with testicular sperm in cases of azoospermia. A few years ago I had a couple that came to me following a talk that I gave regarding donor egg. She was relatively young and he had extremely low sperm counts. They had already spent almost $100,000 on fertility treatments and were now considering donor egg IVF using his sperm. Apparently no one had discussed the use of donor sperm with them. They quickly decided that this approach made more sense and 3 weeks later she had an IUI with donor sperm in a natural cycle (not even clomid). She delivered a full-term healthy baby 9 months later. Total cost....about $2200. Not a bad deal!

So should you consider using donor sperm or as Lois (our former beloved front-desk manager) used to call it - "man in a can"? Well that is the topic of today's Question of the Day from 100 Questions and Answers about Infertility.

32. Should I consider using a sperm donor to conceive?

Couples who desire a child but in whom the male partner has a very low sperm count (oligospermia) or no sperm at all (azoospermia) often consider using third-party sperm donation and artificial insemination. Donor sperm can also be used by single women or lesbian couples. Many high-quality, reputable commercial sperm banks exist. They recruit and thoroughly test the donors and provide a listing of their available donors and their characteristics from which the couple can then choose. The donated sperm is obtained from the donor, tested, and quarantined for at least 6 months at the sperm bank. The donors are then retested to ensure that they are still free from any sexually transmitted diseases.

The specimen is released for use only after the tests results confirm the donor is free from any infection. The frozen sperm is then shipped to the physician’s office, and artificial insemination is performed around the time of the woman’s ovulation. Placement of the sperm inside the uterus (IUI) results in better pregnancy rates than placement of the sperm in the vagina or cervix. Frozen donor sperm can also be used for more advanced fertility procedures such as gonadotropin/IUI or IVF with or without ICSI. If a woman wishes to use sperm from a known donor with whom she does not have a physical relationship, then the sperm may need to be quarantined for at least 6 months and the donor retested for infectious diseases before the specimen can be used for fertility treatments.
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