Using donor sperm to get pregnant when you are a married woman is not as strange as it sounds. If you are struggling with severe male factor infertility, the donor sperm option is often worthy of consideration, depending on outcomes of fertility tests.

Currently, donor insemination is appropriate when you have severe abnormalities in your semen and/or reproductive system, which may be present at birth (congenital) or develop later (acquired) and in other situations. For instance, azoospermia (absence of sperm) can be due to a blockage. Alternatively, azoospermia can be due to testicular failure resulting from exposure to toxins like pesticides, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy.

If you are contemplating this, you are not alone. There are several couples that are using donor sperm through donor insemination when the husband/partner has no sperm or a very poor semen analysis (azoospermia, oligospermia, poor motility), or when there is a genetic problem which could be inherited from the male.

The first thing that you need to do before undertaking donor insemination is to find a fertility clinic who can oversee your process and cycle. The guidance and support during donor insemination will vary depending on your situation. For instance, you could have been trying to have a baby for a while, and this is your next step in fertility treatment, or you are just starting to consider building a family and donor insemination is your chosen path.

Choosing a sperm donor can be a major decision for you and your spouse, although the process can be simple and it can be complicated. It depends on your approach. Finding a sperm donor can be a lot simpler and a lot less expensive than finding an egg donor, but that doesn’t mean the decision to use a sperm donor is an easy one.  However, this may be your last option to have a baby, so a sperm donor is helping make your dreams of parenthood come true. 

The implications of using donor sperm are enormous. What it means primarily is that you’ll be choosing half of your child’s DNA, so if there’s ever a time to be picky, this is it.  For potential sperm donors, they will be helping you conceive your child. 

When looking for a sperm donor, you must have a lot of background knowledge. Simply put, a sperm donor is a man who donates semen, which contains sperm, to a woman or a couple who is trying to get pregnant. You can choose to use an anonymous donor or a use a friend or relative, who can donate their sperm directly. The donor can be single or married. 

Two of the most popular ways to get pregnant with donated sperm is via intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF). If you choose IUI, you have a good chance of success because it is cheaper, less invasive and has a shorter treatment process.

There are no significant health risks that are linked to sperm donation as long as the donor has been screened accordingly.  Insemination using donor sperm has been practiced for a very long time although with the emergence of HIV, donor insemination has been performed preferably only with frozen and quarantined sperm to allow for time to test the donors. 

The potential donor has to meet a number of requirements before he can make sperm donations. Men who want to become sperm donors, either with a sperm bank or via direct semen donation, have to undergo a screening process for a variety of hereditary and medical conditions. Only men who are not too old and are in good health are recommended to donate sperm and must not have a history or evidence of alcohol and drug abuse. 

Your sperm donor must compile a complete family and medical history and be tested for genetic conditions, screened for mental health issues and for communicable diseases including HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhea, and syphilis. 

Before you can receive donor sperm as a couple, the donor’s semen is evaluated for infectious diseases. Sperm banks do genetic and medical testing for their potential donors.

There are benefits to you as parents-to-be and the sperm donor. If you are a recipient of sperm donations, chances are much higher that you’ll be able to conceive. Generally speaking, sperm donors need to be healthy.  

Your sperm donor should be of legal age and ideally less than 40 years of age to minimize the potential increased risks of older male parents. Like egg donors, your sperm donor can be anonymous or known. It is important that both the anonymous and known donors undergo the same initial and periodic screening and testing process.

Before proceeding with donor insemination, you must be evaluated thoroughly for the causes of infertility with a comprehensive medical history and physical exam for both you and your partner. 

Insemination may be timed based the woman’s natural cycle or in concert with an ovulation induction cycle and should occur close to the time of ovulation. The procedure is relatively simple and is performed in the clinician’s office. 

A point to note is that, ultimately, pregnancy rates with donor insemination depend on many factors, including the age of the woman who is the recipient, and whether she has other female fertility factors such as endometriosis, tubal disease, or ovulatory dysfunction. In general, the monthly chance of pregnancy ranges from 8 percent to 15 percent.

Bottom line is that if you are an infertile couple with sperm issues as the cause, a sperm donation can help fulfill your dream of having a child be one of the options available to help in fulfilling your dream of having a child.

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