There a number of indications for the use of donor sperm. Donor insemination can be used when the male partner has severe semen abnormalities. The use of donor sperm for severe male factor infertility has decreased significantly over the past several years with the increased utilization of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) for the treatment of male infertility. Donor sperm can also be used if the male partner is a carrier or is affected with a significant genetic defect, and the couple wishes to avoid passing this on to their children. More commonly, donor sperm are used by single women or lesbian couples who desire pregnancy.
Insemination using donor sperm has been practiced for over a century. With the emergence of HIV-AIDS in the 1980s, donor insemination has been performed exclusively with frozen and quarantined sperm. Current guidelines recommend that sperm be quarantined for at least six months before being released for use.
Insemination is timed to occur at the time of ovulation. Blood work and ultrasound is often done to help pinpoint the opportune time for insemination, which can be done during a woman’s natural cycle or in conjunction with an ovulation induction cycle. The procedure is simple and is performed in our offices. A very thin, flexible catheter with the prepared sample is placed through the woman’s cervix into her uterine cavity. This very brief, painless procedure places all of the motile sperm in the uterine cavity, close to the entrances to the fallopian tubes, where fertilization typically occurs.