Donor Insemination


Donor Insemination

Therapeutic Donor Insemination

Therapeutic Donor Insemination (TDI) is an option which can be offered to couples when there is a diagnosis of severe male infertility. It can also be used when a man with a serious genetic condition wishes to avoid the risk of passing that problem on to a child. TDI can also be used by women who have no male partner but wish to conceive.

What Is Therapeutic Donor Insemination?

In Therapeutic Donor Insemination, previously screened, frozen and quarantined donor sperm are inserted through a small catheter (tube) into the uterus (womb). Inseminations are performed at the time of ovulation. Ovulation is pre-determined through monitoring of the menstrual cycle by either daily blood testing or urine testing. Occasionally, couples pursuing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment will also require donor sperm. In such cases, the donor sperm is used to fertilize the eggs obtained through the retrieval process.

Who Are The Donors?

Bellingham IVF has a contract with Seattle Sperm Bank to provide donor sperm. Donors are men between 18 and 40 years of age. Donors are motivated to donate their sperm for financial reasons or because they have a desire to assist infertile people.

How Are The Donors Screened?

The sperm bank is responsible for recruiting, screening and testing the donors. The donors complete a medical and genetic history and a physical examination. Laboratory tests are performed on donors including screening for sexually transmitted diseases and some genetics testing. The sperm is frozen and quarantined for 6 months. The donors are then re-screened before the sperm is released to clinics. This is to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other diseases.

Why Is Frozen Sperm Used?

Freezing allows the sperm to be preserved while the donor is undergoing repeated screening, such as blood tests for HIV. It also permits the sperm to be transported safely to the clinic and stored until it is needed by patients. Freezing and storing sperm may also enable families to reserve sperm samples in order to have more than one child from the same donor.

What Kinds Of Information Are Provided About A Donor?

Written information about each donor’s medical history as well as that of his family is available. The donor also provides personal information about his occupation, education, personality and interests. Some donors voluntarily provide photographs and videotapes; however, the donor’s identity is not revealed to patients or clinic staff. Patients are responsible for selecting their donor from information provided by the sperm bank. They are provided with a written profile of their selected donor.

What Medications Are Used For Therapeutic Donor Insemination?

The treatment protocol is determined by the physician and is based on individual patient needs. Fertility medications may not be required, in which case the cycles are referred to as “unmedicated” or “unstimulated”. Alternatively, stimulation of the ovaries through the use of oral or injectable medication might be recommended.

What Is The Success Rate For Therapeutic Donor Insemination?

Success rates for therapeutic donor insemination are affected by factors such as female diagnosis, type of cycle, and a woman’s age. Success rates decrease with increasing female age. Therefore, participants should carefully review the program success rates for information about their particular situation. If there are additional questions, participants are encouraged to raise these with their program physician.

What Are The Alternatives To Therapeutic Donor Insemination?

One possible treatment alternative to TDI for couples is the use of more advanced technologies for retrieving sperm which can then be used for an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle. IVF treatment, combined with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may also be an alternative for some forms of male infertility. Another alternative option for family building which does not involve treatment is Adoption. The Bellingham IVF program offers resource information and counseling about these options.