Donor insemination is a simple procedure that uses a syringe to placesemen into a woman’s vagina to assist her in getting pregnant. The semenis normally obtained from someone other than the woman’s husband or partner.
With the newer technology and success of the ICSIprocedure that enables a single sperm to be manually inserted intothe woman’s egg versus a complete semen collection, donor inseminationis becoming less common.
What is the process for pursuing donor insemination?
A couple pursuing donor insemination will go through a comprehensive orientationthat includes discussions of potential semen donors, methods of insemination,legal issues, fertility awareness, and self-exam. Fertilityawareness is discussed to educate the couple on identifying the besttime for insemination. Most fertility specialists will conduct a healthexam to insure that there are no problems prior to conception and that thewoman is healthy enough to carry a child full-term.
There are basically two types of insemination options: intracervical orintrauterine.
- Intracervical insemination(ICI): semenis placed inside the cervical opening and covers the cervix
- Intrauterine insemination(IUI): semenis inserted through the cervix and placed directly into the uterine cavity
Is donor insemination safe?
Donor insemination has been shown to be very safe. Donors accepted by spermbanks are required to present extensive family and personal medical histories.They are also given thorough medical evaluation that includes screeningsfor sexually transmitted diseases, the presence of HIV antibodies, and historyof genetic disorders. Pregnancy resulting from donor insemination carriesno greater health risk than pregnancy resulting from intercourse. Most reproductiveclinics have a 6 month “hold” on all donor sperm, so that it canbe re-tested for certain diseases/disorders before it is used by a donor.
What are the legal issues regarding donor insemination?
There should not be any concerns about parental rights. In most cases,sperm is obtained from a sperm bank and the donor does not have any accessto the woman’s identity. In almost every case, the donor has officiallygiven up his rights. In some cases, couples select a donor with a historyof donating sperm. In such cases, they can hire an attorney who will draftthe appropriate papers to give the couple full custody, as well as terminatethe parental rights of the donor.
In some locations, the child conceived from donor sperm might have theright to request identifying information when they reach their 18th birthday.
How successful is donor insemination in achieving pregnancy?
The best success rates of using donor insemination are in the cases wherethe woman is free of any fertility issues and under the age of 35 yrs old.If a number of cycles are done, these rates can be as high as 60-80% inachieving pregnancy. This number can be affected by which procedure is done,since the IUI has a better success rate than the ICI procedure.
What are common concerns related to donor insemination?
There are several things that couples should discuss regarding donor insemination.In most cases concerns focus mainly on what is best for each couple. Itis important to discuss issues such as:
- Your church’s religious position on donor insemination?Some denominations oppose donor insemination.
- The fact that the father will not have a hereditaryor genetic relationship with the child.
- That the sperm donor is often anonymous whichcan prevent the child from knowing their biological history.
- The secrecy that is often a part of donor inseminationcan lead to the feeling that something about it is morally or ethicallywrong. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, or fear.
- The child’s right to know and whether toreveal how conception has occurred.
- Questions about the child’s family likenessor absence of it.
Good communication is the key to addressing these concerns. Many reproductiveclinics will require that counseling be completed by the couple to ensurethat any and all concerns have been addressed and worked through. Some couplesmay find it challenging to reach the same conclusion. Consequently, thebest approach is to thoroughly discuss these issues before pursuing theinsemination procedure.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, http://www.resolve.org
American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), http://www.asrm.org