The inability of a woman to conceive can be attributed to fertility problems in the woman or her male partner, or both. Donor sperm can be used when the male partner is infertile. It is usually indicated when a man produces little or no sperm, produces sperm that is not healthy enough to fertilise an egg or has genetic conditions that may be passed on to his offspring. Donor sperm are also being used when single women or women in a same-sex relationship desire a biological child.
Couples or individuals who have opted for this treatment can obtain sperm from a sperm bank or a known recipient. In either case, a thorough screening is of utmost importance. All sperm donors are rigorously screened by a thorough physical examination, review of medical history, history of genetic diseases and history of numerous infectious diseases including HIV, chlamydia, hepatitis, syphilis and gonorrhoea. The woman also undergoes a thorough physical examination, review of medical history and family history, and is screened for genetic diseases and infections. Hormonal tests are also performed to ensure that eggs are being produced.
The treatment process starts around the time of ovulation (release of egg from the ovary). You may also be given medications for the production of multiple eggs. Donated sperm are used in many fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra uterine insemination (IUI). If you are using donor sperm for an IUI procedure, the sperm is placed directly into the uterus or at the entrance of the cervix (neck of the uterus). For IVF procedures, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovary and combined with the donor sperm for fertilisation in the laboratory. The resulting embryo (fertilised egg) is introduced back into the uterus for implantation.
Various factors affect a woman's chances of becoming pregnant with donor sperm; these include the method used for insemination, number of inseminations per cycle, age and past history of pregnancy. The best chances of becoming pregnant with donor sperm are when you are under 35 years of age and have no prior history of fertility problems.