Donor insemination is a necessary process for all prospective mothers hoping to conceive a child with donor sperm. After sperm donors have been screened and the sperm has been deemed safe to use it can be artificially inseminated.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) uses donor sperm and it can also be used for in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
When to consider Donor Insemination
You may consider donor insemination in a number of circumstances including:
- Where the male partner cannot produce sperm
- Where the male partner’s sperm is of poor quality of low count
- When the male partner is at high risk of passing on a genetic, inherited condition
- You are part of a same-sex couple
- You are a single woman ready to have a child
All individuals considering donor insemination are recommended counselling sessions to help them understand and prepare for the process.
The Donor Insemination Process
There are seven usual steps to the donor insemination process:
The first stage of the process is for a tubal patency test to be carried out.
The prospective mother should then be tested for blood group, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and hepatitis B & C. You should also be screened for Rubella immunity and a full blood count will be carried out. Finally a hormone profile will be produced and assessed to check for any hormone imbalances.
At this stage a donor will be selected. This is only the case if you have opted for an anonymous donation and many fertility clinics will have their own sperm bank to offer you a selection of different donor options. There is no obligation to accept any donation and you may need to accept a wait if there is a shortage of donations at any given time.
This is where you sign the official documents. Both you and your partner, if you have one, will have to sign the content form which agrees to the insemination with donor sperm and also content to the disclosure of information.
Some clinics will now offer fertility drugs to boost egg production and prime your body for pregnancy.
Your clinic should perform a complete blood and urine analysis to find out when your body is most fertile. Some clinics will also carry out an ultrasound scan to ensure that no more than two eggs are ready to ovulate to limit the chance of multiple pregnancy.
The donated sperm will now be inserted into the womb using the IUI process. It’s a painless procedure for the majority of women although some have reported temporary, menstrual-like cramps.
A week after the donor insemination a blood sample is sometimes taken to measure progesterone levels and confirm ovulation has occurred.
From this point the only thing to do is wait and hope that the insemination has been successful and a foetus has been conceived.