Therapeutic Donor Insemination Information

Donor Insemination

We offer therapeutic donor sperm insemination as infertility treatment.  TDI sperm specimens are purchased from one of several commercial sperm banks. Our laboratory has vetted a few commercial sperm banks and we provide information about how to connect with those resources to purchase donor sperm samples for insemination.

Sperm banks screen donors for genetic and infectious diseases, like hepatitis, gonorrhea and HIV.  Donor sperm samples are frozen and donors are retested after six months to prevent disease transmission, see the sperm bank sites for details.

One of the infections that all donors are tested for is cytomegalovirus (CMV).  This information is displayed in the donor catalog or website.  CMV is a common virus, similar to the virus that causes chickenpox.  If you do not have immunity to CMV, using a sperm sample from a donor who is CMV antibody positive (either IgG or IgM antibodies) creates a small but real risk of CMV causing a dangerous infection in the newborn.  You may be tested to see if you have CMV immunity.  If you do not, we require that you select only sperm samples that are CMV negative.

In addition to testing for infectious diseases, sperm banks test donors for the genes that can cause illnesses like cystic fibrosis.  Many donors are now tested for several hundred recessive genes that may cause serious or lethal illnesses.  You may choose to be tested with an “expanded” test panel for recessive genes.

The state-of-the-art method for donor insemination is placement of the sperm sample into the uterus, called intrauterine insemination (IUI).  Sperm samples must be processed in the laboratory before this treatment.  That process is called “sperm washing.” You will select either an IUI or ICI (intracervical) sperm sample.  IUI designated samples have already been washed.  ICI samples have not been washed and can be done here in our laboratory. We encourage you to purchase IUI ready samples, it is easier for us and ends up costing you less in fees.

There is a less than 1% risk of developing an infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes with any IUI procedure (this is unrelated to testing for the various infections noted above).

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