One of the options for treating severe male factor infertility, is artificial insemination using donor sperm or, more commonly, donor insemination (“DI”) or therapeutic donor insemination” or TDI. DI involves placing cryobanked sperm from an anonymous donor in the uterus, at the time of ovulation.
Therapeutic insemination using donor sperm (DI) may be the treatment of choice in the following cases:
- When the sperm count is very poor or nil and the couple is not willing for IVF ICSI
- When it is not possible to recover sperm capable of fertilizing an egg as in primary testicular failure
- When the man is a carrier of an undesirable hereditary condition
Where Do Donor Sperm come from?
Donor sperm is usually obtained from reputable sperm banks that must meet strict standards imposed by ICMR. Rigorous screening is performed on each donor before collecting and freezing sperm. The screening process includes a thorough family history, complete medical and social history, blood typing, screening for genetic disorder, sexually transmitted diseases, and screening for hepatitis B and C, & HIV. Potential donors are not accepted if there are any abnormalities detected in any of the screening tests. Furthermore, each frozen specimen is quarantined after freezing and only released for use if the donor remains free of any infectious illnesses at least 6 months later.
How Do I Choose a Sperm Donor?
The sperm banks provide a list of donors available. Brief descriptions will be given of the donor – including racial and ethnic background, blood type, CMV status, certain physical characteristics like height, color of hair and eyes.
In the insemination process a speculum is inserted into the vagina, and the thawed, washed sperm is injected through the cervix into the uterine cavity using a special thin catheter (Called an IUI catheter)
After the insemination woman is be asked to lie quietly on the examination couch for 10-15 minutes, after which she is free to leave the office and resume normal activities.