Treatments & Options - Donor Sperm - Procedures

In this section, we outline the procedures involved in getting pregnant with donor sperm. You will need to decide whether you want to use a sperm donor you know or whether you will want to visit a sperm bank and use sperm from an anonymous donor. Once your donor is selected, you may choose to move forward with artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help you conceive.

How to choose a donor
Donor sperm from an anonymous donor may be right for you. Individuals that choose to work with a sperm bank will be able to screen sperm donors based on the following characteristics:

  • Appearance and ethnicity
  • Career and education
  • Health and medical records

There are strict guidelines on donor sperm from sperm banks, regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Donor sperm samples are screened for a large number of viruses and genetic health conditions, including HIV. After screening, donor sperm samples are quarantined and frozen for six months before use. Before the sample is used, the donor should be retested for HIV and to make sure there are no health concerns.

Working with someone you know
Perhaps you prefer to work with a donor that you know. If you do, make sure to check into your state's laws concerning donor insemination. Paternity laws may apply in some states and you will want to know each person's legal rights concerning the child. If you use a known donor, check with an attorney to see what legal steps you may need to take during the process.

Getting pregnant
Once you have secured your donor sperm sample and are ready to begin, you may choose to become pregnant via insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some women also choose to do the process at home, although sperm donations from sperm banks may require that you receive the sample in the fertility clinic office, most likely using artificial insemination.

Discuss your feelings about using donor sperm openly. Before you begin the donor sperm process, you may want to visit a counselor with your partner. Many emotions can arise when becoming pregnant with donor sperm, and it could help you to talk about any feelings or concerns that you may have. 

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