What is it?
Insemination using donor semen is a well accepted method of treatment for certain infertile couples and has been practised in this country for many years. The donors are carefully selected. They are required to be fit and healthy and with no family history of hereditary disease. They must be fertile and every specimen of semen is checked before it is used to make sure that it reaches an acceptable standard. Donors are tested to ensure that they do not suffer from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis and Syphilis. The use of frozen sperm is mandatory. We try as much as possible to use a donor who has the same characteristics as the male partner, e.g. skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, body build and blood group. Under the terms of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act the donor has no claim on any child resulting from the treatment with his semen. If your partner has consented to the treatment (whether you are married or not) then he is regarded as the legal father of the child. This situation applies only to those resident in the UK. Both of you will need to sign special consent forms for treatment. The physical and emotional welfare of the child must be of prime consideration. This centre can refuse treatment if it is felt that these needs have not been taken into account.
Note that children born following donor insemination on reaching the age of 18 years (or 16 years if contemplating marriage) can go to the HFEA to find out whether they are related to someone they intend to marry. Since 1 st April 2005 the law has changed so that children born from donor sperm treatment are able to find out the actual identity of their genetic father when they reach the age of 18 years.
Who is it for?
Donor insemination is available to couples who wish to have a family but in whom the partner’s sperm is either unsuitable or inappropriate to fertilise an egg. He may have a very low or absent sperm count, or may have had a vasectomy in a previous relationship. A male inherited genetic disorder may exist. Donor Insemination is also used for treatment of single women or lesbian couples who wish to start a family on their own. Before treatment is started it may be necessary to perform tests on the woman to ensure that she ovulates normally. She will also need investigations to check that her womb in normal and fallopian tubes are not blocked.
What does it involve?
Traditionally donor insemination involved placing the donor sperm into the cervix. In recent times it has become evident that placing the donor sperm in the uterine cavity after laboratory preparation (intrauterine insemination), produces better results than intracervical insemination. Intrauterine placement of donor sperm is done after prior stimulation of the ovaries with gonadotrophin injections to produce one or two eggs. You will undergo ultrasound scans with a vaginal probe to check that the eggs are developing in the ovaries.
When the eggs reach adequate size (>17mm in diameter) you will be given an injection of HCG to trigger ovulation. Insemination will be performed 36-40 hours after the HCG injection.
The insemination procedure is straightforward and produces only little discomfort. It is carried out by the doctor or fertility nurse who inserts a speculum into the vagina and injects the prepared sperm through a fine catheter into the uterus.
NOTE: If you have 3 or more good follicles in your ovaries you will be asked to consider undergoing follicle reduction (information attached) to remove some eggs leaving a maximum of 3. Alternatively, treatment may be stopped altogether.
What is the success rate?
Your individual circumstances will influence the likelihood of success in your own particular case.
If your period comes let us know and we will make you an appointment for review or another treatment cycle.
If your period is late we can do a pregnancy test for you. If you are pregnant, we will arrange to perform a scan two weeks later to confirm the pregnancy.