Using a Sperm Donor to Get Pregnant
People use donor sperm to get pregnant for many reasons. A couple may use donated sperm due to male infertility. Single women or LGBTQIA+ couples may use a sperm donor to help them build a family. Some couples use donor sperm to avoid passing a genetic disease carried by the male partner to their children.
The decision to use donor sperm is extremely personal, and you should only make it after careful consideration and discussion. You can use donor sperm for both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures at the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine (UCRM) at University of Utah Health.
U of U health is registered with and follows all FDA regulations related to donor tissues.
Anonymous vs. Known Sperm Donors
A known (directed) sperm donor is someone you know but is not your intimate partner. UCRM offers services for directed donation, including eligibility determination under FDA regulations and sperm processing and freezing. An anonymous sperm donor is someone you don’t know. You can buy sperm samples from anonymous donors from sperm banks. Sperm banks screen donors for infectious diseases and genetic conditions.
Recommended Sperm Banks
There are many commercial sperm banks. Please talk to your provider if you are considering a sperm bank that is not on the list:
Sperm Donor Qualifications
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires sperm donors to be screened. Criteria for sperm donor qualifications beyond those required by the FDA vary between sperm banks and can be found on their websites.
You can usually search sperm donor profiles by a variety of characteristics, including physical attributes, profession, hobbies, ethnicity, and many others.
Why Choose UCRM for Sperm Donor Insemination?
Our UCRM team at U of U Health has more than 30 years of experience and offers advanced technologies to diagnose and treat infertility. We are committed to providing you with caring, compassionate, and leading-edge fertility care so you can grow your family.
Additionally, since many health insurance plans do not offer fertility coverage, we offer financing options to help you pay for treatment.
Find a Fertility Specialist
Artificial Insemination Success Rate
The success rate of donor sperm inseminations depends on your age and diagnosis. The average pregnancy rate is approximately 10–15% per cycle. This means that 10-15 women will become pregnant for every 100 women who use one cycle of donor sperm insemination.
Depending on your medical situation, your provider may recommend you have at least 3–6 inseminations to give you the best chance of getting pregnant.
Sperm Donor Insemination Process
If you are having insemination performed at UCRM, you will need to meet with one of our fertility specialists for a consultation. We will ask you to complete a number of tasks:
- Sign a consent form in front of your provider.
- Have lab testing. Your provider will need to review your results before you can have your insemination. Your provider will give you an order to have these lab tests completed.
- Review and sign the storage contract with our Andrology Laboratory. There is a fee for this review. We request that all patients complete this step before they ship samples and sign a donor semen storage agreement.
- Purchase donor samples and have them shipped to us for storage.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you are eligible for insemination. Your provider will help you with scheduling your insemination appointment. The Andrology lab will prepare your sample for insemination on the day of your appointment. There is a fee to prepare the donor sample.
Donor Sperm Storage
U of U Health’s Andrology Lab stores and prepares donor sperm samples before UCRM providers use them for fertility treatments. In addition, we coordinate screening of known donors for eligibility or suitability.
Known donor sperm storage is coordinated through our third-party reproductive team. You will need to sign a donor semen storage agreement in order to give us permission to store the samples at our facility.We do store vials of sperm from known donors as well as samples shipped from third-party sperm banks. We’ll keep them until you’re ready to use them for IVF or IUI. There are fees associated with sperm storage.
Shipping Samples to UCRM
Before you purchase donor sperm from a sperm bank and have it shipped to UCRM, please contact our Andrology Lab to arrange for storage. The Andrology Lab and UCRM only accept samples from sperm banks registered with the FDA that follow donor screening and eligibility regulations.
Before shipping samples to UCRM, you have several responsibilities:
- Get a written physician’s order indicating you are under their care and are transporting the donor sample to your provider’s office to use for insemination.
- Purchase donor samples and arranging for them to be shipped and stored.
- Pay for the current storage period. You must pay these fees in advance. They are based in part on the number of semen vials you store.
Next Steps after Donor Sperm Insemination
There are no activity restrictions following insemination. You can continue to work, exercise, and have intercourse. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, you will start your period about two weeks after insemination. If you choose to repeat the cycle, your provider will guide you through the process.
If you don’t start your period, your provider will perform a pregnancy test followed by an ultrasound about a month later. You will continue to see your provider throughout your pregnancy for monitoring and prenatal care.
Schedule a Consultation at UCRM
You do not need a referral to make an appointment with a UCRM provider. To see a UCRM specialist, call 801-581-3834. To refer a patient, please fill out our online referral form or call 801-581-2897.