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 several 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 brochure for details.
One of the infections that all donors are tested for is cytomegalovirus (CMV). This information is displayed in the donor catalog from the CCB (it is on the Fairfax Cryobank web site and available as a separate document from NECC). CMV is a common virus - similar to the virus that causes chickenpox.
Approximately 50% of adults in this country have been affected by this virus, usually it does not cause symptoms and the infection results in the presence of antibodies in the blood. 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. The precise degree of risk is unknown-it is very low. 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. If the only sperm sample that matches your specific ethnic or racial needs is CMV positive, let us doctor know and we will discuss the situation. You can be tested for CMV immunity and if you have immunity, you may use CMV positive sperm. For more information about CMV you may look on the Centers for Disease Control website.
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. When specimens are "washed" in our laboratory human serum albumin (HSA) is used as a source of protein for the process. The presence of protein improves the quality of the sperm sample. HSA is derived from the noncellular component of human blood that has been sterilized. There has never been a documented case of disease transmission related to the use of HSA.
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).