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How Sperm Donation for Artificial Insemination Works

If you’re thinking about sperm donation and artificial information, you should learn what a sperm donor does!

This info is from a terrific book called A Baby at Last! The Couple’s Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant – From Cutting-Edge Treatments to Commonsense Wisdom.

“The frequency of artificial insemination of donor sperm has changed dramatically, thanks to the introduction of ICSI (intrauterine insemination),” write the authors of A Baby at Last! “Even when a man has a very low sperm count or low motility, or no sperm at all in the ejaculate, doctors can isolate a single sperm from the ejaculate or retrieve sperm from the testicles to inject directly into an egg.”


My husband calls this procedure “cracking a nut.” In medical circles, they call it TESE or testicular sperm extraction. But, if you don’t want to go that far in search of sperm – surgery to extract a single sperm – you might want to look for a sperm donor at a sperm bank instead.

The following info on sperm donors and sperm banks is from A Baby at Last! The Couple’s Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant–from Cutting-Edge Treatments to Commonsense Wisdom – a terrific source of information on getting pregnant, whether or not you’re coping with infertility.

Sperm Donation for Artificial Insemination

“Sperm donation is always an option for a couple going through an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle,” say they in A Baby at Last. “In general, to avoid canceling an IVF cycle, Dr Rosenwaks will offer the couple donor sperm as a backup on the day of egg retrieval in case the man’s sperm is not available or viable.”

If you’re considering donor sperm for artificial insemination, you can rest assured that a sperm bank does everything it can to make sure the sperm is healthy and able to get you pregnant!

What a Sperm Donor Does

Donating sperm doesn’t involve a single trip to the sperm bank, and walking away with a check for time and energy spent! Being a sperm donor is actually quite complicated.

To donate sperm, a sperm donor must…

  • Fill out a comprehensive medical questionnaire to evaluate his health and review his family medical history.
  • Be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and other infectious diseases.
  • Be tested every six months for these diseases.
  • Be at least 5 feet 9 inches, 18-35 years old, and have a college degree.

Less than 10% of all sperm donor applications are accepted as by the sperm bank. “Once accepted, a man must agree to make one to three deposits weekly for 12-18 months,” say these authors. A sperm donor usually gets compensated $100 for his trouble (for every acceptable donation).

Donated sperm must also go through regulations. For instance, donor sperm must meet minimum standards (usually 20-30 million moving sperm per milliliter after thawing, with 25-40% motility).

Donated sperm is quarantined for at least six months before being used in artificial inseminations. The risk of birth defects is no higher with a child conceived through donor insemination than from natural conception.

How Much Does Donor Sperm Cost?

“The cost of a donor sperm sample is about $150,” write Rosenwaks and Goldstein in A Baby at Last! “Most insurance companies do not reimburse for donated sperm.”


There’s an emotional cost as well. Infertile couples must come to terms with their inability to produce a biological child, and learn to accept that the child they create through artificial insemination is indeed their own.

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant or are coping with infertility, read Can’t Conceive? 4 Reasons to Find a Fertility Specialist. It’s packed with helpful, hopeful information!


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To learn more about artificial insemination, read Trying In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – Benefits and Drawbacks.

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3 thoughts on “How Sperm Donation for Artificial Insemination Works”

  1. Also – my friend just tried IUI (intrauterine insemination) to get pregnant with donor sperm. She got pregnant on her first try, which shocked her and her fertility doctors! So, some donor sperm is supercharged 🙂