Getting pregnant using donor sperm is a form of assisted reproduction, where frozen sperm is imported by Merrion Fertility Clinic from international sperm banks. This sperm is chosen by you (with our help) and stored here until it is ready for use during your treatment. There are no sperm banks in Ireland so Merrion Fertility Clinic has set up formal arrangements with approved banks abroad. Treatment using donor sperm is an option used by patients in a number of scenarios:
- If you are a single woman
- If you are in a same sex relationship (lesbian)
- If using your partner’s sperm would be extremely unlikely to be successful / if your partner does not produce sperm / if your partner has a genetic condition which could be transmitted to offspring
Using donor sperm is a major decision and you should take your time.
How is donated sperm used?
There are different ways of using the donated sperm to achieve a pregnancy. You may find our website useful for more information on the following methods (www.merrionfertility.ie).
This involves depositing the prepared donor sperm directly in your womb and timing this with ovulation (release of an egg). You may or may not need to take hormones to stimulate your ovaries to ovulate (stimulated vs. unstimulated).
This involves stimulation of your ovaries with hormones to promote the growth of multiple follicles containing eggs. You will then have a procedure to remove the eggs from your ovaries so that they can be inseminated (fertilised) with the donor sperm in our IVF lab. Several days later, we would expect some embryos to have developed and one or two of these will be transferred to your womb with the hope that it/they will implant and go on to form a pregnancy.
Overview of the process
You (and your partner where relevant) will attend an initial doctor’s appointment here in Merrion Fertility Clinic. Your history will be taken and your options discussed. Certain tests / investigations may be arranged which the doctor will use to decide which treatment type you should have (i.e. IUI vs. IVF/ICSI). Many patients will require more than one appointment and these will be with our medical or nursing teams. All patients will be required to have an appointment with a counsellor to explore the implications of having a baby using donor sperm.
If you are happy to proceed, you will be given information on how to choose a donor. There are many factors to consider. You will be given details on how to search for suitable donors using the websites of our approved banks. The lab staff will also discuss your choice with you before proceeding with purchasing and importing the sperm on your behalf. Once the sperm arrives, it will be kept in storage in Merrion Fertility Clinic until you are ready to use it.