Recently on SAHM we gave you a piece on the aspects of Sperm Donation. Whilst highlighting the procedures, payments and processes involved in donating sperm to women or couples who cannot fall pregnant using their own sperm or in the absence of a male sexual partner, we felt the need to take the opposite direction and approach the subject from a receivers point of view.
Some people are of the belief that donated sperm is not as effective in achieving a successful pregnancy, however research shows that there is the same rate of pregnancy complications from using donor sperm as there are through natural conception.
Why Would We Need A Sperm Donation?
Whilst not all couples that struggle with infertility need the assistance of sperm donation, currently in Australia it is estimated that 1 in 25 men cannot father a child or effectively inseminate their partner with viable sperm. This can be for many reasons but the main cause is due to an inability to produce or deliver sperm, with low motility, abnormal sperm and low sperm count listed amongst the main problems. Sperm donation can be used when:
- A couple has medically diagnosed sperm ‘issues’ (such as those listed above)
- A man has had a vasectomy and now wants to father a child
- In same sex relationships and for single women
- Where the man in a relationship is a carrier of certain genetic diseases
- If the male has undergone radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, which can alter sperm production
- If the male has been rendered infertile by an illness, such as mumps.
- The recipient may choose to approach a close friend to donate sperm to them as a private arrangement
- The recipient may elect to attend a fertility clinic and select an anonymous donor. Clinics offer the added benefit of careful medical screening to detect abnormalities.
- The recipient can work with a fertility clinic to screen and inseminate with the sperm of a known donor Who Is Eligible To ‘Purchase’ Sperm In Australia?
Choosing Your Sperm Donor
After consultation with your fertility specialist and counsellor, to discuss the long term implications of treatment using donated sperm, the next step is to choose a donor that will be suitable for you. As most couples use an anonymous donor through a fertility clinic, it is important to ask questions as to their screening procedures and selection criteria. Most clinics will ask that the male be between 25 and 45, healthy and willing to comply with all medical checks, legislation and documentation provided by the clinic, however if you have arranged for a known donor to be used in conjunction with the clinic, they may make slight exceptions.
How Much Does Sperm Cost?
Treatment cycle costs depend on a number of factors, including:
- Whether the receiver needs insemination or more costly IVF
- Does the recipient have their our donor? Does this sperm need to be screened and tested?
- What is the recipient’s Medicare or private health cover status
Most clinics offer a ‘package’ of 3 treatments, which, after Medicare, can cost up to $1800, plus anywhere from $900 – $2300 for the actual sperm.
In Australia, it is illegal to sell human tissue for monetary benefit, however sperm banks reimburse donors for their time and incidental expenses. Some receivers may find the costs involved in the purchase of sperm and the insemination procedures are out of their budget, however professionals strongly advise against finding sperm donors in public forums and online. These donors may not be medically screened and pose potential legal and health risks.
Where Can I Go To Find a Sperm Donor?
Well there are some official channels now so we have listed them right here for you!
Keep in mind when deciding whether to use a sperm donor that donors have a legal rights when it comes to a child born from a pregnancy that resulted in the use of their sperm, including knowing the sex and if there were any abnormalities. Also, when a child from a donor-assisted pregnancy turns 18, they have a right to access identifying information (ie, name, address etc) about the sperm donor. Unfortunately it is for this reason that many men are turned off the idea of donating sperm in Australia and there is a significant shortage. Each state is governed differently in the amount and type of information kept about sperm donors at the clinics they attend.
Check the NHMRC website for more information within your state.
For more information on Receiving Sperm Donations, visit the IVF Australia website.