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Sperm is a necessary component for reproduction. There are times when a man is unable to utilize his own sperm, either due to medical conditions which limit sperm production or quality, or due to hereditary diseases he does not want to perpetuate.
In such cases, donor sperm can be utilized to achieve pregnancy through the use of artificial insemination - a type of assistive reproductive technology which involves the use of donated sperm. Sperm donation is the key to conceiving for couples and single women who would otherwise be unable to have a child.
Like egg donation, each sperm donor is evaluated prior to the acceptance of the donation. The sperm is then tested, prepared and concentrated, prior to being utilized, to ensure that viable sperm are being used to aid in successful conception.
The laws vary from state to state with regards to the legal rights or responsibilities of sperm donors, so it is best to check with a Fertility Specialist in your area before proceeding with artificial insemination through sperm donation.
Without sperm donors, may infertile couples and single women could not achieve their dream of parenthood. As with egg donation, the donation of sperm provides a means for conception for couples who would otherwise be unable to have a child.
As with egg donors and surrogates, men wishing to become sperm donors must undergo medical testing to ensure that they are healthy and have an adequate and quality sperm supply. Additionally, the sperm is tested for transmissible diseases prior to being utilized.
For men who opt to donate sperm, there are general criteria that must be met:
Since there are several different types of artificial insemination, each carries with it, different rates for success. Of the primary types of assisted reproductive technologies, the average success rates are:
Additionally, live birth rates vary between frozen and fresh donor sperm and eggs, as well as the prevalence of multiple births, which impacts the ability to carry to term and deliver healthy infants.
As with any surgical or invasive procedure, there are risks and potential complications that can occur. These can stem around the entrance into the pelvic cavity and intrusion into the uterus, or can be related to the medications utilized during the process.
Risks and complications of artificial insemination can include:
Artificial insemination also involves the use of donor sperm or eggs, and there are many contributors to infertility which involve egg or sperm production.
Laws vary from state to state in terms of the responsibilities and legalities of artificial insemination, including anonymity of donors, use of surrogates and the ability of children conceived with donor sperm or eggs to contact the donors upon reaching maturity.
Artificial Insemination is practiced by bees and many other flying insects, and is utilized by plants for reproduction. It was initially created by man to improve biology in farm animals, with the first animal being cattle. It then spread to include: sheep, rabbits, swine, horses, goats, poultry, and then to endangered species, such as the California Condor. It wasn't until the 20th century that the technique was developed for use in humans, and gained widespread popularity in the 1970's.
It is believed that AI was initially created for humans as a type of selective breeding process to limit or eliminate defects in humans, by several medical professionals of the time, including: Dr. William Pancoat, Francic Crick and Dr. William Shockley. It is now widely used to assist otherwise infertile couples to conceive, with ever-improving success rates.
Artificial insemination is the process by which an egg is fertilized in the absence of intercourse. Intercourse to achieve pregnancy is termed "natural conception." So, it follows that means other than natural conception could be regarded as "artificial" insemination.
Ideally, a couple or woman under the age of 35 should attempt natural conception for 1 year before seeking fertility assistance. For women over the age of 35, 6 months is the current standard. Talk to your gynecologist about Artificial Insemination to see if this is the right assistive reproductive technology for you.
There are times when natural conception is not possible for a woman due to medical conditions. Even if the couple includes a fertile man, who is able to provide adequate quality sperm, the lack of a vessel in which to carry a child, makes conception impossible. This is where a surrogate comes in. A surrogate, or surrogate mother, is a woman who provides her uterus to carry another couple's child to term. She usually receives a fee for this. Though she can become pregnant through natural conception by having intercourse with the man, it is often more suitable to utilize artificial insemination to achieve pregnancy.
As with sperm and egg donors, surrogates are thoroughly screened for health conditions, but they are also screened psychologically, to ensure that they are able to manage the stress associated with a pregnancy, and are able to relinquish the child to its parents, once it is born.
The process for artificial insemination using a surrogate is the same for anyone, and can utilize the woman's eggs, if she is able to produce them:
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|