Donor Sperm and IUI

For the process of intrauterine insemination to work, viable sperm needs to be used and the woman needs to have unblocked fallopian tubes and functioning ovaries. Viable sperm typically comes from the woman's partner. But sometimes there is no male partner or the partner isn't able to produce enough healthy sperm. If this is the case, donor sperm may be used.

Why Use Donor Sperm

Donor sperm insemination can be used if the male partner is infertile or has low fertility and he doesn't (or the couple together don't) want to go through complex procedures like Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) or Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

It has also been used by couples where the male partner is concerned about genetic or chromosomal problems he doesn't wish to pass to his children. IUI can be an effective assisted reproductive technology for men who have damaged testicles from cancer treatments like radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Donors and the Child(ren) Conceived

According to the UK National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), a national government-funded charity set up in 1998, overall attitudes towards donation have changed in the UK over the last few years. Children conceived with donor sperm (or even donor eggs) now have a right to ask the Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority (HFEA) if this is how they were conceived and who the donor was. Unfortunately this law wasn't passed until 2005 so it will be many years before children conceived from that date will be able to take advantage of this law.

In October 2009 HFEA started a database about the donors and who donated to whom on what date. Any information currently held by the HFEA is available to the child conceived from the donation and the donor himself. Sperm donors have the right to know if their donation has been successful, the number of children born, as well as the birth year and gender of the children. Even though donors will have access to this information, they have no legal, financial or social obligations to the child.

Donors are allowed to claim expenses associated with the donation process (childcare, travel costs etc) but the donor recipients do not pay for this. In the UK, donors are not paid for their sperm but may claim compensation for lost earnings for a maximum amount of £55.19 per day or £250 for the course of the sperm donation.

The National Gamete Donation Trust says 800 babies are born each year in the UK from donated sperm, eggs or embryos. There's no statistics on how many of these babies born were the result of IUI with donor sperm.

Waiting Times

If you'd like to use a sperm donor to conceive with IUI, you may need to wait for a viable donor. Waiting times vary in clinics across the UK, according to the NDGT. Contact your clinic to find out the standard wait times and what is considered unacceptably long