If you’re a single woman, LGBTQIA+, or are struggling with male infertility, using a sperm donor can give you the ability to begin your family on your terms.
Everyone deserves the right to have a family. For some though, the journey to parenthood may be a bit more challenging than for others. From unexplained infertility to low sperm counts to damaged eggs, there’s a lot that can affect one’s ability to have a child.
For many individuals, using a sperm donor gives them the ability to have their child on their terms. Thousands of healthy, happy children are born every year from sperm donations, so if you’re considering this option, know that you’re in good company.
Why do people use sperm donors?
People choose to use sperm donors for many reasons. Some of the more common situations include a heterosexual couple where male infertility or sperm mobility is a factor, or when a lesbian couple or single woman wants to have a child.
Otherwise, other circumstances where people may choose to use a sperm donor include:
A heterosexual couple or single man who’s encountering difficulty with male infertility, low sperm count, or sperm motility
If a male individual has undergone a medical procedure, chemotherapy, or an immune disorder which has damaged their reproductive capacities
If the male partner or individual carries a genetic disease that could be passed down
A lesbian couple or single woman who wants to have a child
Whatever your situation, trust us — we’ve seen it all and have helped design creative and high-end solutions so all our clients can enjoy the gift of having a child.
Is using a sperm donor safe?
Yes! Sperm samples and donors in our network of approved sperm banks go through rigorous testing to ensure they are free from genetic disease or sexually transmitted diseases that could be passed on to the intended mother or surrogate during embryo transfer. Donor insemination conducted by a fertility clinic is widely considered safe for intended mothers and surrogate carriers as well.
Sperm donor screenings
All donors at IMA ART-approved facilities go through a meticulous screening process to ensure the safety of you and your future child. These screenings typically include:
A physical exam
A comprehensive medical history
Testing for sexually transmitted diseases
Sperm quality evaluation
A criminal background check
More high-end sperm banks like those we engage at IMA ART often also screen for:
Mental health and psychological profile
Many of the tests that are conducted on the health of the semen are done pre and post-freezing, which means the health of your donor sperm is double and triple checked to ensure safety, quality, and viability.
Sperm donor success rates
When it comes to sperm donor success rates, the numbers are a bit harder to parse through as the number of sperm donations, use, and live birth rates are not tracked nationally. That being said, estimates place live births from sperm donation at roughly 30,000 to 60,000 children each year. 
You have options when selecting your sperm donor
As with using an egg donor, using a sperm donor to get pregnant is a very personal journey. From what you want your sperm donor to look like, to potential characteristics, to education and financial status, there’s a lot to consider. Donor search options, donor profiles, and quality of donors can vary between sperm banks, as the industry is not regulated, so it’s important to make your choice in sperm banks carefully.
That being said, you can rest assured that those we work with at IMA ART not only meet the standards for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, but go above and beyond in their commitment to excellence.
Most parents prefer using a donor who looks similar to themselves, so their child is more likely to share features in common with them. You may have preferences for hair and eye color, ethnicity, height, and more, so it’s important to be discerning when looking for donors. The high-end banks we partner with at IMA ART almost always share pictures of the donor, so you can really visualize what your child might look like. Additionally, you may have access to their family history, so you can consider the features most prominent in that donor’s bloodline and their potential for recurring with your child.
Education, Career, Personality
High quality sperm banks, like those we’ve partnered with at IMA ART Fertility, can provide you with more in-depth information about your sperm donor. This could include information on their level of educational attainment, their personality, and their career; features which many parents deeply value.
Anonymous vs. known
Parents have the option of using an anonymous donor or a known donor. Known donors refer to family, friends, or individuals the intended parents already know, who they’d like to use as donors. If you choose to work with a known sperm donor, an important consideration is that you’ll often be tasked with the legal work of parental rights yourself. When working with our sperm bank, we will facilitate the legal work for you.
Another important choice: whether you want your child to be able to contact their donor in the future. In some cases, the donor may wish to remain anonymous and stipulate this when drawing up legal contracts. A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Human Reproduction found that 82% of donor-conceived offspring are interested in meeting their donor. The predominant reason: curiosity about their donor’s appearance. 
Because of the implications for your child, this decision can be challenging. No matter what you decide, know that your legal rights are protected, and that curiosity over their donor parent does not substitute the deep love your child has for you.
What is the process for using donor sperm?
Once you’ve selected your sperm donor, you have a few options.
First, you can select between intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Intrauterine insemination refers to a safe procedure where the fertility specialist uses a small catheter to insert the donor sperm directly into the woman’s uterus. In this instance, sperm is offered the chance to “self-select” in a sense, and conception occurs more naturally. If the woman’s eggs are otherwise healthy, then this could be a great option.
In vitro fertilization offers you a few more choices to select between, as well as a few extra steps. With IVF, the woman will first undergo ovarian stimulation to prompt the production of multiple viable eggs. These eggs will then be retrieved and collected in a lab. Here you can opt for pre-genetic testing to heighten the likelihood of achieving pregnancy by identifying and excluding eggs with abnormalities or defects.
You can then choose whether the egg is fertilized traditionally, or using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). After fertilization, the embryo will be transferred to the uterus, where it can implant and, if all goes according to plan, lead to the birth of your child.
Should you use ICSI? Learn more here