Artificial Insemination and Donor Insemination

Artificial insemination with husband's (AIH) or donor sperm (DI) involves injecting the semen into the neck of the womb or into the womb (uterus) at the time of or immediately prior to ovulation.

Donor insemination (DI) is insemination of sperms provided by a donor rather than the woman's partner
Donor insemination may be appropriate for couples who are unable to have a child due to male factor infertility such as absence of sperms and where there is a high probability of passing a genetic abnormality to the offspring. 

DI is also suitable for women who wish to conceive a child but do not have a male partner such as single women or women in a same sex relationship. 

Donors are usually anonymous, although known donors may be used.  If known donors are used it would be important to legally ascertain the parental responsibility that the biological father will have, if any.  Children born from eggs, sperm or embryos donated since April 2005, legally will be able to find out who the donor was if they wish to, once they reach the age of 18 years. 

Donors are screened for sexually transmissible infections, genetic abnormalities and for hereditary conditions such as cystic fibrosis.  All centres using donor sperm are required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to freeze semen samples for six months 'quarantine' before use so that infection screen can be repeated.  Sperm donor may be selected so that physical characteristics (e.g., build, hair & eye colour, ethnicity etc) match those of the male/female partner.  Women are carefully assessed before DI is initiated.  The HFEA has made implication counselling compulsory for those requesting the use of donated gametes.

The technique involves placing the donor sperm directly into the uterus using a vaginal speculum and a fine catheter to deposit the sperm within the uterus (womb) through the neck of the womb.  Insemination is carried out once or twice during a woman's fertile period of the menstrual cycle as close to ovulation as possible.  Fertility medications may be needed to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.

Click here for more information on Sperm Storage