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What is donor insemination?

Donor insemination is an assisted reproductive technique to overcome male infertility. In this technique, sperm from a donor is introduced into a woman’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.  The process is similar to having a pap smear performed.  Previously, fresh donor sperm used to be used for this purpose but after the development of sperm freezing and banking, donors and sperm are carefully screened and selected before insemination. Women or couples opting for this procedure may instead undergo in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection to achieve pregnancy, although insemination is less expensive.

How is insemination performed?

The woman’s menstrual cycle is evaluated to determine the ovulation period, the time when an egg is fully matured and released from the ovary. Medications may be given to enhance ovulation. Insemination is carried out during this period. The sperm is thawed and injected into the cervix, the passage that opens into the uterus. Once insemination is complete, you will have to rest for about 10 minutes and may then carry on with your regular activities. The sperm travels through the reproductive tract to meet the egg and fertilise it.

What are the chances of success?

The likelihood of becoming pregnant following insemination depends on various factors. A woman’s age plays a significant role. Other factors include the quality of the egg and the health of the reproductive tract. You may require a few cycles of insemination before you become pregnant. If insemination is unsuccessful or complicated, your doctor will usually recommend an in vitro fertilisation procedure.

What are the legal issues?

The sperm donor does not have any rights over the child and cannot seek out the child or the birth parents. He does not have any responsibilities towards the child. In most states in Australia, a record of the genetic father is kept and the child has the right to find out who he is after the age of 18.

Medical and scientific information provided and endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (ANZSREI) might not be relevant to a particular person’s circumstances and should always be discussed with that person’s own healthcare provider. Patient Information Sheets may contain copyright or otherwise protected material. Reproduction of Information Sheets by ANZSREI Members for clinical practice is permissible. Any other use of this information (hardcopy and electronic versions) must be agreed to and approved by the ANZSREI.

Disclaimer: All information presented on this page is intended for informational purposes only and not for rendering medical advice. The information contained herein is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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