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FAQ - Donor Sperm

Donor insemination is a fertility treatment that involves using a sperm donor to conceive. Individuals or couples may choose to use donor sperm for a variety of reasons including:

  • Males with severe infertility
  • Male partner with untreatable STD
  • Non-correctable ejaculation
  • Genetic or hereditary concerns on male partner's side
  • Single women or lesbian couples
  • Sterility or with diminished infertility (conversion therapies)

All individuals are at risk for infertility. Whether you identify as a heterosexual, single, LGBTQ, or intersexual individual, if you want to have a baby or raise children, you have many options.

Infertility and “Situational” infertility may face logistical issues, legal hurdles and financial obstacles that can be complicated. These challenges may arise in your journey toward parenthood but should not stop you nor prevent you from achieving your dream of becoming a parent.

Donor insemination typically refers to IUI but can also be used with ICI, IVI or as part of an IVF cycle.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is always performed in a doctor’s office. The prepared sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a catheter.

Intracervical insemination (ICI) and Intravaginal insemination (IVI) are similar. With ICI, a catheter is inserted into the vagina and deposits the sperm near the cervix. In the case of IVI, the sperm is deposited anywhere in the vagina.

ICI and IVI are the easiest techniques and can be performed At Home, because they do not involve the introduction of sperm directly into the uterus. Sperm used for ICI and IVI may be either washed or unwashed.

On occasion your physician may recommend a double insemination, where sperm is deposited twice (requiring two vials of donor sperm) within a treatment cycle. The double insemination theoretically increases pregnancy rates by decreasing the risk of missing the fertile window during ovulation.

The pregnancy rate from donor insemination (DI) varies between clinics and is influenced by treatment plan, fertility history and age. Age is found to be an important determinant for success rate. Generally, the chance of pregnancy after one IUI, by age is:

Under 35: 10-20%
35 to 39: 10%
40 and Above: 2-5%

The more cycles of IUI you undergo, the higher the chance is for a pregnancy. Pregnancy rates can be as high as 80% with 3 to 6 cycles of IUI.

For individuals without infertility history, studies show that pregnancy rates are similar, or slightly lower, than those found in natural conception.

A donor’s blood and urine samples are regularly tested for infectious diseases for the length of their donation period. Donors are also tested for a number of hereditary diseases and a normal chromosomal count (karyotype).

A Summary of Records (SOR) summarizes the dates and results of donor testing and is included with each shipment. This document is a statement of compliance from the Cryobank in that the donor assessment has been conducted in accordance with Health Canada Regulations. The SOR, for a donor, will change over time because of the continuous testing of the donor.

Canadian Compliant means that a donor’s units are compliant with the requirements of Health Canada including relevant sections of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR) and Safety of Sperm and Ova Regulations.

Cryobank donor applicants are selectively approved after undergoing an expansive screening process by medical, mental health professionals and genetic counselors which may include:

  • personality and behavioral evaluations
  • psychological and social evaluations
  • background checks
  • genetic testing
  • medical testing
  • physical exams

The leading international Cryobanks report that fewer than 1% of all donor applicants are accepted. Safety is key.

As a registered Canadian importer and distributor of donor sperm and donor eggs, Canada Cryobank ensures that all donor samples listed on our website are Canadian Compliant.

FAQ - Choosing a Sperm Donor

The choice between ICI and IUI-ready donor sperm depends on your treatment plan.

Intra cervical insemination (ICI) procedures are similar to natural intercourse, as sperm is deposited directly into the vagina and either ICI or IUI sperm can be used.

Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) procedures are where the sperm is injected directly into the uterus. In this case, only IUI sperm can be used.

For in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, either ICI or IUI vials can be used because IVF laboratories have specific protocols to prepare the sperm specimen before use.

The concept of identity release (ID Release) is tied to biological origin and in your decision to share, with your child, their donor origin.

For some children, their biological origin is not a concern and poses little challenge, where as others may experience some identity issues as they reach their teens or early adulthood.

The choice of an ID Release or Non-ID Release Donor is complex and worth careful consideration.

Medical history is important because a part of our health is based on the genes that are passed down to us through generations. The reality is, despite extensive screening of donors, the risk of having a child with a future medical condition cannot be completely eliminated. The medical history gives you increased visibility into the donor’s health which could be important to you in the future.

An ID Release Donor (OPEN ID) allows the donor’s offspring to gain access to identifying information about the donor when the offspring reaches adulthood. To access this information, the donor-conceived child must contact the Cryobank directly. The recipient (you) will not be able to access this information.

The policies surrounding identity release vary between Cryobanks. It is important to contact the Cryobank directly for information.

You can search for ID Release donors in our Donor Search>.

In the case of a Non-ID Release Donor (also called an Anonymous Donor) neither the recipient nor the donor-conceived child can gain access to the identity of the donor from the Cryobank.

By registering your pregnancy and birth outcome, available donor medical updates will be sent to the contact information that you have provided. Donor information may also be available on the Cryobank website or by contacting the Cryobank directly.