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Friday, 12 June 2015


Donor insemination (DI) uses sperm from a donor to help the woman become pregnant.
Sperm donors are screened for sexually transmitted diseases and some genetic disorders. In DI, sperm from the donor is placed into the neck of the womb (cervix) at the time when the woman ovulates.
DI - IUI uses intrauterine insemination with donor sperm.
Donor sperm can also be used for in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

A clinic is likely to recommend donor conception if:
  • you are not producing eggs or sperm of your own
  • your own sperm or eggs are unlikely to result in conception
  • you have a high risk of passing on an inherited disease
  • you are in a same sex relationship, or
  • you are single.
If you are considering using donated sperm, eggs or embryos, you will need to think about some complex issues before starting treatment. For this reason, you will be offered counselling; many clinics regard it as essential and will not offer donor conception treatment without it. Try to also talk to people who already have donor-conceived children.

How does DI work?

Using donated eggs

Donated eggs can be used in either in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Read more about these treatments in the previous sections.
The procedure for using donated eggs varies depending on your clinic and the fertility treatment you are undergoing. A typical procedure may involve the following steps:


For women:

  1. You and your donor will be given medication to synchronise your menstrual cycles. You will also be given medication to prepare the endometrium lining of your womb for embryo transfer.
  2. The donated eggs will be fertilised using IVF or ICSI. 
  3. When the embryos begin to develop, they will be transferred to your womb as in conventional IVF. As the eggs will be from donors aged 35 or younger, no more than two embryos will be transferred.
Alternatively, the embryos may be frozen after they have been fertilised. This avoids the need to synchronise your menstrual cycle with that of the donor and may reduce the stress of the treatment.

For men:

  1. Unless you are using donor sperm, before treatment takes place you will give a sperm sample to check that your sperm are healthy and active.
  2. On the day that the eggs are collected, you will give another sperm sample.
  3. The sperm sample is mixed with the donor eggs in vitro to fertilise them, or fertilised by ICSI and then transferred to the womb.

Using your eggs in your partner’s treatment

If you are in a same sex female couple and you want to use your eggs and your partner carry the baby, the process for collecting your eggs will be as follows:
  1. After being screened for sexually transmitted diseases and some genetic disorders, you will be given a series of hormone injections to help develop and mature the eggs within the ovaries.
  2. Once the eggs are matured, they are collected while you are sedated by inserting a needle into the ovaries through the vagina.
The eggs will then be fertilised, usually using IVF.

Donor insemination (DI) - chance of success

Female fertility diminishes with age, so if you are using your own eggs, on average, the younger you are, the higher your chances of success.
Some women receive fertility drugs to boost egg production before the sperm is transferred. We now present the stimulated and unstimulated cycles seperately.
In 2010 (the year for which the most recent data is available) women receiving unstimulated donor insemination (DI) - including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and GIFT - the percentage of cycles started that resulted in a live birth was:
  • 14.6% for women aged under 35
  • 11.4% for women aged 35-37
  • 9.4% for women agend 38-39 
  • 4.7% for women aged 40 and over
In 2010 (the year for which the most recent data is available) women receiving stimulated donor insemination (DI) - including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and GIFT - the percentage of cycles started that resulted in a live birth was:

  • 20.7% for women aged under 35
  • 17.1% for women aged 35-37
  • 11.9% for women agend 38-39
  • 5.3% for women aged 40 and over