Infertility is a common problem and approximately 15% of couples trying to conceive seek help due to infertility (WHO). Here you can read about infertility and fertility treatment with donor sperm as a solution.
Infertility can be caused by several things but in approx. 1/3 of the cases it is due to problems with the man's sperm quality. Using a sperm donor can be a good solution if the man's infertility problem cannot be solved in other ways.
What is infertility?
According to WHO, a couple is infertile when they have tried to get pregnant for a year without success. Infertility can be caused by a problem with the sperm quality and/or the woman’s reproductive system. Some of the most common issues for women are the absence of ovulation, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis. The most common problem for men is failure to produce enough healthy sperm cells to fertilize the egg. Even though only one sperm cell is needed to fertilize the egg, an ejaculate must contain several millions of sperm cells to ensure fertilization.
There are several reasons why a man can experience low sperm count, abnormal sperm cells or a complete lack of sperm cells. A low sperm count or a complete lack of sperm cells can, for example, be caused by unhealthy lifestyle, a genetic condition, a hormonal disorder, cancer treatment or a blockage caused by previous infection. Abnormal sperm cells may be due to infection or abnormal testicles (americanpregnancy.org). In order to know the exact reason for the male infertility problem, the man should undergo a medical examination.
How is infertility experienced?
Having infertility problems can be difficult for a couple to handle regardless of the reason for infertility. Some people describe that they feel lonely during the process, because there may be a tendency for people to avoid talking to others about the issues. In the TED talk below, you can listen to Camille Preston telling how she and her husband dealt with an uncontrollable challenge. She also shares how good friends became important to overcome the struggle of dealing with infertility.
Donor sperm for fertility treatment
If the reason for infertility is caused by a problem with the sperm quality, using donor sperm may be a good solution to create the family you wish for. There are also other options such as adoption or co-parenting. By using donor sperm as a couple, you will both be able to have the parental rights of your child, and the child will be genetically related to the woman carrying out the pregnancy. As a couple, you will raise the child with love and care. The fact that the father of the child does not share the same genes with the child should not impact your feelings for the child. Your child will be your child regardless of the child being conceived with a little help.
Using donor sperm – What to consider
If you have decided to use donor sperm for fertility treatment, there are some things to consider. One of the first things to decide is if you want a sperm donor with a Basic or an Extended Donor Profile.
To make the decision, you can try to ask yourself these questions: Would you like to know only basic details such as hair colour, eye colour, and blood type? Is it important for you to know more about the donor’s education, interests, personality? Do you want to be able to see child photos and/or photos of the donor as an adult?
You should also decide if you want to use a Non-ID Release or ID Release sperm donor. In this process, you must consider if it is important to you that your child will have the possibility to contact the donor at a later stage in life, or if you would like the donor’s identity to be hidden at all times. In some countries, it is determined by law to use one or the other option and you must check this with your own country’s legislation.
You can get a full guide about what to consider when choosing a sperm donor here.
Personal messages from couples with donor children
We receive many thankful letters and e-mails from couples who have had help to overcome male infertility by using donor sperm. Below, you can read some of the heartwarming messages.
“My husband and I have waited so long to be able to have a baby and thanks to Cryos, we were able to! Despite all the side effects, being pregnant was an incredible experience and I am so thankful. Our little Louis is now 4 1/2 months old, and I still can't believe it. I love my life! Thank you to all the donors who make this possible.”BenedicteUK
“Words cannot describe the pride, joy and love we feel since our baby boy came into our live in August 2016. The unconditional love we feel holding this tiny, dependent person who already has his own character, is so much greater than life itself! We will always be thankful to our donor. Not knowing us, but to be so unselfish to make sure we (and others) are able to welcome the greatest gift of life. Making sure to thoroughly describe himself and his relatives so we know just a bit, being able to be honest to our new born when he starts asking questions in a few years’ time. And last but not least the great guidance from Cryos to make it all possible! Thank you to you all.”AnnaThe Netherlands
“We got a beautiful son thanks to Cryos and the donor who made it possible for us to have a family to love. Thanks to all!”Anonymousx
You can read more messages from happy parents here.
Connect with others who experience infertility problems
It can be comforting to share thoughts and experiences with people in the same situation as you. Therefore, we encourage you to join our Facebook group Family Dreams, where the members can talk about fertility treatment, donor sperm, and all related topics on the journey towards parenthood. The Facebook group is a nice and friendly place to connect with like-minded people.
You can also join the support forum at All About Fertility - a fertility forum supported by Cryos - and read expert articles about male and female infertility.