How much sperm does it take to get pregnant? See Cryos' recommendations
There are many factors to consider when using a sperm donor to fulfil your dream of a child. A question we often receive is how much sperm it takes to get pregnant. Here we share our recommendations regarding the amount of donor sperm to order for each type of fertility treatment.
In theory, it only takes one sperm cell to fertilize a woman's egg and become pregnant. However, the question "how much sperm does it takes to get pregnant" using a sperm donor is slightly different from the relatively simple version. Below we share our recommendations on how much sperm you would need for each fertility treatment type.
How much sperm is needed?
The amount of sperm you need to get pregnant varies depending on the type of fertility treatment the sperm is necessary for. Below you can see our recommendations for the amount of sperm to order, based on each fertility treatment.
- IUI treatment: 1 x IUI straw MOT10 or higher
- IVF treatment: 1 x IUI straw MOT5 or higher
- ICSI treatment: 1 x IUI straw MOT2 or higher
- ICI treatment: 2 x ICI or IUI straws MOT10
What determines the amount of sperm needed to get pregnant?
The amount of sperm you need to become pregnant depends on different factors like your fertility and choice of fertility treatment. Female fertility plays an essential part in fertility treatment and is a determining factor in the number of sperm straws needed to get pregnant. The most defining characteristic in terms of fertility is age. Once women become older, their number of eggs and their quality decreases.
The other factor is the type of fertility treatment you will use. There is a significant difference between IUI and ICSI treatment in terms of the procedure, cost, and the number of straws needed. Read below how much sperm you should order for each treatment type.
Your fertility treatment type plays a role
When ordering donor sperm for fertility treatment, you receive the sperm in straws of 0.5 millilitres (some have 0.4 millilitres and come with a discount), so the question we are going to answer is how many sperm straws you must order and not how much sperm it takes to become pregnant.
On our page regarding payment and price of sperm, it is possible to see examples of how much a sperm straw for different types of fertility treatment costs.
The number of straws you need for each fertility treatment to become pregnant depends on the type of treatment you are going to receive. Each fertility treatment is different and requires another type or MOT of sperm straw.
The quality of each sperm straw is determined through its MOT (motility) level, which shows the number of active sperm cells per millilitre of sperm. It is possible to choose between MOT2, MOT5, MOT10, MOT20, and MOT 30.
Besides MOT level, there are two different types of donor sperm: IUI and ICI sperm straws. The difference between IUI and ICI sperm is whether it has been washed or not. If a sperm straw has been washed, it means that the natural ejaculate fluid has been removed and a cryo-preservative has been added. IUI sperm has been washed and ICI has not, which means that they still contain the natural ejaculate fluid.
If you are interested in reading more about sperm motility and quality or the difference between IUI and ICI sperm straw, then follow the links to our pages on the subject.
How many straws do you need for IVF?
In IVF treatment, the eggs are extracted from the ovaries and fertilized with the sperm cells in a laboratory. When purchasing donor sperm for IVF treatment we recommend using 1 x IUI straw MOT5. You can also use 1 x MOT10 straw or higher if your preferred donor only has those options available.
If your fertility clinic prefers to prepare the sperm at their premises, you can also choose ICI straws. If you order ICI straws, we recommend the following options per treatment: 2 x ICI straws with MOT10 or 1 x ICI straw with MOT20.
The number of sperm straws needed to become pregnant with IVF or other fertility treatment differs very much from one person to another. It is possible to become pregnant with IVF treatment by only using 1 sperm straw. Still, in general, we recommend you should expect 5-6 treatment cycles per pregnancy if you are treated at a fertility clinic.
How many straws do you need for ICSI?
ICSI treatment is a variation of IVF treatment where the eggs are extracted from the ovaries and a single sperm cell is inserted into each egg in a laboratory. ICSI is one of the most effective types of fertility treatment, which means that 1 x IUI straw MOT2 is sufficient.
When purchasing donor sperm for ICSI treatment, it is possible to use both IUI and ICI straws if your clinic can prepare the ICI sperm straws before treatment.
How many straws do you need for IUI?
In most cases, fertility treatment with donor sperm is intrauterine insemination – also called IUI. In IUI treatment a thin plastic tube is used to insert the donor sperm directly into the uterus.
For IUI we recommend ordering 1 x IUI straw MOT10 or higher. Like IVF treatment, some clinics have other preferences, and they might choose ICI straws. If your clinic prefers ICI straws, we recommend you choose either 4 straws with MOT5, 2 straws with MOT10, or 1 straw with MOT20.
How many straws do you need for ICI?
ICI treatment is the simplest type of artificial insemination with donor sperm, and it is also the type of fertility treatment used for home insemination. In ICI treatment, the donor sperm is placed in the vagina like regular intercourse and from there travels to the uterus to hopefully fertilize the egg.
We recommend using 2 x IUI or ICI straws MOT10 or higher for ICI treatment. Because the sperm is inserted in the vagina, we do not recommend you purchase MOT5 straws for ICI treatment.
If you want to see a webinar regarding the process of ordering donor sperm at Cryos, then click on the Youtube link below.
Remember to reserve straws for siblings
When you buy sperm for fertility treatment, we recommend that you reserve donor sperm from your chosen donor for your entire treatment. Most people will need more than one treatment before they become pregnant.
We also recommend reserving straws to use in the future if you wish to have genetic siblings for your child. Most people want to use the same donor for siblings, and by reserving donor sperm, you can make sure that your children are genetically related.
If you want to read more on the reservation of donor sperm, follow the link to our page on the subject.
Ask your fertility clinic
The main takeaway from this is that clinics may have different preferences and therefore, it is always a good idea to talk to your clinic before you order the donor sperm.
We hope that the article was helpful. If you have more questions before you order from our Sperm Donor Search, you are always welcome to contact Cryos’ Customer Care. We are ready to guide you. If you have not found the perfect fertility clinic for your treatment, we can recommend you read this guide on how to find the right fertility clinic for you.
Frequently asked questions about the amount of sperm needed
How much sperm is in a straw?
A straw contains 0.5 millilitres of sperm. Whether the sperm has been washed or not depends on the specific type of straw. You can choose between ICI and IUI sperm straws, where IUI straws have been washed and ICI straws have not.
What is a straw of sperm?
A straw of sperm is a term used to describe the container used in fertility treatment with donor sperm. The sperm is packed, stored, and shipped in straws of 0.5 millilitres, to create the simplest process for every party involved.