By Andrea Rodrigo BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/08/2016

Sperm donation can be a fertility option both in the treatments of intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF). This article shall explain all about IVF when donor sperm is used, regardless of whether donor or own eggs are used.

In case the eggs used come from the prospective mother, then we are talking about donor conception just by sperm donation. In case both reproductive cells have been donated, then it would be a case of double-donor IVF.

Even though technically, the process of IVF works equally, the origin of the gametes—whether from the prospective parents or donors—can lead to some variations related to the fertility treatment chosen. You will find which these variations are when donor-sperm IVF is the chosen type.

IVF using donor sperm

In vitro fertilization can be carried out either using fresh or frozen gametes. When fresh donor sperm is used, the only thing the patient has to do is delivering a semen sample on the same day the woman undergoes follicular puncture to have her eggs retrieved.

Once the semen sample has been examined, it will be washed though sperm capacitation or washing and used for in vitro fertilization, either conventional IVF or through ICSI. The selection of the one type or another of fertilization technique will depend on the quality of the semen sample.

In case the semen sample was collected from an anonymous donor, it must have been previously frozen, something that ruled out the possibility of undergoing a fresh IVF cycle on the part of the male reproductive cells.

Every semen sample collected from an anonymous sperm donor must be frozen throughout a minimum period of 6 months. This period of time is required in order to check wether the donor if free from the HIV infection. After this quarantine period, and provided that the HIV test shows a negative result, the donated sample may be used.

In addition to serological tests related to the detection of infections, sperm donors have to undergo a series of specific tests, such as:

  • Karyotype testing
  • Semen analysis
  • Semen culture
  • Blood type and Rh factor
  • Psychological evaluation

Donor-sperm IVF is indicated in cases of women willing to become single mothers and also in cases of severe male factor infertility.

Anonymous donation

Greek law 3305/2005 regarding Medically Assisted Reproduction established that sperm donation must stand for a completely anonymous procedure; therefore, the donor recruitment process is in the hands of the fertility clinic or center in which the receiving couple is undergoing the treatment.

According to provisions set out in this law, neither the donor nor the prospective parents or recipient woman can get detailed personal information about one another. Apart from that, recipients can ask the clinic for general information about the physical characteristics of the donor, like height, weight, skin, eye, and hair color, etc.

Access to personal data about the donor is classified information. Only the donor-conceived child will be granted access on severe medical grounds or when his life is at stake.

Another important aspect addressed in Greek law is the limit on the number of offspring a sperm donor may give rise to. Thus, sperm donation in Greece has a limit of 10 children carrying the same genetic material.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information
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One comment

    1. Jey Jey

      Hello, I want to donate my sperm. I live in Athens and wish to help women become mothers. But I don’t mind my identity being revealed, if this helps me make friends… then it’s wonderful! What if we do a DIY insemination and that’s all? Everything would happen between us.