The law governing medically assisted reproduction in the Czech Republic does not allow single women and lesbian couples to undergo this type of fertility treatment; only married heterosexual couples experiencing trouble conceiving can have access to IVF procedures.
Keeping this in mind, the use of donor sperm is limited to a reduced group of cases we mention in detail hereunder:
- Poor sperm quality
- The male partner has a genetic disease likely to be inherited by offspring
In the Czech Republic, sperm donors must remain anonymous. This means couples who turn to this fertility treatment to have a baby cannot choose their own sperm donor.
Inversely, they do have the right to “choose” the fertility treatment they will undergo. Provided that they meet all the requirements, the treatment of choice in the first instance is intrauterine insemination (IUI). Should the woman have problems such as blocked tubes, ovulation disorders, or diminished ovarian reserve, they should go for an IVF cycle.
The following sections shall provide you with information regarding the IVF process when donor sperm is used.
Poor sperm quality
There exist a number of causes related to the production of poor-quality sperm that can lead a man to suffer from infertility, and therefore a couple to have no alternative but to use donor sperm. The most common ones are:
- Oligospermia and cryptozoospermia: low sperm concentration
- Asthenozoospermia: sperm motility problems
- Teratozoospermia: sperm morphology alterations
- Azoospermia (non-obstructive and obstructive): zero sperm count
- Necrozoospermia: presence of dead sperm in the ejaculate
In general terms, when a man is diagnosed with any of the above listed pathologies, the first option is to try to solve it through ART: intrauterine insemination, standard IVF, ICSI, IMSI, etc. Sometimes, however, pregnancy is not achieved in spite of that.
It is in cases like the one described above, if more than one fertility cycle has failed, when sperm donation becomes the treatment of choice.
The high quality of donor sperm samples is justified by the fact that they have been collected from young, healthy males, without a family history of genetic diseases. For these reasons, sperm donation allows couples to solve their fertility issues, and therefore become parents, more often than not.
How different is IVF if using donor sperm?
In vitro fertilization with donor sperm presents almost no differences if compared to the conventional IVF process using the husband’s sperm. Indeed, the way in which the samples are handled, as well as the fertilization process itself, is the same.
The only difference between them is that IVF with the husband’s sperm allows fresh semen samples to be used, that is to say, right after being collected, as well as frozen samples. Conversely, donor sperm is always frozen when a donor delivers it to the clinic.
Frozen samples are stored for a particular period of time until it is proved that they are free from infections, and therefore it is safe to use them in a patient’s fertility treatment.
As regards the treatment for the patient, little variation can be found as well. If her own oocytes are to be used, ovulation induction is required, followed by follicular puncture, and finally the embryo transfer to her uterus.
Should donor eggs be used, then the only thing the intended mother has to do is going through the embryo transfer procedure. To that end, she should follow a pharmacological treatment for endometrial preparation, thereby boosting the chances of embryo implantation in the uterine cavity, that is, becoming pregnant.