By Andrea Rodrigo BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 04/27/2016

It is not always possible that children and parents share the same genetic code. There are times when a man’s semen sample is insufficient to conceive, and therefore there is no other choice but to use donor sperm.

Poor sperm quality or the presence of genetic abnormalities likely to be inherited by offspring are the main reasons why a couple may need to turn to sperm donation.

This is the fertility treatment of choice for single women who decide to embrace single motherhood.

Likewise, lesbian couples wishing to have a child need a semen sample from a donor to achieve parenthood. Russian law, however, forbids that the LGBT community has access to assisted reproductive technology (ART).

To sum up, sperm donation is indicated for the following groups:

  • Straight couples with poor-quality sperm
  • Straight couples whose male partner has some genetic abnormality
  • Single women

Types of sperm donation

Sperm donation can be classified into various types according to the type chosen as a reference. This is the reason why we can distinguish between altruistic sperm donation or commercial sperm donation if we choose the economic factor as the reference value; on the other hand, one can speak of anonymous or non-anonymous sperm donation depending on whether the donor identity is disclosed or not.

If the donor is not paid for donating his sperm, then it would be an altruistic sperm donation. Conversely, if he is given an economic compensation after depositing a semen sample, we will be talking about commercial sperm donation.

As for the anonymity or confidentiality as regards sperm donor identity, we can distinguish two types:

  • Anonymous donors: Neither the woman who is about to undergo sperm donation nor her partner, if any, will ever meet the donor. Donors are not allowed to meet the recipients either.
  • Non-anonymous donors: In this case, the sperm donor is a trusted person of the receiving woman or couple, preferably a relative or a close friend. They won’t be allowed to know who is their donor or start a close relationship with him.

Should you have a preference for an anonymous sperm donor, his identity and any other identifiable information will remain confidential and only known by the staff of the fertility clinic. In spite of that, patients will be revealed some general information about the donor as well as certain physical characteristics, blood type, educational level…

Although Russian laws on assisted reproduction do allow non-anonymous sperm donations, this type of donation is not accepted by every fertility clinic. Some centers only accept anonymous sperm donors.

Assisted reproduction techniques

When a woman or couple needs to use donor sperm to achieve pregnancy, it is possible to choose between the following techniques: artificial insemination (AI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Depending on the particularities of each case, and especially on the fertility problem the patient has been diagnosed with, one type or another will be the most advisable.

For an artificial insemination to be properly carried out, it is necessary that the patient meets the following requirements:

  • Tubal patency: At least one Fallopian tube must be functional in order to allow the passage of sperms toward the egg.
  • Normal menstrual cycles: The egg itself must be capable of coming out of the ovary, and then reach the Fallopian tubes, where a sperm will be waiting for its arrival.

If one does not meet these criteria or it is a case of advanced maternal age, artificial insemination may not be the most adequate treatment to become pregnant. In such case, in vitro fertilization will be the treatment of choice.

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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. Eleanor Mc.

      And what about the costs in Russia? Because I’ve read all your post about different countries and I think Russia is the most lax one. I’d choose it definitely because I’d love to compensate generously my donor, it’s a great effort they make!!