Sperm donation refers to the use of the sperms of a man other than the one who is about to become the father of the unborn child.
It involves an unrelated man who contributes a semen sample so that an infertile couple can use it for their own fertility treatment, thereby allowing them to become parents.
Within the Czech Republic, sperm donation is allowed and therefore every couple suffering from male factor infertility can turn to donor sperm in order to make their dream of being parents come true.
What follows hereon are the basic requirements for undergoing a fertility treatment with donor sperm.
Anonymity and unselfishness when donating
The Czech Law 227/2006 is the one responsible for regulating donor conception, either using donor sperm or donor eggs, as well as the many different fertility treatments and procedures that aim to solve reproductive issues.
This legal framework addresses sperm donation as a process that should focus on the following premises above all:
- Anonymity of the donor
- Donors must act altruistically and voluntarily
According to these characteristics, it is clear that, on the one hand, donor identity must remain undisclosed. On the other hand, the intended parents cannot get to know or obtain confidential information about the donor, although revealing general information such as certain physical features is allowed.
Neither donors can find out who their patients (i.e. recipients) were, nor meet the donor-conceived child.
Likewise, sperm donors must act in an altruistic manner, which means that the parties involved in the process can have no doubt that semen samples are neither for selling or buying purposes. Thus, donors are not allowed to get a financial benefit from the process, although they can be economically compensated in recognition of the significant inconvenience, time off work, and travel expenses derived from the process.
For a man to be eligible for sperm donation, in addition to follow the above listed premises, he must be aged 18 to 40, enjoy good physical and emotional health, and present an exceptional sperm quality.
Artificial insemination and IVF
Donor sperm can be used by every married heterosexual couple who find themselves unable to achieve pregnancy using the husband’s sperm, either because of poor sperm quality or genetic alterations present in the sample which could be passed to offspring.
The Law 227/2006 excludes both single women and homosexual couples from participation in assisted reproduction procedures.
Whenever a woman uses donor eggs to become pregnant, in vitro fertilization has to necessarily be the method of choice. However, if the donated gametes are the male reproductive cells, the couple could choose between two different fertility treatments:
- Artificial insemination: A portion of the pre-washed semen sample (sperm capacitation) is inserted into the female uterus. The objetive is that at least one sperm is able to reach the egg and fertilize it.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): The woman undergoes egg retrieval, and the eggs obtained are fertilized in the laboratory using the donated sperm. Then, the resulting embryos are transferred to the maternal uterus, waiting for them to implant and therefore lead to a successful pregnancy. It can be done through standard IVF or ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).
Choosing between the former or the latter method will depend on the woman’s characteristics, as a woman who has her tubes blocked or presents ovulation disorders is unable to undergo artificial insemination by donor (AID). Instead, she will have no choice but to turn to IVF.