Artificial Insemination (AI) can be done with the partner’s sperm or with donor’s sperm. Artificial insemination is often performed for mild male infertility, minimal or mild endometriosis, unexplained infertility and in combination with ovulation induction for ovulation problems.
Artificial Insemination is an easy procedure, which is done in the examination room of the doctor; it feels like a PAP smear. It is a non-invasive and non-expensive procedure with a good success rate. The partner brings in a sperm sample in the morning. The laboratory needs 2 hours to improve the sperm sample. The procedure itself is usually done in the late morning. A tiny flexible plastic tube is inserted into the uterine cavity.
The natural cycle of the woman can be followed with ultrasound and blood tests to check when ovulation occurs or stimulation can be given to grow eggs.
Artificial Insemination with Donor sperm is traditionally done for male infertility. However, since the invention of ICSI many men with low sperm counts can have their own biological child. Therefore it is usually reserved for men with no sperm cell production at all. Lesbian couples and single women may also request artificial insemination using donor sperm.
The sperm donor is selected prior to starting the treatment cycle. Information on the donors age, physical characteristics, occupation, medical / family history, hobbies and personality can be used to help choose an appropriate donor.
All donors complete a questionnaire to ensure they have no history of genetic disease or illness that may influence future offspring. In addition they must have a good semen analysis so that the sperm function will still be good after freezing and thawing prior to insemination. The donors have their blood and urine tested for any diseaeses. All donors are seen by a doctor and by a psychologist. A comprehensive semen analysis is done. The sperm can only be used after 3 months to ensure the donor is not in the window period of HIV infection.
Sperm donation in South Africa is anonymous and therefore the identity of the donor is legally protected. In the United Kingdom children born following sperm donation may be entitled to find out the identity of the donor, this is not the case in South Africa.
Cape Cryo Bank – www.capecryobank.co.za