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Donor sperm... Where from? Things to consider? How many rounds?

(19 Posts)
closephine85 Sun 07-Jan-18 21:15:25

So after 4 years of secondary infertility (2 failed IVFs and multiple failed IUIs with DHs sperm) it’s looking like donor sperm with iui is our next step. I have a few questions I’m hoping someone on here could answer for me:

- Where do you get the sperm from? I’ve looked on Cryos bank briefly and the London sperm bank, there seemed to be quite a big difference in cost. Is there anywhere else I should be looking?

- Does your blood type/the donors blood type bear any reference on whether it may work or not? I’ve seen it’s listed so wondered why, are some incompatible/less likely to work?

- All my tests have come back good however, I cannot rule out that there isn’t still an underlying issue with my own fertility that is contributing, therefore I’m wondering, roughly how many iui attempts should it take for a woman with no fertility issues to fall pregnant? (I’m 32).

- is there anything else on the physical/biological side of things that we should be thinking about in order to increase the chances of it working?

Thanks very much in advance to anyone who might be able to answer some of these questions for me.

closephine85 Wed 10-Jan-18 06:58:57


helterskelter99 Wed 10-Jan-18 07:00:46

No idea re iui but with Ivf they say it should work in 3 goes

Fertility friends will have more info

helterskelter99 Wed 10-Jan-18 07:02:13

Link to relevant forum on FF

HappyHippyHippo Wed 10-Jan-18 20:03:51

It's a while since we did this (the first result of this is now 5) but I think I concluded that there were benefits to using an HFEA registered donor, tho I can't exactly remember what they were, I'm sorry. I think it's things like the children being able to access the donor register when the come of age. I think that's London sperm bank - tho I think it was called something else when we started, so I could be wrong.

Re blood type - no not important to whether it works (unless you were previously pregnant and you are rh -ve and you delivered a rh+ve baby without having anti D, which I don't suppose is the case).
I had a quick Google and the reason it's on there is that in the USA people choose a donor that matches the husband/partner for "anonymity reasons" Ie if you want to pretend that dad is the biological father without being busted when the blood typing is done. In some places blood type is quite public eg on drivers license. I would always be open and upfront with children anyway about there conception so that wouldn't be a consideration for me.

When we did it, they used to recommend 6 Iuis, but apparently now the consultant says that he recommends 2 or 3 and then moving on to ivf if it hasn't worked.

I had 7 iui (2 pregnancies but both miscarried) and found it iui hard going because, although the procedure is a breeze compared with ivf, you do have to drop everything at relatively short notice - which was hard with my job. The planning of IVF was a relief.

We have 3 lovely lovely children so I completely recommend the donor sperm experience smile
Good luck.

HappyHippyHippo Wed 10-Jan-18 20:09:44

Oh one other thing to consider is cmv status. (Cytomegalovirus). If you are cmv negative you should use sperm from a cmv negative donor. If you are cmv positive it doesn't matter either way.

INeedNewShoes Wed 10-Jan-18 20:17:02

Blood type shouldn't matter.

I used a clinic in Denmark for IUI so naturally used the European Sperm Bank based there. The donors are well vetted. Only 1 in 20 of the men who apply to be donors are accepted so things are done thoroughly.

Treatment in Denmark was roughly a third of the cost of the UK and standards are very high.

The official statistic is that most women will be pregnant within 5 iui attempts.

I got a BFP on all 4 of my attempts at the age of 34. It turned out I was losing them due to a clotting disorder but if it hadn't been for that it all would have been easy for me!

For IUI very close monitoring for LH surge will help a successful outcome.

Elementally Wed 10-Jan-18 20:21:55

I would say choose a donor with features similar to yours rather than your DH's e.g. height, hair colour. It just leaves less room for people to wonder about what the donor was like and fewer slightly awkward conversations. Eg, if you're quite short and you use a tall donor and have tall children you will get umpteen questions about where they get their height from.

CharlieandLolaCat Wed 10-Jan-18 21:14:03

It's been a while since I did it (DS is now 4) and things may have changed but:-

- I went for London Sperm Bank. I liked that DS would be able to track down the donor relatively easily if they wanted to. I’m also a single mother by choice and therefore didn’t care what my DS looked like so I just wanted someone tall and clever (which you can only tell from educational level but it is an indicator ...).

- I don't think so but I am sure there will be someone else on here that is better informed than you. That said, I am sure there is a thing where there could be complications if you, the are mother rhesus positive and have a rhesus negative child but I'm sure this can be managed and let's face it, I clearly don't know what i am talking about on this one and I don’t think it has any bearing on conception.

- I had no known issues and I remember calculating it was roughly a 1 in 6 chance for me but I was older than you. It is essentially a slightly higher chance than sex as it is slightly more targeted. In the event it took three months but one month I had a double insemination. You’ll find out more about your cycle than you ever thought possible, but they’ll help you, I used to have scans to identify when I was ovulating, injections to stimulate ovulation and then drugs to prolong my luteal phase. Obviously it all costs but was so worth it for me.

- The only other thing I did (and it’s probably complete bollocks but I did get pregnant on the one month I did this), was eat a Brazil nut each day. They contain selenium which thickens the uterine wall and aids implantation. Only have one a day though as otherwise you’ll have too much of a good thing.

Good luck, best thing I ever did.

CharlieandLolaCat Wed 10-Jan-18 21:14:42

*better informed than me .... blush

closephine85 Wed 10-Jan-18 21:34:24

Thanks everyone for getting back to me, really helpful grin

Pardon my ignorance Happy but what is cmv-/+?

We have a 6 year old DS so I guess I would know if the rheus -ve thing was a problem. I’ve actually got no idea what mine or DS’s blood types are!

We’ve been through both iui and ivf before so I know what to expect from that side of things, it’s just the donor sperm aspect that is all new and a bit daunting at the moment. Hoping to go for it on my March cycle!

HappyHippyHippo Thu 11-Jan-18 13:03:02

This is off the top of my head so cross check with Google but I think this how the cmv thing works:
Cmv is a very common virus that probably 70% of people have had by adulthood. You would have not symptoms, or maybe a couple of days with lemsip, but nothing major/noticeable - just another mild viral thing.
The time it causes problems is if one were to catch it in pregnancy. There's a chance of it crossing the placenta and if baby then catches it there's a small chance of disability- but potentially really significant disbility -learning difficulties, deafness and blindness...
Once you have it, it stays in your body forever but dormant because you have antibodies too.
So I think the concern is that If you are cmv negative, cmv +ve donor sperm could infect you and thus you risk becoming pregnant and catching cmv at the same time.
I've no idea whether the risk is proven or theoretical. But I didn't want to take the chance of finding out...
All the sperm donors we looked at had cmv status listed as a 'characteristic'. We had a blood test at the fertility clinic to see whether I had ever had cmv and I hadn't, so we were advised to pick a cmv -ve donor.
If you are cmv positive it doesn't matter because you already have antibodies and it's a bit like chicken pox in that you only catch it once.

Yes you would know about the rhesus thing if you already delivered a baby with normal antenatal care (in the uk or somewhere with similarly good maternity care. They check your blood type at booking appt for this)

Good luck for March.
The donor thing seemed big at the time but now I just vaguely think from time to time that he must be lovely cos our kids are so great.... ;)

INeedNewShoes Thu 11-Jan-18 16:27:37

My clinic put my mind at rest about the CMV thing. Donors are tested at the time of donating, for active CMV and their sample wouldn't be used if they tested positive. So even CMV positive donors should be fine especially because in addition to the fact that they shouldn't be shedding the virus at the time of donating if there were traces of the virus in the sample the 'washing' process would likely remove it.

After doing some reading and talking to my clinic I took the decision to go ahead with a CMV+ donor even though I tested negative.

HappyHippyHippo Thu 11-Jan-18 18:16:50

Cool INeedNewShoes! It was nearly 10 years ago when we chose a donor and it was a Thing then - at least at my clinic.
But I was puzzled why it could matter so much as surely couples commonly get pregnant naturally where the woman is cmv -ve and the man is cmv +ve and congenital cmv problems seem rare, so the shedding thing makes sense.
That is great if they can screen now as I remember that only about 30% of donors were negative so it really narrowed things down. Luckily the one we wanted was anyway but if that hadn't been available, there weren't many others to choose.

SeaWitchly Sat 13-Jan-18 23:23:12

closephine, just wondering if you might have you already spoken with a specialist fertility counsellor?
It is strongly recommended/encouraged by the HFEA that all patients have at least one session of implications counselling if they are considering donor treatment. Implications counselling is funamentally a supportive discussion around the legal, ethical and social implications of treatment, also things to think about in choosing a sperm bank and donor. Also often includes information about other relevant resources and support organisations, i.e research around the parenting of and experience of being a donor conceived child, the general experience of other patients in treatment and becoming parents, etc...
If you are having treatment via a fertility clinic they may have a counsellor in-house or a referral list of one or more to refer to you to externally.
Otherwise you can source an accredited fertility counsellor via this website - BICA's website is currently being redeveloped but their contact details are on the home page and they can send you a list of counsellors in and around your preferred location.

INeedNewShoes Sun 14-Jan-18 08:34:21

Every clinic I've ever heard about or researched insist on the counselling session anyway so don't pay for it separately if you will be doing this through a clinic.

SeaWitchly Sun 14-Jan-18 09:30:32

Yes, some clinics do offer counselling inclusive within the treatment package... but not all. Some offer unlimited counselling free of additional cost, for others a finite number, i.e one to three sessions.
Other clinics offer counselling to their patients but there is an additional fee per session.

It is worth looking at what counselling is offered when choosing a clinic imo.

closephine85 Fri 19-Jan-18 09:23:36

Hi all, thanks for the replies - we will be having implications counselling. I just wanted to use this thread to gain a better idea of the actual procedure rather than the other side of things.

Ive booked my CMV blood test. Can any one tell me whether sperm banks test for HPV? I can’t see it in the list of screenings so I’m assuming not? In which case, does any one know if it’s possible to be passed on the HPV virus through the use of donor sperm once it’s been washed etc?

MarieLondon26 Mon 16-Apr-18 13:49:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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