Infertility: Two Great Options – Donor Insemination & Egg Donation

Treating infertility is a difficult and lengthy process there are two very successful ways of treating infertility in males through donor insemination and for females through egg donation they both however come with their advantages and disadvantages.

Donor insemination is the method of treatment for male infertility if a man cannot produce viable sperm. The process involves a donor’s sperm is introduced artificially into the women’s cervix. There are advantages to this treatment including not passing on genetic disorders to your offspring, but it also comes with a few disadvantages such as a donor withdrawing their consent so you wouldn’t be able to have further children with that donors sperm.

Egg donation is another treatment for infertility specifically for women such as those who have no ovaries or are much older and have gone into menopause. It involves taking the donors eggs fertilizing them with sperm than surgically removing them and placing them into the receiving women who than carry’s the pregnancy to term.

This option carry’s advantages and disadvantages to it as well including that it’s a great option for women who can no longer physically conceive themselves they are able to carry a baby. One of the disadvantages are that it is a very lengthy process as it’s hard to find donors and finding donors in other countries may not have such a rigorous screening process as it does in Canada.

However both of these options for treating infertility come with risks as well and they both have emotional issues surrounding it when explaining to the child their origins.

Now I am going to go more in depth about both of these options to give you a better idea of not only what each option involves but the costs associated with them as well.

Donor Insemination

Donor insemination is the process where sperm is introduced into a women by artificially injecting sperm into the cervix. It can be injected through the vagina into the cervix which is called intracervical insemination or through the cervix into the uterus called intrauterine insemination.

The main reasons one might go through with this option for treating infertility is the male’s infertility and the fact that there are very poor success rates for treating it. Male infertility meaning either he is impotent or produces very little fertile sperm to have a good chance of fertilizing an egg. People also might go through this route because they want to prevent transmitting genetic diseases to their offspring such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s and many other genetic diseases.


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There are two procedures to inseminate the woman firstly using her partner’s sperm which is called homologous artificial insemination. Secondly is through a donor sperm called therapeutic donor insemination. The most common method to insert the sperm is by using a catheter including another method called direct intraperitoneal insemination. DIPI involves inserting sperm into a catheter with a needle which is inserted into the vagina.

Lastly there is direct intrafollicular insemination where an ultrasound is used to insert the sperm all of these methods require that the women’s fallopian tubes are healthy and normal.  Sperm is firstly frozen to keep them viable than introduced into the women’s cervix artificially at the time of her ovulation. The success rates are quite high and statistics from one fertility clinic in Ontario quote it as a 74% success rate for women who are under 35 years with no reproductive issues. Women who are over the age of 35 years are more likely to be less successful and may have a much longer time to conceive but most women will achieve pregnancy within 6 cycles.

There has also been a new technique of insemination called heterologous artificial insemination where the donor’s sperm and the husband’s sperm are mixed together and introduced into the women’s cervix.

This particular method is quite controversial as you couldn’t be sure of the likelihood of the offspring being from the husband’s sperm rather than the donor’s and isn’t used as quite as often. The costs associated with donor insemination vary purchasing frozen sperm from a donor bank can cost between $400 to $650 dollars not including shipping and there may also be costs for counselling at fertility clinics which could cost around $250.

The costs associated with donor insemination vary purchasing frozen sperm from a donor bank can cost between $400 to $650 dollars not including shipping and there may also be costs for counselling at fertility clinics which could cost around $250.

There are also costs associated with semen preparation which is $200 and fertility and ovulation kit predictors which could cost up to $50. Overall donor insemination has very good success rates low risks and low costs associated with it.

There are many advantages to having donor insemination as a treatment for infertility. One of the main ones is that genetic diseases that may normally be passed on can be avoided and great for male infertility if the male produces no sperm. Also because fertility clinics are regulated they must follow laws governing donor sperm which includes screening the sperm for HIV and infections so you know your offspring will not have any of these diseases or infections passed onto them.

Another advantage is that the man who donates his sperm has no legal rights or responsibilities to the child, so they cannot come back and try to take the resulting child away from whoever they’ve donated it to.

There are also a few disadvantages to donor insemination as treatment. When it comes to releasing an extra egg possibly because of fertility drugs if you had a cycle going and then you proceed with donor insemination you could have a double pregnancy. This could possibly lead to a few more complications than if you were just pregnant with one child. There could also be issues surrounding the fact that one parent wouldn’t be the biological parent and their feelings toward the child and how they deal with it. As well as your close family members who may not be so open to the idea of a child not genetically related to them.

As the child grows up there also has to be a point when you tell them about their origins and how they were conceived and that they are not genetically related to one parent and there could again be many emotional issues surrounding how the parents and child deal with this. This could also mean the child being able to trace who their biological father and implications if they do so.

There could also be a slight chance that the donor decides to withdraw their consent so maybe you had a child but then when you decide you would like to have another child you cannot because the consent has been withdrawn so there could be a lot of emotional issues around this.

Now I’ll explain more about the second option which is egg donation and the advantages as well as disadvantages to this option.

Egg Donation

Egg donation is where a donor egg is taken and fertilized with sperm than the embryo is transferred into the receiving women to carry the rest of the pregnancy.

The donor is screened for infectious diseases and genetic diseases before they can be allowed to donate their eggs as most people do not want this to be passed onto their offspring and they are usually under the age of 36.

The donor’s ovaries are stimulated and multiple eggs are removed to increase the chance of successful fertilization. The eggs are than fertilized with the partner’s sperm in a dish in a laboratory, those that become fertilized will than become a embryo. The woman receiving the egg must be hormonally synced with the donor woman, so she is prepared to carry the embryo;this means taking fertility drugs and needing a uterus but no ovaries are needed. The embryo is transferred into the receiving women with a catheter that goes into the uterus through the cervix. The embryo should than attach to the wall of the uterine if it does the women than becomes pregnant and can carry that pregnancy to term.

The usual women going for this treatment are women who have premature menopause, ovarian failure (menopause) or those women who are coming close to the end of the time for being fertile (perimenopausal).

Women may also go for this treatment if they have had many miscarriages or women who carry genetic disorders they would not like to pass onto their offspring. The donors are either unknown or known those who are known are usually friends or family members and unknown are complete strangers who they may never actually meet.

Egg donation can be a quite costly treatment as it can cost around $7,750 – $12,250 as it includes analyzing the semen the actual cost of the procedure as well as the cost of medications.

The success rate of egg donation is quite high at 25% to 40% chance of being successfully pregnant the rates are high than donor insemination because for men they can be donors up to the age of 45.  Egg donation can be a quite costly treatment as it can cost around $7,750 – $12,250 as it includes analyzing the semen the actual cost of the procedure as well as the cost of medications.

The main advantage of egg donation is that if you cannot conceive yourself this gives you the chance of being able to carry the pregnancy yourself. This is especially good for women who are much older over 40 or in their 50’s who have gone into menopause and are wishing to have the ability to have the experience of carrying their own child.


There are also a few disadvantages of having an egg donor one being it isn’t very simple to find an egg donor; making it very long process. Although one could have eggs from different countries, some countries do not have as rigorous of a screening process of genetic diseases and infections as Canada does making it a little risky. The issue of stress around whether the donor will be able to produce enough eggs and emotions of going through the uncertainty can also be nerve racking.

For egg donation there again can be issues surrounding the offspring’s origins and the questions that will arise in the future when the child must be told of their biological parent. Unlike donor insemination involving sperm, egg donation can come some risks to the donor as they must take medications to stimulate their ovaries and have their eggs surgically received.

Thus there are always risk associated with this that the donor must take as complications or possible infections could arise.  Legal issues and ethical questions can also arise concerning payment to the women who donates her eggs, as well as the question of commodifying offspring is a real issue. However sperm donors get paid so it would seemingly be unfair to not allow women to be paid for their eggs as well. However in Canada egg donors are not paid, so they are actually giving up their eggs quite voluntarily, they may have a few expenses paid but not much.

Both donor insemination and egg donation are very great options for people who are having trouble conceiving or are unable to conceive because of infertility issues. Donor insemination is a very good option to treat male infertility as it involves very little risk and cost wise is very low. It has a few downsides such as the possibility of a donor withdrawing their consent but genetic disease wise and infections are screened for so it’s quite safe and reliable.

Egg donation is also a very good treatment for women’s infertility as it involves using an egg from someone who again has been properly screened for any potential diseases or infections so you know your child will not carry any of these. However it does involve a much greater risk compared to donor insemination because there can be potential risk and complications when it comes to the woman donating her eggs. As egg donation does involve a surgical procedure and many infertility drugs it can be risky for both the donor and the woman receiving the egg.

In both cases the parents will have to deal with the issues surrounding the child’s origins and this can involve quite a few emotions as not being genetically related to both parents can arise in difficulties. In the end the success rates are reasonably high for both these options to treat infertility in men and woman and are both good options to consider for anyone who finds conceiving difficult for any variety of reasons.

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