8 Ways to Increase Success with Donor Sperm
Using donor sperm to conceive and create your family is an excellent option for prospective parents and family types. People choose to use donor sperm when the parent or the couple doesn’t produce viable sperm; which includes single moms by choice, female same-sex couples, or those experiencing male factor infertility. Another reason is when a partner carries genetic conditions that the couple does not want to pass down.
Success rates with insemination using donor sperm depend on the procedure type and factors that affect any form of conception, like age, ovarian reserve, and overall health. It can take multiple attempts to achieve conception, so you want to do everything possible to increase your chances of success.
1. Meet with Your Healthcare Provider
The first thing to do is meet with your healthcare provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife, etc.) and create a plan. Assessing your baseline health is essential to ensure you’re in a good physiological place to conceive and carry a pregnancy. If you need to address anything health-wise, you want to do it ahead of time. This is also the prime time to discuss what type of procedure you’ll do (IUI or ICI at your Dr’s office, home insemination, or IVF with or without ICSI). You can also ask for referrals to other providers that you may need, like a geneticist, fertility doctor, and/or an OB-GYN.
2. Complete Genetic Testing
Now is also the time to initiate any genetic testing you want done on yourself or your partner to be aware of what hereditary conditions you carry genes for. Expanded genetic testing empowers you with more information to pick a sperm donor who doesn’t share those same genetic traits. Reminder: You’ll want to do this well in advance of your planned insemination procedure, as results can take 4-6 weeks to process depending on the testing provider used.
3. Discuss Donor Characteristics & Criteria
As you’re waiting for your test results, do some deep thinking and sit down with your partner (if applicable), family, or trusted friends to list the factors most important to you when picking a sperm donor. You can select for everything from physical characteristics like height and hair color to education level and profession. Is it important to you that your baby’s genes share your heritage? Do you want them to resemble your partner? These are incredibly personal questions and it’s a good idea to be clear with yourself or within your partnership on what is and isn’t important.
4. Plan the Details and Timeline
Once you’ve gotten the preliminary steps done, it’s time to consider the details and timeline of your plan. It’s also important that your doctor sign off on your plan, so make sure you’re on the same page with them. Now is also a good time to start tracking ovulation and your overall cycle to put your potential insemination dates on the radar.
5. Include Loved Ones in Picking Your Donor
Now, the exciting part is picking the donor! You are selecting your child’s genetics, which can be thrilling and stressful. Decision fatigue is common, so take comfort in knowing that a reputable sperm bank is very selective about who they accept sperm from. Selecting your donor is a big deal, so you might consider sharing your plans with the person or people you trust most and go to for advice. Ultimately, the decision of choosing a donor is entirely yours, but being supported on your fertility journey by your close friends and family can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s also great to have a support system around to help see you through any challenges on the road to parenthood. If you want them to a part of the selection process, a fun way to involve your family and friends is having a Pick My Donor Party.
6. Purchase Enough Vials!
Once you’ve selected your donor, purchase enough vials of sperm for several insemination attempts in case the first one doesn’t work. If you already know you want multiple children, you may wish to purchase vials for subsequent pregnancies, too.
7. Set the Procedure Date After Tracking Ovulation
Work with your fertility doctor or OB-GYN to identify your most fertile day(s) to set a date for your insemination. Ovulation tracking strips that sync with apps to better predict your fertile window are also very helpful. This will be one of the most important parts of planning the delivery date of your specimen when you place your order. If you’re doing IVF, you’ll work with your medical professional to plan the steps, details, and timing of that process.
8. Prioritize Your Mental Health
Planning for your mental health and well-being is a big part of setting yourself up for insemination success, too. Consider what helps you handle stress and worry and build those practices into your insemination plan. Whether it’s exercise, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, or time with friends, keeping your mind-body connection dialed in will serve you well through the rollercoaster of fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood.
Be sure to explore our resources for more information on donor sperm, vial preparation types, and much more! Ready to start searching for your prospective donor? Use our search tool or explore our newest donors added to the website.