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A Simple Guide to Choosing Your Sperm Vial

July 15, 2021

Ready to choose your donor but still have questions about which sperm vial type you need? Use this guide to help find your answer!

At Fairfax Cryobank, we want to make sure that you feel at ease when deciding what type of donor sperm vial is right for you. There are a few factors to consider when choosing your donor sperm vial including your clinic, the procedure, and what inventory is available from your chosen donor.

sperm sample extraction

This informational guide is to help you understand what is best for you – but always make sure to check with your physician to determine what specimen type is preferred for your chosen procedure.

Types of Sperm Vials

types of sperm vials

IUI – Intrauterine (IUI) or prewashed specimens. IUI ready specimens are prepared by washing the fresh ejaculate specimen to remove the seminal plasma contents prior to freezing.

ICI – Intracervical (ICI), standard or unwashed specimens. ICI specimens contain seminal plasma and require additional processing if used in procedures other than intracervical insemination.

IVF – In vitro fertilization (IVF), unwashed specimens. IVF specimens contain seminal plasma and may require additional processing. IVF specimens may be combined to increase sperm count numbers and can be used in an insemination.

IUI/ICI ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) vials have a slightly lower total motile cell count (TMC) than our IUI and ICI vials. The specimen quality standard for ART vials is > 6 million TMC per vials. ART vials can be used individually or combined for insemination.

Types of Insemination and What Sperm Vial to Choose

types of insemination procedures

In-office Intrauterine Insemination –  This procedure is done at your clinic with your medical provider using a catheter and syringe to place the sperm through the cervix and directly into the uterus. This process requires the seminal fluid to be washed out of the sperm sample. If you choose to do an in-office insemination, the most convenient option would be to purchase an IUI vial as it is prewashed and ready to go. If your chosen donor does not have IUI vials available, you can purchase an ICI vial, but you would need to confirm that your clinic is capable of washing the sperm sample. You can also combine two ART vials for an IUI procedure in-office.

Home InseminationThis procedure can be done in the comfort of your own home by inserting a needless syringe into the vagina and depositing the sperm onto the cervix. This process does not require the seminal fluid to be washed. The preferred option is to purchase an ICI vial, but you may still purchase an IUI vial if that is what your chosen donor has available. You can also combine two ART vials for home insemination.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) –  If you are working with a medical provider to achieve your pregnancy, you may purchase any vial for your procedure. ICI/IUI ART vials have a lower total motile cell count (TMC) as it will take fewer sperm to achieve pregnancy through IVF/ICSI, and it is offered at a lower cost.

choosing sperm vial type infographic

For more information on picking the correct vial preparation type, visit our Donor Specimen Information page or watch our YouTube video to learn more.

Choosing your prep type is only one of the many choices you make during the sperm donation process and be sure to always consult with your physician before making your purchase.

Take a look at our other blog posts like How Many Vials of Sperm Will I Need? and How to Get Pregnant with Donor Sperm #3: Choosing a Sperm Donor for further information and advice on the different decisions to be made during the sperm donation process.

Check out this blog, Two Moms and a Vial of Sperm written by first-time mamas in the making Chelsea and Katie Conrad about their decision-making process.

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