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How to Get Pregnant with Donor Sperm #1: Preconception Exams

January 18, 2021

Learn about the first step for getting pregnant with donor sperm, preconception exams

how to get pregnant with donor sperm blog banner - preconception exams

Starting the process of getting pregnant with donor sperm can seem like a daunting task. There are questions about sperm vial type, blood type, and much more. So, what are the first steps? With the help of our Pacific Reproductive Services, RN, Kate Wisda, Fairfax Cryobank will be giving our readers the inside scoop on how to get pregnant with donor sperm. In a 3-part series, we will be covering, preconception exams, living a healthier lifestyle, and picking a donor. To ensure you do not miss a post, sign up to be notified when a blog post has been uploaded here. The first step that will be covered is preconception exams, read on to learn more.

Step 1: Seeing Your Doctor

Call your Primary Care Provider or OB/GYN and ask for a Preconception Exam.

Why get a Preconception Exam?

  • Determine that pregnancy is a healthy choice for you
  • Identify factors that may affect your pregnancy
  • Increase chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby

What will it entail?

A) Blood Tests (and maybe an injection or 2)

Determine Blood Type and Rh Factor

Blood types are inherited from either mother or father. While you can typically pick a donor with any blood type (ABO, +/-) it is important to know your blood type ahead of time because of the Rh factor (aka the + or – attached to the blood type). During pregnancy, problems can occur if you are Rh-negative and your fetus is Rh-positive. These problems are easily prevented by a series of injections (RhoGAM) before and after delivery.

If this is not your first pregnancy, your provider may want to check for the presence of antibodies against Rh+ blood with a Coombs blood test. A positive result will likely impact which donor you pick.

determining blood type and rh factor blood cells
Photo Source: https://www.stlukes-stl.com/health-content/pregnancy/3/100217.htm

Infectious Disease (HIV, Chlamydia/Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Hep B, C, syphilis, etc.)

Check to protect your family: you, your partner and especially your baby. You can always trust that your Fairfax donor has been thoroughly tested for infectious diseases per strict FDA requirements.

Immunity/Vaccines

Check your immunity to Rubella and Varicella. While you may experience only mild symptoms from these diseases during pregnancy, they can put your baby at risk for serious disabilities.

Get vaccinated: Influenza (flu) vaccine, tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.

Fertility Testing

This testing is also recommended for 35 years and older.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)

The AMH test is a  simple blood draw to determine the number of eggs still present in your ovaries. AMH can also help you determine the best fertility procedure for you.

anti-mullerian hormone as indicator of fertility graph

If your egg count is high, then in-home insemination or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be right for you. If your egg count is low, IVF may be your only viable option. A low AMH is also an indicator to start trying right away. Once your egg count is low, it tends to decrease rapidly over the next couple of years.

For a more thorough fertility assessment, your provider may also want to additionally draw a full hormone panel.

General Health

Being in good health will help increase your chances of getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Ask for blood draws to check for anemia, vitamin D deficiency, thyroid function, and other general organ functions.

Genetic Disease

Discuss your personal and family’s genetic risks with your doctor to prevent the passing of certain inherited diseases to your baby. Getting tested can help you pick the best, most compatible donor for you so you can be aware of what genetic diseases to avoid when picking your sperm donor.

Autosomal Recessive chart
Photo Source: https://fairfaxcryobank.com/expanded-genetic-disease-testing

Remember, genetics is a new and complicated field, lean on your provider for guidance. If you have specific questions about donors who test positive for a genetic disorder, please feel free to reach out to Fairfax Client Services for assistance.

B) Preventative Screenings (as recommended)

  • Pap Smear -cervical cancer screening; make sure you’re up to date before getting pregnant
  • Manual breast exam – recommendations have changed so ask your provider if they do manual palpation of breast tissue; address any lumps or bumps before getting pregnant
  • Mammogram- >40 y.o. ask your provider if you need a mammogram

C) Pre-Existing Conditions: Prepare and Prevent (if applicable)

Check-in with your specialist (Endocrinology, Psychiatry, Neurology, etc) to ask how your condition can best be managed in pregnancy. Know your treatment options and change or discontinue medications as needed. Get a referral to a specialized OB (if needed). You may even need time to stabilize your condition before trying to conceive. 

Read on to part 2 here – How to Get Pregnant with Donor Sperm #2: Making Changes for a Healthy Lifestyle

Kate Wisda PRS RN
Guest Contributor: Pacific Reproductive Services, RN, Kate Wisda

RESOURCES: 

1) https://www.womenshealth.gov More than typical .gov site.  This is one of my favorite resources for patients, as it is very easy to read and there are some great tools ie. Ovulation calculator, healthy diet plans, etc. You can find videos, webinars, A-Z indexes and more. And it’s all up-to-date and 100% ACCURATE!

2) https://www.acog.org/ This is the do-all end-all for women’s health. ACOG defines best practice for OB/GYN’s. Not always easy to read but very thorough.  Your questions will be answered.                                                                                                                                                                        

3) www.cdc.gov/treatingfortwo  Like womenshealth.gov with the multimedia tools (videos, podcasts, A-Z index, etc.). Some info is basic, some are more advanced with health professionals in mind- ex.) “Guidelines and Recommendations for Treating and Managing Health Conditions During Pregnancy” and “Safer Medicine Use in Pregnancy.” 

Remember: No matter what your questions are or what you want to learn, your provider is always your best resource for your personalized needs.  Always consult with your provider before making changes to your treatment plan.

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