Artificial insemination by donor (AID), also known as heterologous insemination, is where a donor's sperm is used to fertilise the woman's egg. This is a popular form of fertility treatment where the male partner has poor quality sperm, or in cases where there is no male partner. Although there are no laws preventing AID from being carried out at home, it's a procedure best performed in a fertility clinic. Using donor sperm involves legal and health issues that may prove problematic outside of a professional environment.
The British Andrology Society and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), issue guidelines to fertility clinics to ensure sperm donors are suitable for artificial insemination. The advice states that all donors should be between 18 and 45 years, be in good general health, and possess good sperm counts. Donors must also have no personal or family history of inherited disorders, nor any current infection of a sexually transmitted disease.
Prospective IUI sperm donors will usually be interviewed by fertility clinics to obtain a detailed medical history. They will then be screened for sexually transmitted infections as well as genetic disorders. In many clinics, every sperm sample produced will be quarantined for 6 months and the donor screened again before the original sample will be used.
Most clinics impose a limit on the number of artificial insemination treatments a donor's sperm can be used in. The actual limit can vary between clinics but a common figure is ten live births.
When choosing a sperm donor for artificial insemination, you will be able to choose particular characteristics that are to your liking such as race, height, weight and so on. Some clinics will be able to meet more of your preferences than others. Although it's only natural to want to specify the type of baby you are going to have, you shouldn't expect to control too much. Artificial insemination with donor sperm is still a very natural process, and nature doesn't always work out as quite as we thought.
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