International Cryogenics' frozen sperm program was organized over forty years ago, and provides one of the highest quality services available to physicians and patients working in the field of infertility. Donors are selected and screened to provide the highest quality specimens and standards in quality control.
Donor specimens are quarantined for a minimum of six months. From the time the specimens are collected throughout the six month quarantine period, the donors undergo extensive screening and testing exceeding the required testing guidelines of the FDA. Many of the tests are repeated numerous times prior to the release of the specimens for use.
We get most of our donors from the local medical schools, dental schools and medical residency programs or by referral from current donors or people associated with our facility. Many sperm banks strive to be the largest bank, with a long list of donors to select from. We feel it is more important to be selective in choosing our donors and provide high quality specimens that are thoroughly tested.
In the area of donor identity, special precautions are taken. A donor is given a code for identification of his specimens and his medical records. The actual name of the donor is never linked with his semen specimens or his records and would never be released for any reason. Our donor program is strictly anonymous; we do not offer donors that agree to have their identity released when the child reaches eighteen years of age. There are no records in our facility or in the physician's office linking the name of the donor with that of the recipient.
Careful tracking is done to monitor and limit the number of pregnancies per donor. Donor Pregnancy Tracking Forms are sent to the physician with the initial shipment requesting follow-up information be supplied to inform us if a pregnancy occurred. To ensure that we are able to accurately monitor the number of pregnancies on each of our donors it is important that all pregnancies be reported to us as soon as possible. Tracking form should be returned via fax or mail as soon as possible if a pregnancy occurs or if you stop using the donor. Patient can also call us to report a pregnancy.
Making the Decision to Undergo Donor Insemination
We strongly recommend patients be counseled regarding the decision to undergo Therapeutic Donor Insemination or TDI. We hope the following information is helpful in making this decision.
There are over 5,000 babies born each year in United States conceived by artificial insemination with donor sperm or TDI. The procedure was first performed in the United States in 1884 surrounded by much secrecy. Over 100 years later, TDI is still poorly understood. There are medical, psychological, religious and legal issues, which need to be considered; yet many couples thinking about TDI don't have the necessary information in order to make a well-informed decision.
People decide to choose Therapeutic Donor Insemination for many reasons. One reason is male infertility, due to either the total absence of sperm (Azoospermia) or severe problems with sperm count, motility, or morphology (shape). In addition, a man may have chosen sterilization through vasectomy and not wish to undergo the reversal surgery, which isn't always successful. He may have been exposed to radiation or chemotherapy for an illness such as cancer. Some men may choose TDI to avoid transmitting a genetic disease such as Huntington's Chorea or Tay-Sachs.
Women may make the decision to go with TDI because she may desire a child but not a relationship with the biological father. Same sex couples may choose to utilize TDI to pursue their family dreams.
Adoption is a wonderful option for many couples or single parents. There are distinct advantages to Therapeutic Donor Insemination. Patients can go through pregnancy knowing that they are providing the kind of prenatal care and protection that they want for their baby. They have the opportunity to prepare for childbirth and participate in labor and delivery. They can bond with the baby from the moment of birth. They go to their physician knowing the genetic background of themselves and the donor they have selected and there is a good likelihood of family resemblance.
Questions about the health of babies conceived through donor insemination reveal yet another advantage to this choice: the rate of congenital birth defects in our nation is about 6% (half of these are considered "minor"). Studies have shown the incidence of birth defects in TDI babies to be less than 1%.
The secrecy aspect of donor insemination can be another difficult decision to make. Do you tell your friends and family that you are considering inseminations or that you conceived your pregnancy through donor inseminations? If you don't plan to tell your child that he or she was conceived through donor insemination, we recommend not telling anyone. This is not something that you want your child to accidentally hear from someone else. Whether to tell the child they were conceived through TDI is a very personal and sometimes difficult decision to make. Unlike adoption the biological father's identity would never be released to the recipient or the offspring. However, with the ancestry DNA testing services available it is impossible to ensure that your child would not discover this information in the future through one of these services.
Making one of the most difficult decisions of your life without the help of relatives and friends increases the anxiety of deciding to go the route of donor insemination. One solution that we have found to be helpful is for patients to seek a psychologist or counselor that is trained in this area. Patients can then have open discussions about their concerns and feelings regarding donor insemination.
Patients should be counseled about the completeness of the fertility evaluation, the prognosis, and deciding a reasonable time frame to keep trying. How long is realistic for you as a couple to keep trying to conceive? Generally it is thought that if a pregnancy has not occurred after 6 months to 1 year of well-timed artificial inseminations with the husband's specimens, and in the absence of severe female infertility problems, it may be time to make a decision about what to do next. If the woman's age is a factor it may be advisable to shorten that time period, so that the option of invitro fertilization or donor inseminations can be explored.
Many couples have gone to a number of different doctors, endured numerous tests and assisted reproductive procedures such as sperm washing and intrauterine inseminations and IVF with the husband's sperm without success. It seems like there is no end in sight as more time, effort and money are invested. The greater the vested interest, the harder it is to let go of your goal, even though you begin to feel maybe it would be a relief if you were told to stop.
When a couple is told they have little to no chance of conceiving a child without the aid of TDI it is a very emotional time. Do you accept the prognosis that there is little if any possibility of a pregnancy occurring with the husband's sperm specimen? It is even more difficult when the semen analysis is classified as sub-fertile which makes pregnancy unlikely, but not impossible, especially with the reproductive technology available today. If you are waiting to be told that a pregnancy with the husband's specimen is not possible, it may never happen. Waiting for such absolute terms can be a trap, because in medicine these terms are rarely used, as the human body can be very unpredictable.
A couple should not begin TDI immediately after learning that the husband has either an untreatable infertility problem or that treatment appears to be unsuccessful. Both husband and wife need time to absorb the shock and accept the fact that he will not be able to have a biological child. Grief can be expressed in many ways. Feelings of intense sadness, anger and loss of self-esteem are common. The wife is also struggling to deal with her reactions. She is feeling many of the same emotions and may feel guilty that she still has the possibility of conceiving and that she still wants a pregnancy. Infertility and the feelings that accompany it can be one of the most difficult times your marriage will endure.
TDI should not be consented to out of a sense of guilt caused by a spouse's pressure. It is advisable to consider all possible options of assisted reproduction prior to making a decision to go with TDI. Both partners need to be totally resolved that all options of conceiving as a couple have been exhausted. There will come a point when despite your doubts and fears, other ways of becoming a parent will begin to be acceptable to you. In order to accept the idea of parenthood through TDI (as well as adoption) you need to separate the desire for a joint biological pregnancy from the desire for parenthood. How important is it for you to have a genetic link in order to love your baby? How do you define parenthood? Is it the biological aspect, or is parenthood someone that raises the child with daily love, support and nurturing?
In some cases the second child born to these couples will be the biological offspring of both husband and wife. This can be due to improved fertility in both the wife (full term pregnancy often improves fertility) and husband (sperm factors can improve over time for many reasons). When both husband and wife have impaired fertility, it makes obtaining a pregnancy very difficult. Often just improving on either male or female fertility factors makes the difference in obtaining a pregnancy.
Selecting a Donor
Selecting a donor is a very important decision for a patient. We understand how disappointing it is when a patient makes a donor selection only to be told that the donor is no longer available. We try to only keep donors on our list that have a good inventory. This increases our ability to provide patients with the same donor for repeat cycles if needed. Every patient is different when it comes to what is the most important factor in his or her donor selection. Some patients are very concerned with matching physical characteristics and or personality, while others are more concerned with ethnic background or medical history.
Please see the blood type chart prior to selecting a donor if matching blood type is important to you.
When you are selecting a donor, it is important that you know if your physician requires that you order washed, unwashed or ART Quality specimens. Washed specimens are prepared for intrauterine inseminations. Unwashed specimens are used for cervical inseminations or they can be washed at your physician's lab prior to an insemination/IVF procedure. ART Quality specimens are only suitable for IVF procedures as they have fewer motile sperm per vial. When viewing the donor list it will note if the donor has washed (IUI), unwashed (ICI)or ART Quality specimens available.
Pre-washed specimens save time and money of washing the specimen in the physician's office. If a donor does not have pre-washed specimens available the physician may have the ability to wash the specimens in their office if intrauterine inseminations or an IVF procedure is planned. If you are going to a physician in the Detroit metro area, and your selected donor does not have pre-washed specimens available, we can thaw and wash specimens at our facility prior to your appointment for insemination. This would require the patient to make an appointment and to pick up and transport the washed specimen to the physician's office.
When using frozen sperm it is advisable to inseminate two times per cycle, thus blanketing the ovulation period. Research has shown an increased rate in pregnancy when multiple inseminations are performed each cycle. The average pregnancy takes approximately 4-6 cycles of inseminations before conception occurs.
Our staff is happy to answer patient's questions and aid them in selecting a suitable donor. You can view the short profiles of the donors on this website by clicking the donor code number on the donor list that matches closely with your desired physical characteristics.
If the patient or their physician would like additional information on the donors prior to making a selection, for a small fee extended profiles can be provided. These profiles are twelve to eighteen pages long and offer additional information regarding the donor's physical features and personality. They also provide more extensive information regarding the donor's family medical history, special interests, hobbies, and physical characteristics for three generations of his family. The extended profiles are available by calling our lab (248) 397-8449.
Subsequent pregnancies with the same donor
We feel it is very important for patients to have the option of using the same donor for subsequent pregnancies. Our facility attempts to store specimens on each of our donors for that purpose, making it possible for offspring to be biologically related. Sometimes a donor has a limited inventory, so availability may be limited for subsequent pregnancies. If a donor is no longer on the current donor list, it does not mean that we don't have specimens remaining in storage for subsequent pregnancies. Patients should call our lab to check availability.
There are two options when it comes to using the same donor for a subsequent pregnancy:
Option 1: Patients that want to guarantee availability of the same donor for future pregnancies can pre-purchase up to six vials of the requested donor at the time they conceive their initial pregnancy and pay yearly storage fees for us to maintain them. This is the option that we highly recommend if you wish to use the same donor for a subsequent pregnancy. If specimens have not left our facility and the patient no longer wishes to continue storage, we may opt to buy the specimens back at a discounted rate. This will depend on our inventory of the donor, and if we thought we would have any use for the specimens. Storage fees are not refundable.
Option 2: We make every attempt to put aside a number of vials of each donor for subsequent pregnancy inseminations. These specimens are only available to patients that have previously conceived a child by that donor. Patients may choose not to pre-purchase specimens and may decide to take the chance that there will be specimens remaining of their donor when they are ready to initiate inseminations for a subsequent pregnancy. If there are specimens remaining and the donor is only available for subsequent pregnancies, patients interested in using these specimens must pay a storage fee at the time the first order is placed. This fee is to cover the cost of the additional storage tanks and the liquid nitrogen required to maintain these specimens. The fees are figured from the date of last conception until the time the patient returns for each subsequent pregnancy. At the present time the fee is $150.00 per year of storage. We do not charge for partial years. (If you wait two and one half years between pregnancies you would only pay two years of storage fees) If you wait longer than three years between pregnancies $450.00 is the maximum storage fee we charge.
The subsequent pregnancy storage fee is due at the time of the first shipment of specimens. Once this fee is paid, six vials of the requested donor will be reserved for the recipient for 8 months. If the patient needs more than the reserved six vials, we will continue to supply additional specimens on a month-to-month basis for as long as they are available. Patients should periodically check with us on the availability of their donor if they don't plan to pre-purchase specimens. If the donor inventory is very limited they may change their minds and opt to pre-purchase specimens and pay yearly storage fees.