Why Donor Sperm?
While most couples would prefer to have a child using the man’s sperm, this is unfortunately not possible in all cases. Sometimes, the man does not produce any sperm, or very few; in other cases, the sperm he produces are abnormal in shape, size, or motility, and are unable to fertilize an egg. Additionally, homosexual female couples require donor sperm to produce a pregnancy, and homosexual male couples may choose to use donor sperm rather than selecting one partner as the genetic father of the child. When using donor sperm, the couple is provided with certain information about the sperm donor, such as his physical characteristics, level of education, and other factors, but the sperm donor almost always remains anonymous if a sperm bank is used.
Donor sperm can be used in artificial insemination (ICI or IUI), or in IVF (with or without ICSI). The choice of how the sperm are used will depend upon whether the woman has any medical conditions that cause her to have reduced fertility.
If you’re choosing to use assisted reproductive technology, make sure you’re choosing it because you really want it, not to please someone else or to fit an imagined ideal. No one else can make the choice for you; it’s your body, and you’re in charge of it. After you do your research and understand the procedure, if you believe that the use of donor sperm is right for you, then proceed. You can learn more about the donor sperm procedure, its risks and benefits, in our Education Wiki.
The cost of using donor sperm is about $500. This can vary widely, depending upon which sperm bank is used, the type of storage, retrieval, and delivery that is chosen, whether the donation is anonymous or not, and sometimes the characteristics of the sperm donor.
Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual clinic, so you should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
While the cost of IVF usually includes all of the necessary parts of the procedure, some clinics may charge extra for certain parts of the procedure. For instance, fertility medications may not be included and may be an extra cost.
Additionally, the IVF fee does not usually cover the cost of storing any extra embryos. When eggs are retrieved and then fertilized, several embryos may be created. Only one or a few embryos will be transferred into the uterus during each cycle. If the woman becomes pregnant, there may be extra embryos that were created that were never transferred into the uterus. These embryos can be frozen for possible future use, but there will be an extra cost associated with their storage that is not usually included in the regular IVF cost.
Additionally, there may be additional procedures used as part of IVF. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, involves the sperm being directly injected into the egg, rather than simply placing the sperm along with the eggs in a dish. There is usually an extra cost for ICSI; see the ICSI Cost page for more details. Also, couples have the option of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In this procedure, one or two cells can be removed from each very early embryo and checked for genetic problems. Couples would then only transfer those embryos that are healthy. There is an additional cost for this extra step; see the PGD Cost page for more details.
Will Insurance Cover It?
Some insurance policies cover the cost of assisted reproductive technology, while others specifically exclude this type of treatment. In many cases, there will be only partial coverage of your treatment, or coverage will be limited to a certain number of cycles or certain types of treatment. You should check with your insurance company to determine your coverage before you begin IVF.
What Are the Financing Options?
To many people, paying thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many infertility clinics offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Assisted Reproductive Technology Financing page.