Sperm donation is a method which allows couples to conceive, if the cause of infertility is the inability of men to generate viable sperm. This method is based on fertilization of partner's egg with sperms of foreign man without sexual intercourse. Donated sperms are incubated with female egg in the laboratory. This means that sperm and the egg come together and we wait for the fertilization. Therefore, the created embryo or embryos are inserted into the uterus. The entire process is performed in the centres of assisted reproduction. Scientific studies show that the number of sperms in one ml of ejaculate has decreased during the last decades. Fifty years ago, were normally around 100 million of sperms in one ml of ejaculate. Today, the number of sperms in one ml is around 60 million while the natural boundary of infertility is 20 million sperms per one ml of ejaculate. Sperm donation is completely anonymous. However, the idea of child to which the donor knowingly gave life and yet he will never know his child is unrealistic for many of us. This may be the one reason why there is shortage of sperms donors.
The male reproductive system consists of the testes, epididymis and excretory ducts, referred to as vas deferens. Vas deferens ends up in the prostate into the urethra and then leads out of the body. Formation of sperm is a very complex process that takes place in the testicles. The testes are convoluted system of tubules in which wall are germ cells located. The germ cells are formed in the process called spermatogenesis. Sperms are stored in the epididymis and are erected from the body in ejaculation during sexual intercourse. For proper development of sperms are male sex hormones required, mainly testosterone. Lower temperature in the testes, i.e. around 32°C, is also necessary for this process. This different temperature is due to ideal placement of testicles in scrotum which is an leathery pouch below the penis.
The course of sperm donation
Sperm donor can become any men aged between 18 and 35 years. Very strict rules are introduced in selection of candidates for donation in which is the quality and health of donated sperms defined. A man who wants to donate sperms, must apply for the donation in one of the centres for assisted reproduction. After completing the questionnaire is the date of collection set up. 2-3 days of sexual inactivity are essential before the sampling. The collection of semen is done by masturbation in a quiet room and the ejaculate is stored in the sterile container. Afterwards, the sample from collected sperms is taken and investigated in several ways. Firstly, the sperm count is performed. The sperm count is a test that assesses the quality of semen. It aims on the total volume of ejaculate, the number of living sperms in 1 ml of semen, the pH of the sample, the fluidity and time of liquefaction, the amount of carbohydrates, and in particular on the quality of sperms. The percentage of living sperms, percentage of healthy sperms and sperms motility is evaluated. After that, the presence of various antibodies in the sample is traced. The genetic test that is designed to eliminate genetically defective samples is also performed. Likewise, the donator's blood and urine is tested for infectious and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and hepatitis B and C. However, the HIV test takes a very long time. It is necessary to perform tests and overall examinations which assess the positivity or negativity of HIV, this process lasts six months. Accordingly, the sample of sperms is frozen and stored in spermbank. If the sample is negative for HIV, sperms are available for the donation. Optimal donor of sperms is selected according to the questionnaire. The most suitable candidate for donation is selected by infertile couple according to the questionnaire in which is information about donors blood type, hair and eyes colour, and his figure.
Introduction of donated sperm
The woman is prepared for donation of sperms accordingly to selected method of assisted reproduction, i.e. intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). In intrauterine insemination (IUI) are specially prepared sperms introduced directly into the uterus. This eliminates the distance that sperms have to travel to reach the egg and increases the chances of successful fertilization. If in vitro fertilization (IVF) is chosen as a method of assisted reproduction, the woman is beforehand stimulated by female sex hormones which are designed to ensure a higher number of matured eggs in the ovaries. Afterwards, the matured eggs are removed from the ovaries with thin needle under the control of ultrasound. The collected eggs are fertilized with donated sperms in the laboratory and this way fertilized egg or embryo is introduced into the uterus in which can new individual develop.
When to use donated sperms
The trend of use of donated sperms is receding because new methods of assisted reproduction which allow use of partner's sperms are developing. The use of donated sperms is recommended for couples in which is a very high susceptibility to genetically transmitted diseases from the partner, or in cases in which other methods of assisted reproduction have failed. As already mentioned in the introduction, donation of sperms is strictly anonymous. Recipients of donated sperms receive only the information related to the health of the donor and information about his appearance, and educational attainment.