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DownNotOut January 14th, 2013 06:47 PM

Use of donor sperm?
Hi everyone,

I'm new here, just learned today that we may have to use donor sperm with IVF and it came as a bit of a shock. I haven't even had a chance to talk it over with my husband yet (he's still at work), but just wanted to see if anyone on here has gone through something similar.

We recently found out that my husband's motility wouldn't allow for natural pregnancy and combined with some issues I have (Natural Killer Antibodies, low progesterone etc), we've been told IVF would be the best (only) option for us.

After a repeat sperm analysis, we have been bumped from our initial Feb IVF cycle date in order to see if some supplements may help my husbands' numbers (on the latest analysis he had no motile sperm.) So, now we're waiting for the April IVF date, but in the meantime, our doctor told us that we also need to decide if we're willing to use donor sperm in case his numbers do not improve by the time we do the retrieval.

So, now, I'm a) sad that we can't do the Feb IVF cycle and b) completely confused as to what to think about sperm donation.

While ideally I'd love to have a child that's biologically my husband and mine, I know I will love our child regardless of genetics. However, I'm worried about how my husband will feel.

Has anyone been through anything like this? Any words of advice?

I'd appreciate it.


Daisee37 January 15th, 2013 11:05 AM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Ingrid, sorry you're going through this. We have 2 children, conceived using donor sperm. My DH's sperm were poor on all counts--count, morphology, and motility. We did do IVF using his sperm, but after a failed transfer and then a chemical pg, we decided to switch to doing IUI using donor sperm. Perhaps more IVF with DH's sperm would've eventually worked, but DH was really concerned that maybe there's something genetically wrong, and that there would be something wrong with any children conceived using his sperm. Basically, he felt that if nature was saying he shouldn't biologically father children, then he didn't want to mess with that. So donor sperm it was. Now we're TTC #3, using the same donor. When we got pg with #1, we ordered 10 extra vials of sperm from the same donor, so that all our children could be biologically related and from one donor.

As far as advice, I'm not sure really what to say. It's weird, going through an online catalog of potential biological fathers. Do you want a music major or an engineer? Does it matter if he likes italian food or not? It's a very strange process.

The other issue that will come up is whether or not to tell the kids when they are older. We plan on telling them that DH isn't their biological father. I think it's important, for medical reasons, to know that part of their family history is uncertain, and so that they don't assume that whatever diseases run in DH's family are also in their blood as well. But I'm not looking forward to that conversation.

I think the main thing I've taken away from all of this is that in the nature vs. nurture debate, I've become a firm believer that nurture has more of an influence than anything else. My son is EXACTLY like DH, they even have some of the same mannerisms. But they're not biologically related. And DH has a great relationship with both kids, and it's not at all weird for him. BUT every person is different, and some guys might have more trouble with it than others. Fortunately, it's worked out for us and we don't regret our decision for a second. In fact, we still have some frozen embryos (from DH's sperm) that DH refuses to use... he's dead set on using the donor for any future kids we want to have.

Good luck with your decision!

Sasix January 15th, 2013 01:41 PM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Hi, Ingrid.

We too used donor sperm to conceive our DS. We found out after many months of TTC that DH has a genetic issue he was born with resulting in zero sperm. Our decision was IUI using donor sperm. We are hoping to do another couple of cycles this summer using the same donor for #2. With us, it was a shock finding out we had no chance at ever having a biological child from the 2 of us. DH immediately wanted us to consider using donor sperm, no hesitation at all. He said our children will be his children regardless of how we get to have them.

Dasiee37 says the rest of it perfectly, and sums up what I would say too. Donor selection and even the bank selection was a little strange at first narrowing it down. We decided on one that matched a lot of the physical characteristics of DH, particularly his ethnicity. Deciding whether to tell the children and/or family is another decision. We also will tell our DS when he's older. I'm not sure how to do this yet, but I'm sure to figure out a way.

And the Nurture versus Nature - 100% agree with how Dasiee states this. It's amazing to watch DS act so much like DH and the relationship they have just takes my breath away. I don't regret our decision at all and hope that we will be blessed with a sibling for DS to.

Good luck to you!

DownNotOut January 15th, 2013 02:09 PM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Thanks, Daisee. I think that's good perspective. I talked with my husband a little last night and he seemed to be ok with donor sperm, which is frankly, a relief to me. Hopefully we won't need to use it, but it takes a load off for him to not feel horrible about it.

I fully believe in nurture vs nature and know that this will be our baby regardless of biology.

My husband is questioning whether he wants to talk to his brother about being a back-up donor. I can see the pros and cons but kind of feel that this is a little more his decision than mine. Did you guys ever consider anything like that?

Thanks for the response!

bbm0128 January 28th, 2013 12:25 PM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Hi Ingrid,

I'm in a similar situation as you and your DH. My DH & I are starting our IVF cycle soon (within 2-3 months or so) and we are also using DS for IVF. My tubes are 99% blocked and DH has some residual effects from radiation therapy.

At first, DH was 100% on board for DS... we've been looking at Xytex & the Fairfax Cryobank. It is a very weird process. We want someone who is as close to my husband as possible. We considered using his brother as DS, but as the brother had a vasectomy 5+ years ago, this wasn't really an option anymore. I was not comfortable using any of his other brothers... mostly because I don't think they would be able to not tell the rest of the family. So we decided to go the DS route. There were a few that we both thought might work, but we've eliminated because in their profiles it said that they were the father of girls or the father of boys (I know this might seem a little weird, but I felt that was trying to gender-determine our child and I didn't want to do that).

Yesterday, my husband said that he wasn't sure about DS anymore. He suggested using his half-brother (from his mother's side). I think that he is concerned with the DNA factor than just having a child. This doesn't bother me because I am adopted and share no DNA with my family. I didn't say anything because I recognized that I was taking his comment personally (because of my adoption) rather than as he intended it - concern. It's a big decision. He said he wasn't opposed to DS... I think he is having a hard time accepting that our children won't have his DNA. I'm a big believer in nurture vs. nature because of my background but I don't know how to say that to him. Suggestions would be appreciated.

I also agree with Daisee on what she has said.

Good luck and keep us posted. Feel free to message me directly since it seems we are going through this at the same time.

DownNotOut January 28th, 2013 07:25 PM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Hi Brooke - thanks for responding. I'm sorry you're going through the ups and downs and uncertainties as well. I really agree in nurture vs. nature, but I'm not sure there's really anything you can say to help someone else come to terms with it. I guess I'd just be worried that I'd push and then my DH would end up resenting me or regretting the decision. Do you think he'd be willing to go to counseling to work through it? May help to talk to someone else, someone who's knowledgeable about these things, knows the right questions to ask to get him thinking, etc.

We've gotten a few second opinions in the last week and have decided to go with a different RE than I had initially thought we would. The new RE would like to go ahead with an IVF cycle in February (which was our initial plan, but then the donor sperm thing through us for a loop!) He doesn't think we will need to use donor sperm. He thinks he can find enough viable sperm and can do an on-site sperm aspiration if needed. I know we won't know until it's game day, but I feel better about trying it this way first.

My husband is very sure he wants to use his brother's sperm if it comes down to that and I think I'm ok with that. We've spent a lot of time talking it through and I know if it comes to that the RE will require that we all (brother, soon to be sister-in-law and DH and I) will be required to do counseling first, which I think is wonderful - and I'm glad I don't have to be the one that pushes it!

So, my stim should start last the first full week of February and we'll see what happens. I'm trying to stay cautiously optimistic, but I'm also very nervous about the road blocks that may come and the medications!

It's quite the roller-coaster!

Good luck with all of it and feel free to message me anytime as well.

~ Nicole ~ March 15th, 2013 12:02 AM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
wow I am surprised you are being told you use donor sperm! Ok I have my husband who is getting a vasectomy reversal so we may have to go through IVF eventually because a lot of the same issues as your DH and my sister's husband makes almost no sperm at all so I have learned a lot about using sperm with IVF. Motility is not a reason to need donor sperm if you are doing IVF! If you are doing IUI than yes maybe you would need donor sperm but with IVF they can take even the worst sperm and inject into the egg and create a healthy embryo. It is calle ICSI. Very very few men can not use their own sperm for ICSI. This costs more than if you would but the sperm in a dish with the egg to self fertilize but it should be worth the extra cost to have your husband's bio child. Please seek a differant doctor for IVF. You are getting some very bad advice I am not a doctor but I have studied a ton about male infertily and also IVF. Using your husband's sperm is much more ideal than using donor because a lot of donor children have negative feelings about being born from a donor when they become a teen or adult. If you have no other choice than donor ok I understand and can respect that but it should most likely be possible to use your husband's sperm so I highly encourage you to get more opinion from other doctors.

~ Nicole ~ March 15th, 2013 12:09 AM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
Also I would highly re-consider using the brother's sperm. You may think now that is is ideal and harmless but these are situations than can turn ugly in the future especially once the child turns teen/adult. If you use a donor or the brother you MUST tell the child. I have done years of research into how donor/adopted people feel once they are teens/adults and I feel it is extremely deceptive and cruel to hide the use of a donor from your child. I think people have a right to know about their history whenever possible. You have no idea if your child would turn into a teen or adult and than seek to have a relationship with the brother because he is the bio father. How are you and your husband and the brother going to feel if 15 years from now your child decides they feel like the bio dad should also be a father role to her or she is angry about the situation you made her born into against her choice. I just think it can turn into a really bad situation. I know situations like these can work out happy but they can also turn ugly. I would avoid using donor from any family/friend at all cost and go anonymous. Your DH may be ok now but what if once it really happens he ends up resenting that his brother fathered the child and not him, maybe he will feel jealous. Just something to seriously consider. I know I would never get a donor in this way and if I were the child born into this situation I think I would feel really akward towards the brother who donated and also probably want some kind of father relationship with him also. More than half of all people born from donor grow up to wish they had a relationship with the donor. I would feel soooo uncomfortable getting a donor this way. I am not attacking your choices but I would seriously seriously think about this before you do it and thing BEYOND the cute new baby. way way beyond.

torilexington May 8th, 2013 10:52 AM

Re: Use of donor sperm?
A lot of great information on this thread. Thanks so much ladies for sharing your insights.

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