There are several ways that donor sperm, eggs or embryos can be used in ART treatments. VARTA has a range of resources to assist you.
Donor sperm (donor insemination)
Donor insemination (DI) may be used when:
- a male partner does not produce sperm,
- a male partner does not produce normal sperm, or
- there is a high risk of a man passing on a genetic disease or abnormality to a child.
Donor insemination may also be used by single women and women in same-sex relationships. The process of donor insemination is the same as artificial insemination.
Treatment with donor eggs is possible if:
- a woman cannot produce eggs or her eggs are of low quality. This may occur due to age or premature ovarian failure (where the woman no longer produces mature eggs for ovulation).
- a woman has experienced several miscarriages, or
- there is a high risk of the woman passing on a genetic disease or abnormality to a child.
In these cases, the egg donor undergoes hormone stimulation to produce multiple eggs. When the eggs are mature they are retrieved and sperm from the recipient's partner or a donor is added to the eggs. Two to five days later, when embryos are formed, an embryo is inserted into the recipient woman’s uterus. The recipient woman may take hormones in preparation for the embryo transfer, and for approximately 10 weeks after the embryos have been transferred.
Donor embryos can be used if a person or couple requires donor sperm and donor eggs to achieve a pregnancy. Although rare, some people choose to donate frozen embryos that they no longer need (after IVF procedures, for example) for use by others undergoing IVF. When the recipient woman is ready, embryos are thawed and transferred to her uterus.