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What Are the Pros and Cons of IVF with Donor Sperm?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated May 17, 2024
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The biggest benefit patients can expect from undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donated sperm is that the sperm is usually tested for health according to rigorous standards. Individuals going through IVF with donor sperm can be assured that the sperm has been screened for any possible diseases or genetic disorders, increasing the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy; patients can access certain portions of the donor's profile for added security. Donor sperm can also boost an individual's chances of conceiving, especially if her male partner's sperm is of poor quality. The usual con to IVF with donor sperm, however, is that the costs can be relatively high, and some patients might have to undergo several cycles before conceiving. Concerns tied to the identity of the donor can be either pros or cons, depending on the situation.

One of a patient's initial considerations when choosing to go through IVF with donor sperm is whether or not she wants the donor to be anonymous. Anonymity presents several pros and cons that occur throughout the pregnancy and well into the resulting child's adult years. Many hopeful parents choose anonymous donors because individuals are required to waive all parental rights upon donating their sperm, eliminating the risk of custody disputes. As the child grows older and learns that he was born from donor sperm, however, this might cause some psychological issues revolving around his identity.

Some individuals are content with never knowing their biological parents. Others, however, tend to feel like a significant part of their past is missing and want to connect with an integral part of their genetic identity. Sperm banks offer to release donor records to children aged 18 and up to assist in this endeavor. Depending on the strength of the familial relationship, some children might feel less attached to their parents.

Knowing the identity of the donor comes with its own set of pros and cons. Individuals undergoing IVF with donor sperm might feel more comfortable with the procedure if the donor is someone they personally know and trust. In addition, this increases the parent's sense of attachment with the resulting child. Another benefit to having known donors is that the cost of the procedure drops by a significant amount, as the sperm is no longer being paid for.

Cons might arise, however, if the donor chooses to claim custody of the child or refuses to waive his parental rights prior to conception. This could cause disputes regarding the manner in which the child is raised, potentially affecting the child's emotional well-being. Going through IVF with donor sperm outside of a sperm bank also raises health risks, as the donor's sperm might not be tested as rigorously as it would have been at a bank.

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Discussion Comments

By werterful — On Feb 04, 2014

The cost of donor sperm ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars so it is much cheaper than using IVF.

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