Similar to other female and male infertility treatments, sperm donation is not without its risks. While most donor sperm is healthy and poses no threat to the recipient, there are some rare cases where serious health complications can occur.

Here’s what you should know.

What Is Sperm Donation?

Sperm donation is the process of a man providing his sperm to be used in fertility treatments. These include the most popular ones: artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The donor’s sperm is utilized to fertilize the woman’s egg receiving the treatment.

There are two types of sperm donation: known and anonymous. In a known donation, the recipient knows who the donor is. In an anonymous donation, the donor’s identity is confidential and is not revealed to the recipient.

Most sperm donor programs require donors to be between 18 and 39 years old, have good health, and have no history of genetic disorders. They must also agree to undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and genetic conditions.

Potential Risks of Sperm Donation to the Mother and Baby

Some potential risks are associated with sperm donation, both to the mother and baby. The most common include:

1. Risk of STD Transmission

The most common risk is the transmission of STDs. While most sperm banks screen donors for STDs, there is always a small chance that a donor could be infected with an STD and not know it. This danger can be minimized by using a sperm bank or fertility clinic, such as Hull East fertility clinic, that requires all donors to undergo STD testing.

2. Genetic Disorders

Another potential risk is genetic disorders. Although donors are typically screened for genetic conditions, there is always a small chance that a donor could be carrying a genetic disorder that is not detected by the screening process. But this issue can be minimized by using a sperm bank that requires all donors to undergo genetic testing.

In rare cases, the recipient may have an allergic reaction to the donor sperm. This is more likely to occur if the recipient is allergic to latex.

3. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

One of the most common risks is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. OHSS is a condition that can occur when the ovaries are stimulated during fertility treatments.

OHSS can also arise when you donate your eggs. That’s why it’s crucial to consult your doctor before starting fertility treatments, including sperm donation.

Symptoms of OHSS include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

In severe cases, OHSS can lead to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Stroke

While most cases of OHSS are mild and can be treated with over-the-counter medication, severe cases may require hospitalization.

4. Multiple Births

Another potential risk associated with sperm donation is multiple births. This is because fertility treatments, such as IVF, often result in the fertilization of more than one egg. While multiple births can be healthy, they do carry a higher risk of complications, such as premature birth and low birth weight.

Final Thoughts

Sperm donation is a safe and effective fertility treatment option for many couples struggling with infertility. However, as with any medical procedure, several risks are involved. These risks can be minimized by using a reputable sperm bank or fertility clinic and consulting with your doctor before starting any fertility treatments.