If you are thinking of going it alone with a pregnancy – either using a friend as a sperm donor or an anonymous donor – we will help you through all the decisions and procedures you may need to start your family.
We have a comprehensive donor sperm program, and no waiting list for donor sperm. The costs associated with accessing donor sperm can be found here.
Here are some of the fertility facts to consider
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and the quantity and quality starts to decline by the early 30s, with a major deterioration and greater potential for chromosomal abnormalities by age 40. Although science can help achieve great things, it is still much easier to start your family before age 35.
Perimenopause and menopause
Don’t leave it too late to start considering your options. Although the average age of menopause is 51, some women will experience it in their early 40s and peri-menopause changes that precede menopause by a few years can make pregnancy very difficult. Successful pregnancies over age 40 are still relatively unusual.
After your initial consultation, your first step will be to have blood tests and other investigations to assess your fertility and identify any potential difficulties with establishing a future pregnancy.
By doing this before we recommend treatments, you can avoid wasting precious time and money on procedures that have little chance – and make sure that every treatment you invest your hope in has the very best chance of success.
Tests that make sure you have a strong start:
We will test your hormone levels and other factors that may be contributing to low fertility or infertility (such as hypothyroid in women). These tests can also identify if you are entering perimenopause or menopause.
This test involves using a fibre-optic telescope to inspect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus to identify any physical problems. It’s surprising how often this simple investigation reveals a problem such as endometriosis or cysts, which would cause difficulty for a natural pregnancy or an IVF pregnancy. These problems can usually be treated with medication or surgery, depending on the individual situation.
Physical and ultrasound investigations
Where your specialist suspects the possibility of some other barrier to pregnancy, he/she may recommend ultrasound or other investigative procedures.
Your Fertility Specialist will help you choose the best treatment plan for you, depending on your current fertility and the situation with potential sperm donors.
We understand that even if you have a close friend prepared to be a sperm donor, it may not be appropriate to ask them to provide regular samples until you get pregnant. It may be a simpler option for us to freeze the samples and use intra-uterine insemination or IVF at our clinic .
Some of the options you may choose
Semen analysis and storage
If your donor is a friend or not from our donor bank, we will review his semen analysis to ensure that he has sufficient effective sperm to give you a good chance of achieving a pregnancy.
Assuming all is okay, and test for infectious diseases are negative, we will freeze and quarantine some of your donor’s semen samples for future use in your treatment.
We have a comprehensive donor sperm program, and no waiting list for donor sperm availability. This includes non-identifying details of the donors’ characteristics, medical history etc to select a suitable donor for you. There are certain rights and restrictions around privacy, which we will explain to you. Read more in our factsheet.
Intra-uterine insemination using donor sperm involves thawing an appropriate amount of the frozen sample. The sperm are extracted from semen and concentrated and then placed directly into the uterus using a small catheter. It can be used in conjunction with ovulation induction to give you the best chance of successful conception.
This is a simple matter of taking medication or having injections that help induce regular ovulation. The medication is normally taken at the beginning of the menstrual cycle and your response is monitored through the cycle using ultrasound. The clinician can then determine when you are due to ovulate and therefore the best time for intercourse or insemination. Read more in our factsheet.
Depending on your fertility circumstances your specialist may recommend In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) as your best chance of achieving a pregnancy with donor sperm. IVF is an increasingly popular and successful procedure that involves stimulating your ovaries and retrieving eggs. These are then inseminated with your chosen donor sperm and the resulting embryos transferred to your uterus and / or frozen for future use. Read more on our IVF pages.
Embryo cryopreservation (freezing)
If there are surplus good quality embryos created in your IVF cycle these can be frozen for future use. This minimises the need for further IVF cycles should you need to have further treatment or want to add further siblings to your family.
If you can’t use your own eggs for IVF due to premature menopause, ovarian failure, because you are a carrier of a genetic disorder or because your ovaries do not respond to hormonal stimulation or are producing poor quality eggs, you can use an egg donation in conjunction with donor sperm in an IVF cycle. The egg donor may be a relative, friend or someone from our egg donor program.
When you don’t have a partner to share the journey, the emotional ups and downs of getting pregnant can be pretty demanding at times. Some women also find the family and friends who they hoped would be supportive are not as understanding as they could be.
Life Fertility offers extra support to help you deal with any concerns – and to stay relaxed and healthy for your pregnancy.
Extra support for a healthy, happy pregnancy
Free counselling service
We offer you a free counselling session with one of our fertility counsellors for each cycle of IVF. You can even use this up to four months after your treatment if you find the effects catching up with you. Additional sessions can be arranged whenever you need them. These sessions can be used to talk through any issues and get strategies to cope more effectively with your reactions.
Nursing support team
Our Life Fertility Clinic Nurse Coordinators are available to discuss any problems you’re experiencing during your treatment. They are available by appointment or by phoning the clinic. Whether it’s a quick chat to check what you’re feeling is normal or an opportunity to ask about something worrying you, it’s good to know there’s someone who understands your situation and has the time to talk things through with you.
Health and wellness program
Healthy nutrition, moderate exercise and relaxation techniques all help keep you on track for the demands of treatment and prospective parenthood. Life Fertility offers a range of resources, complementary classes and sessions to make sure you are your best emotionally and physically to cope with the challenges of treatment. Learn more about this program.