Treatment with Donor Sperm
Female Couples and Single Women
While the public sector in Finland, including university hospitals, began offering fertility treatments to female couples and single women in 2020, Dextra Fertility Clinic and its predecessors have always warmly welcomed single women and female couples in need of fertility treatments. Every year, we care for dozens of female couples and single women for whom having their own child is as central and important as it is to anyone dreaming of starting a family.
Who can receive fertility treatments?
According to the Finnish law, fertility treatments can be provided to heterosexual couples, female couples, and single women. In the case of female couples and single women, donated sperm is typically used, which usually comes from a sperm bank. Another option is for a female couple or single woman to arrange sperm donation with a man they know.
In the public sector, the criteria for accessing fertility treatments are stricter than in the private sector, particularly regarding the upper age limit. At Dextra Fertility Clinic, we treat women under the age of 46, and the number of previous children, for example, does not affect eligibility for treatment. Since severe obesity is always a risk factor for pregnancy, it must be taken into account when making treatment decisions and plans, but we do not have an absolute body mass index (BMI) limit for eligibility for treatment.
Insemination or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
For female couples and single women undergoing fertility treatments, the primary method for a healthy woman under the age of 40 is insemination, which involves the injection of sperm into the uterine cavity. Most of our clients who are female couples seek treatment at a relatively young age, and in such cases, insemination treatment often leads to pregnancy for the majority.
However, if a woman is around 40 years old or older, has conditions like endometriosis, or her fallopian tubes are blocked, the preferred method is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). If a woman is over 40 years old, the likelihood of becoming pregnant through insemination is very low.
The progression of treatment and results vary greatly. Nevertheless, the good news for everyone seeking treatment is that approximately 80 percent of couples or women seeking treatment will have a successful pregnancy.
Stages of the Treatment Process
The duration of the entire treatment process varies individually but, on average, for female couples and single women, it ranges from 3 to 12 months.
1. Doctor’s Consultation: The patient’s overall health and previous pregnancies are assessed. It is important to determine if the fallopian tubes are open. An ultrasound examination is conducted either during this visit or at a later appointment.
2. Preliminary Treatment Plan: An initial treatment plan is developed.
3. Donor Gamete Counseling with a Psychologist: The law requires counseling for all those undergoing treatment with donor gametes. At our clinic, these discussions are held with a psychologist, but counseling can also be provided by a psychotherapist or a fertility/IVF nurse.
4. Selection of Donor: The choice of donor is made in collaboration with the sperm laboratory.
5. Treatment Planning Appointment: Details of the schedule, medications, and the treatment plan are clarified.
6. Actual Fertility Treatment: According to the plan, either insemination or IVF is performed. If inseminations do not yield results, IVF treatment may be considered.
7. Donor Gametes and Their Donors
Where do the sperm used in fertility treatments for female couples and single women come from, and what kind of donors are they?
At Dextra Fertility Clinic, clients can choose either Finnish or foreign donor gametes. We collaborate with foreign sperm banks.
Sperm donors can be healthy men aged 18 to 45 years old. All donors undergo a health examination, semen analysis, and sperm sample freezing to ensure their suitability as donors. Chromosomes are examined to confirm the absence chromosomal translocations in the donor. Infections are ruled out through blood and urine samples. The donor is informed about the legal and financial aspects related to donation.
The identity of the gamete donor is registered in the donor registry, but the recipient of the gametes does not have access to this information. Instead, the child conceived through donated gametes has the right to know the donor’s identity once they are 18 yrs old.
Options for Female Couples
When a female couple comes to see us for their first consultation they often have already decided who will be carrying the pregnancy. Often, they may also have the idea that “this time I will give birth, and next time you will.” If there is an age difference between the partners and the desire is for multiple children, the older partner is usually treated for the first pregnancy, as the younger one has more fertile time remaining.
If the treatment does not yield results, the plan can always be changed, and the other partner can be treated.
Female couples also have the option to use the eggs of one partner in IVF treatment, fertilized with donor sperm, with embryo transfer to the uterus of the other partner.
Challenges for Single Women
When a single woman seeks treatment, it is important to discuss support networks, for example grandparents, other relatives, and/or friends. Raising and nurturing a child alone is a significant challenge and responsibility, for which our psychologist can also assist you in preparing.
Many women who want to have a child on their own feel pressure and may face criticism. At Dextra Fertility Clinic, we aim to support and assist you to the best of our ability and in a holistic manner.
Treatment costs vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors such as the number of insemination attempts and/or IVF treatment cycles required. Because insemination is a relatively simple procedure, its one-time cost is in the hundreds of euros. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a significantly more extensive treatment, so the cost is approximately five times higher compared to insemination.
Heterosexual couples with donor sperm
Heterosexual couples may also require donor sperm if the male partner has a complete lack of sperm production or very low sperm counts. Typically, the donor is chosen to resemble the potential future father in terms of appearance. The choice of treatment method, either insemination or IVF, is determined based on the individual situation.
All individuals undergoing donor gamete treatments receive donor gamete counseling before starting treatment, including male-female couples.