In the context of fertility treatment, it may be necessary to resort to sperm donation, for instance from a sperm bank. For some couples, this may be the only way to fulfil their desire to have a child. This is the case, for example, if the man does not have there are no sperm in the man's ejaculate or testicles, or there is a genetic disease.
Although the man is not the genetic father of the child if his partner is fertilised by a sperm donation, he assumes social paternity. This means that, in agreement with the mother, he has the same rights and obligations towards the child as a father who has conceived the child himself with his partner.
The sperm donations often come from a sperm bank, where they are usually stored frozen (cryopreservation). The sperm donors are selected very thoroughly by the sperm banks beforehand. For example, they must be between 18 and 38 years old be physically and mentally healthy - i.e. have no family history of infectious or hereditary diseases - and have an optimal sperm quality and a large sperm quantity.
The sperm donors receive an expense allowance for their donation.
Sperm donors are examined very carefully. Already the acceptance as a sperm donor requires comprehensive examinations of sperm, blood and urine.
In addition to the usual determination of sperm parameters, blood, sperm and urine samples from the donor are also examined for infectious and sexually transmitted diseases for every donation made. If the semen quality meets the WHO specifications for sperm donors, they are then frozen (cryopreservation).
However, before donor samples are released for fertilisation, they are stored in quarantine for 6 months. After 180 days in quarantine, a blood sample from the donor is again tested for infectious and sexually transmitted diseases and the samples are finally released for sale if the serology is inconspicuous.
The couple who wish to have a child first ask the doctor for detailed information on medical, legal and social issues related to sperm donation. Then they conclude a written agreement with the doctor. This regulates the rights and obligations of all parties involved.
Often, a notarised contract is also concluded, which above all secures the rights of the child resulting from this fertilisation. A written agreement is also concluded with the sperm bank.
Couples who wish to have children can then select the suitable sperm donor according to various criteria - these include, among others
the hair colour,
the colour of the eyes,
the hair type,
Couples can usually search for a sperm donor with the desired characteristics themselves in the online catalogues of the sperm banks. Alternatively, the sperm banks can take over the selection of the suitable donor on request.
The woman's eggs are fertilised with the donated sperm. This takes place either within the framework of
heterologous or donor insemination,
heterologous or donogenous in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or
heterologous or donor intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Which method is used should be clarified with the doctor.
The doctor will explain the risks of donor sperm to you individually during the consultation. For the woman, however, the risks are basically the same, both with insemination and with IVF and ICSI, as with fertilisation of her eggs by her partner's sperm. Possible risks of infection are largely avoided by the measures mentioned above.
In contrast to egg donation, fertility treatment with donor sperm is legally permitted in Germany.
The health insurers do not pay for fertility treatment with donor sperm.