RE's reaction to donor sperm?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2004
RE's reaction to donor sperm?
Mon, 06-11-2007 - 1:44pm

We had our first consultation with the RE last week. My DH has male infertility (severe motility issues). He is being treated for prostatitis with antibiotics and antiinflammatories, but so far we have not seen any results from treatment, though we still hope to.

We are doing a natural IUI cycle is a few days in the hopes that the sperm washing process will boost the forward progression from a 2 to at least a 3, and by getting closer to the egg we might have a chance at getting pg.

We are going to get some genetic testing done, because DH's sister has a reversed chromosome, which the RE said can cause infertility- automatic miscarriage. If this is the case we would have a hight risk of total failure/miscarriage with ART and if we did manage to conceive with ART, we could pass infertility onto our kids.

I know the risk of genetic defects and heart problems is greater in kids conceived with ICSI. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that.

Anyway the RE said that if the antibiotics don't improve DH's counts, and if the sperm washing process doesn't improve the motility enough, due to my age (39 next month) our best bet may just be to go straight to ICSI. When she said this I said we may want to consider donor sperm if that's the case and she sounded SHOCKED, "Wow, OK, well that's a new direction". She didn't say anything else, but the tone of her voice just sounded shocked.

Has anyone else gotten this sort of reaction from RE's?

It seems like the assumption is automatically that we would want to use the riskiest, most expensive procedure. (We have NO coverage and all testing and treatment is out of pocket)

I was kind of offended by the RE's reaction...I don't want to feel judged for our decision it is our family, our kids and our dime. While having genetic kids is important to me, my DH has said it really doesn't matter to him, he just wants a healthy baby as quickly as possible, without straining ourselves financially. I would like to have DH's genetic child but I need to know more about the risks of ICSI. I wouldn't want to invest all that money if there was a significant risk of total failure. I also would not be comfortable with a significant risk of passing on infertility to our kids or genetic defects that would cause health problems in our kids.

Anyway I asked DH how he felt about the RE and he was not offended by anything so I guess I'll let it slide for now and see how my bnext appointment goes. I was just wondering if anyone else had gotten this reaction.

- Jenna
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-11-2007
Mon, 06-11-2007 - 5:27pm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2004
Mon, 06-11-2007 - 6:08pm

I know, one would think it is pretty common, but maybe they only usually hear it when other options have been exhausted. The urologist had a similar reaction when we suggested donor sperm, but at least he said that while telling us he thought we could get pg naturally (he thinks DH's counts will improve from the antibiotics). He was like, oh no that's only if the man has no sperm at can do IUI and the IVF or ICSI.

Why does everyone seem to assume that we want to spend a fortune so that DH can pass on his DNA which may pass on infertility to our child? Honestly if it was important to DH I would be willing to go that route as it is important to me but he really doesn't care, and from what he's said he'd be more comfortable doing DI than some of these extreme and extremely expensive measures.

Anyway I've already encountered this attitude twice so was wondering if it was common, or just us.

- Jenna
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2007
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 10:57am

Its strange how doctors push donor egg on women, but have a different attitude about DS. As if the man's genetics are "more important". Its just sexism.

I think your RE's reaction was somewhat inappropriate. Why should she be so surprised? Has she never heard of someone using donor sperm for male factor infertility problems?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2007
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 11:04am

I'm sorry you got that reaction from your docs. While we haven't gotten that reaction, they certainly haven't given us any nudge towards using IUI w/ donor sperm, as they have nudged strongly towards more rounds of IVF/ICSI and using donor eggs/donor sperm in THAT process.

It might have just been a surprise to them that you were willing to use donor sperm right away (I think that most people DO consider it to be more of a "last resort") so maybe you could give your RE the benefit of the doubt? It would be difficult for me to do so, though.

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 12:25pm

I'd almost look for a new RE

Sounds to me like she was shocked because the difference between using donor IUI and an IVF/ICSI cycle is what? $15-20 thousand dollars?

Kind of like a waiter pushing the most expensive bottle of wine versus the house wine

And donor eggs are just as expensive as an IVF cycle, if not more

I am sorry you encountered this...we had the exact opposite, where the RE basically dismissed DH's issues with no empathy...actually called on the phone to tell us dh had no sperm

NO bedside manner at ALL

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2004
Wed, 06-13-2007 - 1:50pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I had my trans-vaginal u/s yesterday and met the RE in person and I did like her, though we did not discuss donor sperm again. And Kathleen I agree...I think they encourage ICSI because that's where they make their money.

Anyway I am getting a natural IUI this cycle with DH's sperm, we are hoping the sperm washing process enhances motility enough for fertility. We are also getting some genetic testing done.

The good news is everything looks fine with my uterus, my lining was 11mm on CD13, and my dominant follie was 15mm. I think I will get a + OPK tomorrow and the insemination Friday. If The + OPK isn't til Friday they will do the insemination Saturday.

She also said I have a lot of other eggs developing in there and that was a good sign for responding well to stim meds. She was at least 5 more on the right and at least 4 on the left if not more. As I understand it it this is not a true antral follicle count which should happen earlier in the cycle, and that you have less of those follies as you get closer to ovulation.

I am 39 next month but I feel like I am still quite fertile and all of my test results, signs and charts have supported that. I am hesistant to use meds because I don't want to mess up a system that already seems like it is working very well on its own. The RE said that at my age the average woman only produces 2 viable eggs a year but I just don't believe that is true in my case. Anyway I am happy that we are doing a natural IUI this cycle, I hope it works! If the sperm washing improves the motility enough, then that means we can try IUI more if this doesn't work. If not, then it's time to look into donor sperm more.

- Jenna
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-17-2005
Wed, 06-13-2007 - 9:02pm
Many hugs to you... we only briefly cosidered IVF/ ICSI. With our teacher and military income, it just wasn't feasible. Hubby just wanted a baby and soon, I just wanted one as well. Whe I discussed donor sperm with my OB, he only replied "that sounds like a great idea, I can do that right here in the office for you, and of course I can come in on weekends for you, that's what infertility treatment is about". He is the absolute best and I wish I could recommend him to everyone. He came in on Thanksgiving and the day after to do my IUI!!! He was my OB for my first child (different marriage), and I will stay with him forever. He called me at home to check on me when teat results were frightening, he is just the most amazing OB/GYN ever- I wish there were more of him to go around! There are great, supportive docs out there! If you feel uncomfortable, or not taken seriously, or pushed to procedures you are not comfortable with, look for another one- it's your body and your baby!