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The Fertility Patient's Guide to ASRM 2012 Guidelines on Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation

January 18, 2013

As the field of reproductive medicine advances, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) revises guidelines on the various Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures to reflect not only the best interests of the patient, but also to reflect the latest ASRM approved technology.

The 2012 Practice Committee Guidelines on egg, sperm, and embryo donation can be difficult to decipher without a medical degree. That’s why you have the team at Fertility Authority to help you understand the current guidelines as it pertains to donors, recipients, and their partners.

Each clinic or facility offering gamete or embryo donation should not only abide by federal regulations, but also the local state regulations. Each party involved is strongly encouraged (often required) to undergo psychological evaluation. Medical, sexual, and social history are heavily considered prior to a donor being accepted into the program. These screenings are also required of the recipients.

ASRM Guidelines on Sperm Donation

Donor sperm is recommended based on male infertility diagnosis or to females trying to conceive in the absence of a male partner. The following are guidelines for pursuing donor sperm:

  • Female partner of a male with azoospermia (no measureable sperm in the semen)
  • Female partner of a male with severe oligozoospermia (semen has very low concentration of sperm)
  • Female partner of a male with other significant male factor infertility including count, morphology, and motility where previous in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles have failed or the couple is unable or unwilling to do IVF with ICSI
  • Female partner of a male with ejaculatory dysfunction
  • Female partner of a male who is a potential carrier of genetic disease
  • Female partner of a male who has tested positive for transmittable disease, or Rh incompatibility
  • Females without male partners

Sperm donors should be healthy males between the ages of 18-40. Established fertility is desired, but not required. Medical, social, and psychological evaluation is required.

ASRM Guidelines on Egg Donation

Donor egg is recommended for women who have a history of failed IVF cycles or have an ovarian reserve diagnosis which could compromise the success of an IVF cycle with their own eggs. The following are guidelines for pursuing donor egg IVF:

  • Females who have a history of poor response to stimulation drugs
  • Females of advanced reproductive age
  • Females who have been diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
  • Females who are known carriers of genetic disease or have a family history of genetic disease
  • Females who have a history of poor egg or embryo quality and prior failed IVF cycles

An egg donor should be between the ages of 21-34. For donors over the age of 34, and recipients over the age of 45, the recipient must be thoroughly educated on the potential risks to the cycle. If shared donor eggs are being used for the cycle, the fertility clinic must abide by the ASRM Ethics Committee guidelines and informed consent is especially important.

ASRM Guidelines on Embryo Donation

Couples who produce excess embryos and do not wish to use them for their own cycles are given the option of discarding embryos or donating embryos to another couple. Embryo donation must abide by federal and state regulations. The facility must be knowledgeable and experienced in proper embryo donation processes, including storage, thawing, and transfer.

  • Medical and genetic history of each gamete donor
  • Informed consent by all parties; donors must be released from any liability to the child

In each of these scenarios, compensation guidelines apply. Donors of sperm or eggs should not be primarily motivated by monetary compensation. Embryo donors should not receive compensation. All parties must be given informed consent and must understand any associated risks with the donation or receipt of gametes or embryos.


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