The decision to use DI should not be taken
lightly, and you should be prepared and have worked through any
have. This is truly a decision that will not only affect the rest
of your life, but the life of a child as well.
couples*, when contemplating parenthood, figure all they have to
do is "what comes naturally" and sooner or later they will be blessed
with a little bundle of joy. Unfortunately, that is not the reality
for about 7% of couples.
the USA alone, according to the National Center for Health Statistics
(NCHS), the number of women using infertility services was 9.3 million
(1995). The reasons for a couple's infertility varies. However,
infertility is caused by a male factor in approximately 20%-30%
of cases. In these instances, DI (Donor
Insemination) is an options that many couples consider.
is widely practiced throughout the world. The pregnancy rate is
high: 70 to 80% of couples who choose DI eventually have a child
by this method. 30,000 to 50,000 babies are conceived each year
in North America with the help of DI.
DI offers a range of benefits to couples:
experience of pregnancy from the start to the birth, often seen
as an important preparation for parenthood, is shared by the couple.
parent has a biological and genetic link with the child.
attending the inseminations the husband can share in the child's
is a relatively simple and usually painless procedure requiring
neither surgery nor a stay in hospital.
opinion is showing a far greater acceptance of DI as a means of
having a family.
couples find they receive support and reassurance from their family
and friends when they tell them they are receiving the treatment.
treatment is confidential. Couples decide for themselves who knows
that they are being treated. The use of anonymous donors ensures
against any legal, material or emotional claim by him on the couple
or child and vice versa.
dilemmas of DI
religious groups and others are still opposed to donor insemination.
secrecy that sometimes surrounds a DI conception can perpetuate
the notion that it is naturally and ethically wrong. This can,
in some cases, lead to feelings of guilt and fear in relation
to the child's birth and nurture.
with adoption, the husband has no genetic relationship with the
child, and his procreative desires cannot be fulfilled.
Both partners need to reflect on their attitudes and feelings
towards a child conceived by DI and its impact on their relationship.
A mutual acceptance is of the utmost importance. If it cannot
be reached, then other options must be considered.
right of the child to know about the method of conception is a
controversial question which some couples find hard to resolve.
about family likeness should be expected when the baby arrives.
These are perfectly normal, but they can cause embarrassment if
parents are not prepared for them.
have a beautiful son who was conceived with the help of DI. As the
parent of a child conceived through DI, I understand the challenges
and choices couples turning to DI face. Many of the clinics that
offer DI also offer counseling sessions prior to donor selection
and the inseminations. If your doctor or clinic does not have this,
it is a good idea to seek some counseling on your own.
My husband is every bit our sons father -- we believe that biology
does not make a family -- love does. One of our favorite quotes
is that "Almost anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man
to be a daddy".
is our hope that society will become more accepting of this option
to family building that has been in practice for over 100 years
so that our son may be proud of his origins -- he truly was conceived
out of love.
How DI is done
A wonderful book on the challenges and choices of DI. Highly recommended
your Baby by Donor Insemination
A startling analysis of the practical, legal, and ethical problems
infertile couples face in becoming parents. Some
say this is a great book, but then recommend also buying Helping
the Stork as it helps you discuss DI with your donor offspring
so they don't become bitter...which was the author's experience.
Although this article focusses on married couples since that is
where my experience comes from, many of the issues are the same
for single women or lesbians who turn to DI.