Thinking of starting a family using a donor? Cryos International’s Milagros Ruete answers some of your biggest questions
BY CRYOS INTERNATIONAL/DANIELLE MUSTARDE
Cryos International helps women, no matter their sexuality, to have children. In this piece, aimed at those at the very beginning of their journey, clinic account manager Milagros Ruete answers a handful of the most frequently asked questions that the team at Cryos encounter, including the big one – just how to get fertility treatment in the UK through a clinic, and using donor sperm.
Which fertility clinic is right for me?
There are lots of fertility clinics in the UK and Cryos works with the majority of these. You can choose a clinic based on a number of factors, including location, price and success rates. What’s important is to choose a clinic that feels right to you.
“Once you have found your fertility clinic, you can visit the Cryos website and browse through hundreds of UK compliant sperm donors,” Milagros explains. “In the UK, the use of donor sperm is regulated by law. Cryos has, for that reason, qualified a great deal of our non-anonymous donors to be compliant with UK regulations. This means that at the time you begin your search you have to select ‘UK standard’ on Cryos’ webpage to make sure that you only see UK compliant donors.”
Can you have sperm delivered directly to your home?
Due to recent changes in Danish legislation, Cryos can no longer deliver to private addresses. This means that all deliveries in the UK need to be to licensed HFEA healthcare professionals, clinics and tissue establishments.
Once you have found you the right donor…
“At Cryos, we’re very happy to offer many different donor profiles so that you can choose the donor that feels right for you. When you have made your final decision, your clinic will guide you on what straw type and motility is right for your fertility treatment, and then you are ready to order.”
Milagros also explains why it is important to reserve donor sperm in the ordering process: “When you order donor sperm for the fertility treatment at hand, it’s important to also reserve sperm for future treatments. Maybe you do not succeed in your first try or maybe you would like siblings in the future. Either way, it’s a good idea to reserve extra straws to secure enough sperm from your chosen donor. How much sperm you should reserve depends on your individual situation.”
How do you order donor sperm for the fertility clinic?
The clinic needs to approve the order and once Cryos receives the approval, it will take about one to two days to deliver the order.
“Some clinics prefer to receive the donor sperm in good time before you start your treatment. This is something you need to discuss with your clinic to make sure that they have enough time,” Milagros explains. “When you have ordered the donor sperm from the Cryos webpage, we will work with your clinic to make sure that they get all the paperwork about your order and your donor.”
Advice when choosing a sperm donor?
“Find out what is really important for you. For some people, the extensive screening of the sperm donors that Cryos offers is important. For others, it’s important to see pictures of the donor. If that’s you, then Cryos now offers pictures of selected donors as adults for those women who want more than just baby pictures in order to get a more comprehensive idea about what their future child might look like.”
“Some women want to make sure that they are the only ones in the world using their chosen donor and, for that reason, they choose to buy an exclusive donor.”
The choice is very personal, and it can take time to work out what is most important to you and your family. Milagros adds: “Whatever is important for you when choosing a donor, we offer a great variety of donor profiles to choose from and we hope that this will make it easier to make a decision that feels right to you.”
We’ve got our sperm, now how do we get pregnant?
“There are several ways to start a family with donor sperm. After your initial consultation at your clinic, you and your doctor or healthcare provider can discuss the different treatments available as well as what would be best for your specific situation. Some women receive Intrauterine Insemination, others might be recommended to start directly with IVF, while some might start with IUI and later move on to IVF.”
What’s the difference between IUI and IVF?
“Usually, when the woman is young, healthy and there are no known fertility issues, many clinics will offer IUI treatment. IUI is a cheaper and less invasive option when compared with IVF treatment. In some cases, however, IVF is encouraged to increase the chances of conceiving if there are any factors that warrant this type of treatment (e.g. age or any known fertility issues).”
How long will the whole process take?
“The amount of time spent at each stage of the journey is, of course very different and varies from one woman to another,” explains Milagros. “Some women are very thorough when choosing a donor profile and may even involve friends and family members in their decision-making process.
“For other women, it is a very personal choice. Others will start with a set idea of what the donor should be like, some will learn along the way as they browse through the donor profiles. In any case, it’s a good idea to sit down and write a list of criteria that might be important to you so as to ease yourself into the process.
“In short, it is very difficult to comment on the time it can take to become pregnant. There are many factors that would determine this: age, lifestyle and general health being just a handful of those.”
What are the most common worries that those on this journey experience?
“I would say, when and how to tell donor-conceived children that they were conceived with the help of a donor. That and how to navigate the social complexities about donor conception as well as ensuring the physical and psychological wellbeing of their children.”
And finally Milagros, what do you most enjoy about working with Cryos?
“It is very rewarding to receive baby photos from women who have had a child with the help of a Cryos donor!”
This article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of DIVA magazine.