Understanding Assisted Reproduction and Sperm Donation
Having Klinefelter Syndrome does not mean your hopes of fatherhood or parenthood are impossible to achieve. With the help of donor sperm and assisted reproductive technologies, your partner may be able to achieve a successful pregnancy in order to grow your family. Your family and doctor should collaborate to determine which procedure may be best for you to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Factors to consider include the child-bearing patient’s age and other health risks, budget, insurance coverage, and personal preferences. Making the decision to begin fertility treatment may be difficult. It’s recommended that you, as a couple, are psychologically ready to move forward with sperm donation and the fertility treatment process (ReproductiveFacts.org).
When selecting a fertility clinic and treatment plan, it’s important to research the costs of treatment, insurance coverage for types of treatment, and live birth success rates at any clinics you are considering. As of April 2021, 19 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws to cover the cost of some or all of the costs of infertility treatment if you meet certain requirements, though many insurance plans don’t offer fertility coverage. All out-of-pocket costs listed here are general estimates in US dollars gathered from a range of sources. It is best to check with your insurance and healthcare providers in order to obtain the most accurate procedure costs.
Here you’ll find information about Donor Sperm, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and stories from KS men and their partners who have undergone these procedures.
When choosing to use donor sperm, you can decide between using a known or an unknown donor.
Receiving a sperm donation from a friend or family member on the father’s side is known as a “known” or “directed” donation. If you are a KS man, obtaining sperm from a direct family member will ensure that you have a biological connection to the baby. You may also be able to obtain a sample from a friend with no biological connection. It’s recommended you and your partner, as well as the donor and his partner, undergo psychological counseling beforehand to ensure you’re all making free, informed decisions (The Atlantic). Obtaining a sperm donation from a known donor may help reduce the overall costs of your assisted reproductive procedures, as vials of sperm from a cryobank can range from $300-$1,000 (Family Equality).
It’s also recommended you meet with an attorney who specializes in Assisted Reproductive Technology, as every state has laws regarding sperm donation and parentage.
You may choose to work with a cryobank in order to obtain your sperm donation. Cryobanks collect sperm and keep the samples in a frozen state that makes them immune to microbes and bacteria. Cryobanks can offer a detailed description of the donors, and you can often sift through childhood photos, family medical history, demographic data, and personality assessments to select a donor that may best suit your family. However, each bank and donor can choose how much information to share. According to CoFertility.com:
- Some donors want to remain anonymous, while others are open to being identified in the event any future children want to get in touch as they grow up.
- Some banks offer extensive ways to search the donor database (using filters like height, hair color, and weight, or even personality traits), while others are more limited in their search functions.
- Some banks screen for genetic conditions and mental health issues, but others do the bare minimum of health screenings required by the FDA (which amounts to a handful of STDs screenings).
When considering which sperm bank to use, it’s important to investigate their reputation, legal policies, record keeping, as well as data collection and tracking. You may want to research them via online infertility support groups (like Facebook groups or a RESOLVE support group), online consumer reviews, or recommendations from your physician.
What is IUI?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure in which a physician inserts sperm (either from the male partner or sperm donor) directly into a female patient’s uterus. The healthcare provider will insert sperm directly into the uterus using a speculum and catheter.
This insemination is timed with the woman’s ovulation cycle, which may be enhanced with hormonal treatments (Seattle Sperm Bank). IUI increases the patient’s chances of pregnancy by giving the sperm a head start during the time of ovulation. (Extend Fertility). Your provider may suggest beginning with IUI procedures prior to starting IVF, as it’s less invasive and less costly.
If you choose to do IUI, you may need to try three to four inseminations before achieving a successful pregnancy.
The cost of IUI can vary based on insurance coverage and doctor’s fees. IUI is generally less expensive than IVF. Each IUI cycle can cost anywhere from $300-$2,000 without insurance. The medication needed to assist with an IUI cycle may range from $30-$75 per cycle.
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a treatment in which a female patient’s eggs are surgically removed from the ovaries and fertilized in a laboratory with sperm (either from a male partner or sperm donor), in order to create embryos. The embryos are then transferred back into the uterus in the hopes of achieving pregnancy (Extend Fertility).
IVF can be an intense process, which requires the female patient to take a course of injectable, ovary-stimulating medications which encourage her body to produce multiple eggs in one cycle. The female patient will be constantly monitored with ultrasounds and bloodwork to make sure the medication is working properly.
Once the eggs are mature, the female patient will be placed under sedation, and the eggs will be retrieved with a surgical procedure. The eggs will then be combined with the sperm in a laboratory and monitored by an embryologist for five days to see which may develop and survive. Those eggs that become fertilized will be transferred into the uterus in hopes of conception.
One additional benefit to IVF (as opposed to IUI) is embryos created in a lab during the IVF process can have their genetic health assessed prior to the transfer back into the uterus.
The average IVF cycle can cost $12,000-$20,000 (not including medication) (NYT). One cycle will include monitoring, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer. The injectable medications may cost an additional $2,000-$6,000.
What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?
During the IVF process in the laboratory, more than 50,000 sperm are placed next to the egg in a lab dish in the hopes that one of those sperm will fertilize the egg. Sometimes sperm are unable to fertilize the egg, so a single sperm is selected by an embryologist and injected into the center of the egg via a tiny needle called a micropipette. Once the egg is fertilized, it is then transferred back into the uterus of the female patient. If you are a KS man with any level of viable sperm (likely obtained from a micro-tese procedure) ICSI is mandatory, as you wouldn’t have the sperm levels needed for traditional IVF alone.
In addition to the costs incurred during the normal rounds of IVF, you may spend an additional $800-$2,500 on the ICSI procedure.