Single mother by choice holding baby in her arms with a playground in the background

Having a baby on your own? 7 survival tips for single mothers by choice

Single mother by choice holding baby in her arms with a playground in the background

If you’re considering becoming a single mother by choice, you’re probably asking yourself a wealth of questions. How will I cope with years of interrupted sleep? What about male role models? And the question to sum it all up: Can I do it alone?

The short answer is: yes, you absolutely can. But there are ways to organise yourself that will make your life as a single mother by choice a lot easier.

At European Sperm Bank, we speak to thousands of women who choose to become single mothers each year. Here, we’ve collected our top tips for preparing to have a child on your own.

1. Baby-proof your life as a single mother by choice

Becoming a parent is one of the most incredible experiences and it’s a decision you’ll never regret. For many people – whether they be single mothers by choice or couples – having a child is also one of the most overwhelming experiences they’ll ever go through. So think about how you can organise yourself to make everyday life with a child as easy as possible.

Making life with kids as easy as possible could mean moving closer to your family and friends, so you have your network close by. Or perhaps you’ll want to find a job with a better work-life balance.

Also, it’s expensive to have children. So start your journey to motherhood by reviewing your financial situation. Creating a budget will give you an overview of your fixed vs. your discretionary spending. That way, you can determine if you need to make changes to your life in order to pay for everything that a child needs.

And while you’re at it, consider leaving room in your budget for more than just baby stuff. With extra money to spare, you might be able to afford a regular nanny. Or you can order take-out for the umpteenth time. Whatever gets you by when you’ve had 3 hours of sleep.

2. Find someone to share the small moments with

Have you ever rolled your eyes at parents cooing over their baby’s newfound ability to ____? Or wondered how people can spend so long talking about toilet routines and feeding rituals?

Once you become a mother, you’ll realise how the smallest things can mean so much – whether it’s glee or worry. It’s your baby girl snoozing on your chest. Or the tiny rash on your toddler’s arm that’s been lingering for days.

Two-parent families have each other. They can marvel at and obsess over everything together. As a single parent, it can get lonely sometimes.

To counter this feeling, make sure you have a reliable network to share things with. If you don’t have family or friends that you’re close with, there are online communities for single mothers by choice. Speak openly to the special people around you about wanting them to be close to your child’s life. It means the world to have someone who takes an active interest and to whom no moment or concern is too small.

“Sharing the small moments in life with other adults creates what you might call life witnesses. People who are included in the small things, not just milestone events. This shows the child that his or her life is important – a crucial way to build their self-esteem,” says psychologist Henriette Cranil. Henriette specialises in counselling women and couples who are considering donor-assisted conception. She is part of our expert panel here at European Sperm Bank.

3. Creating your family’s story. Or the answer to “where is my daddy?”

At some point, your child will start asking questions along the lines of “where is my daddy?”. As a single mother by choice, it’s a good idea to think about how to explain your family situation to your child early on.

For instance, the choices you make about your sperm donor might affect your story. How did you choose the sperm donor? Did you want someone you could see yourself dating in real life or did you choose a donor who looked like you? Open or non-contact donor – what were the reasons for your decision? Consider writing down your reasons if you worry that you might forget over time.

Also, make sure you acquire as much information about the sperm donor as possible. Your child might never want to know all the details, but having a full donor profile leaves options open for your child to find out more about their donor.

With these preparations in place, you’ll have the building blocks you need for telling your child about how they came into this world. Experts advise that donor-conceived children are told the truth as early as possible, so start telling your child this story from day one.

4. The sad, legal stuff. Who will take care of my child if I die?

Nobody wants to think about this part. It’s an uncomfortable question and it’s hardly something you’re thinking about when choosing to become a mum. But it’s a good investment of your time.

Once a mum, make sure that you create a will in which you nominate a guardian for your child in case the worst happens. Make sure that you ask the person you’re nominating if they are willing to take care of your child.  

Legislation and legal practice vary from country to country. Typically, a family court will decide who should take care of orphaned children. The court will assess all options and make a decision based on what it deems best for the child. In such cases, knowing the will of the parent is valuable information.

5. Stop comparing yourself to two-parent families

Many women considering single motherhood worry whether they can provide everything that a child needs. Basically, will the child suffer from not growing up in a normal family?

The truth is that no family is ‘normal’. In the UK, for instance, single-parent families make up nearly a quarter of families with dependent children

And remember, two-parent families eat lots of frozen dinners, too.

6. Practice asking for help

Most of us are terrible at asking for help. But like all new parents, you’ll appreciate a helping hand. Whether it’s a last-minute deadline at work or taking time to yourself, you’ll be wise to lean on others for support sometimes.

Psychologist Henriette Cranil advises that you plan early: “It’s a good idea to ask your network about their commitment before the baby arrives. How much can you count on them for errands or last-minute babysitting? That way, it’s easier for you to ask for help when you need it.”

Also, remember that most people love to help. By asking for help you’re showing the other person that you think of them as resourceful and trustworthy. Don’t worry about being a burden.

7. Take some time to yourself and don’t beat yourself up over it

Mothers are excellent at caring for their children. Sometimes they do pretty poorly when it comes to taking care of themselves, though. But the truth is, you need time to yourself to be the best parent you can be. Especially as a single mother by choice.

Henriette Cranil reminds us that taking time away from our kids actually benefits the children, too: “Children will love walking home with a friend to their house after school once in a while. It teaches them that they are not dependent on their parent(s). ‘I can do this on my own.’ Learning that lesson builds self-esteem and confidence.”

‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’

Many women considering single motherhood worry whether they have the stamina or resources to have a baby on their own. But with these tips and your unconditional love for your future child, you will be fine. In fact, the only regret we hear from single mothers by choice is “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Helle Rasmussen's baby girl crawls across the floor. Helle decided to become a single mother by choice and have a baby on her own.

Single mother by choice: from career goals to baby dreams


Helle decided to become a single mother by choice and have a baby on her own.

Helle Rasmussen didn’t spend her 20s dreaming of a nuclear family like most of her friends. Much less, of having a baby on her own. Instead, she focused on her career as a lawyer. She loved her life and enjoyed the challenges that came with the job. But when her sister became a mother, Helle started reflecting on her life choices.

“I was dedicating my time to solving other people’s problems. I started wondering if this was what I wanted my life to be about or if a family of my own would make me happier.”

From then on, her priorities changed. She knew she wanted to become a mother one day.

Her boyfriend didn’t want more children

A few years later, Helle was in a relationship with a guy who she hoped would become the father of her future child. He already had two kids from previous relationships. Despite this, Helle hoped that her dream of having a family was still possible. She was heartbroken when it became clear that her boyfriend didn’t want another child. Helle had to figure out what was most important to her – becoming a mother or keeping her boyfriend. It was a difficult decision to make.

“I felt torn between two feelings. On the one hand, I had the rational feeling that he was not the one for me. After all, he couldn’t fulfil my biggest wish. On the other hand, I felt an irrational question weighing on my mind. Would we be together forever if having a baby weren’t an issue?”

In the end, Helle couldn’t give up her dream of having a baby of her own. After three years together, the couple split.

Searching for the father of her future children

While searching for the right father for her future child, Helle started dating again.

“I was desperately dating guys hoping to find my true soulmate to start a family with. The dream of a husband and a child dominated all my thoughts, and I wasn’t ready to give it up. It became a time-consuming project and I felt like I was racing against time.”

She didn’t find the man of her dreams that time around. Looking back, Helle believes she was in the wrong state of mind to get involved with someone – even if the right man turned up. She was too consumed by her dream to really get to know another person.

Making the decision to be a single mother by choice

While searching intensely for a future baby daddy, Helle noticed women around her were choosing to have babies on their own. She had never thought about starting a family without a man, but the idea seemed strangely appealing. Still, she wasn’t sure if she was ready to give up the dream of a nuclear family.

“I was so focused on finding the man and then having the child. The possibility of turning the order on its head hadn’t crossed my mind. Having a child without a man and then hoping for a man to enter our life later became a rational solution.”

Next, Helle got an appointment at her gynaecologist to talk about her options. She was relieved to find that the gynaecologist advised her to get started right away. That message gave her the final push she needed.

“I was in a place in my life where I felt like I had a lot to offer. I had the house, the car and the job. The only thing missing was the man and the child. After talking to the gynaecologist, I felt certain. I was ready for this journey.”

Finding a sperm donor that looked like herself was vital

Helle started her search for a sperm donor at European Sperm Bank. She chose this sperm bank because her gynaecologist and a lot of women online recommended it.

“The most important thing for me was that the donor looked like myself. Actually, I only looked at donors with pictures of them as a baby. Donor profiles without images never interested me. I also considered the vibe I got from donors seeing as I was looking for someone I found appealing. It had to be someone with a personality I would consider dating as an adult in real life. The process was almost like online dating. If the picture and profile didn’t speak to me, I was on to the next. These factors, along with the donor’s medical history and his nationality, were really important to me.”

6 inseminations and 4 IVF treatments later

The following year, Helle went through 6 inseminations and 4 IVF treatments. Each time, her doctor advised her to choose a new sperm donor to ensure that it wasn’t a bad biological match between her and the donor that kept her from getting pregnant.

“It was a hard time emotionally and financially. Every time an insemination proved unsuccessful, I thought to myself: “is this really what I want to do?” And every time the answer was yes. So I kept going.”

Her luck finally turned on the tenth attempt and this time, Helle was expecting twins. During week nine, Helle lost one of the twins. But the remaining twin kept growing bigger and stronger.

Being single and pregnant wasn’t an issue for Helle. She was prepared and she had thought it through. She was so on board with going through the process alone that she didn’t feel the need to involve anybody else. In October 2017, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Today, Helle and her daughter are thriving. Helle is so happy that she chose project baby before finding the man of her dreams.

“This is how it was meant to be for us. I’m so obsessed with her and for the moment I can’t imagine our life in any other way.”

Open eller Non-contact (anonym) sæddonor? Dette skal du overveje, når du vælger sæddonor.

Der er flere ting, du skal tage stilling til, når du vælger at få et barn med hjælp fra en sæddonor. Et spørgsmål du uden tvivl kommer til at stille dig selv er, hvordan vælger jeg, om sæddonoren skal være Open eller Non-contact (anonym)? Valget får senere indflydelse på dit barns mulighed for at få sæddonorens identitet udleveret.

For at give dig de bedst mulige forudsætninger, for at vælge den type donor der er rigtig for din familie, har vi spurgt psykolog, Henriette Cranil, til råds. Henriette Cranil har specialiseret sig i at vejlede solomødre til børn af sæddonorer.

Hvad er forskellen på Open og Non-contact (anonym) sæddonor?

Den eneste forskel der er mellem en Open sæddonor, og en Non-contact sæddonor, er muligheden for, at dit barn kan få sæddonorens identitet udleveret, når barnet bliver myndigt. Uanset om du vælger en Open eller Non-contact (anonym) sæddonor, kan du få de samme detaljerede oplysninger om sæddonoren. En donorprofil indeholder blandt andet beskrivelser af donorens helbred og familiens sygdomshistorik, personlige og fysiske karakteristika, mv. Du kan læse mere om donorprofilerne her.

Open sæddonor

• Detaljerede oplysninger om sæddonoren i en online donorprofil
• Når dit barn fylder 18 år, kan barnet kontakte sædbanken og få udleveret donors identitet. Det er kun barnet, der kan få donors identitet at vide

Non-contact (anonym) sæddonor

• Samme detaljerede oplysninger om sæddonoren som gør sig gældende for Open donorer
• En Non-contact (anonym) sæddonor ønsker ikke at udlevere sin identitet

Hvordan vælger jeg, om sæddonoren skal være Open eller Non-contact (anonym)?

Der er intet rigtigt eller forkert valg, når du skal vælge mellem en Open eller Non-contact sæddonor. Begge donortyper er lige meningsfulde. Når du træffer valget mellem en Open og en Non-contact sæddonor, skal du være bevidst om, at du tager et valg på vegne af dit barn, som ikke kan gøres om. En sæddonor kan ikke skifte fra at være Non-contact, til at blive Open sæddonor, eller omvendt. Det er derfor en god idé, at du tænker begge muligheder igennem, og gør dig det klart, hvorfor du vælger, som du gør.

Hvad betyder valget af sæddonor for mit barn?

Ifølge psykolog Henriette Cranil, påvirker det ene valg ikke dit barn mere positivt eller negativt, end det andet: “Dit barn påvirkes af mange forskellige omstændigheder, relationer, og betingelser, og bliver ved med at udvikle sig hele deres liv. Børns identitet bliver i høj grad påvirket af alle de mange faktorer, der rent faktisk er til stede i deres liv – forældre, eventuelle søskende, institutionsliv, skolegang, og graden af omsorg og inddragelse, for blot at nævne nogle få af faktorerne. Dit barn kan, med andre ord, blive påvirket ad andre veje, end lige præcis det, at der er tale om en sæddonor, man aldrig vil få et personligt forhold til” fortæller Henriette Cranil.

Om du vælger en Open eller Non-contact donor, er helt op til dig, men vi råder dig til at være afklaret med beslutningen, og at turde tage samtalerne, når dit barn begynder at stille spørgsmål. Med årsagerne bevidst har du et godt udgangspunkt for at give dit kommende barn gode og velovervejede svar om dit valg.

Kommer mit valg af sæddonor til at påvirke mit barn?

Det er helt naturligt, at dit barn vil komme til at stille spørgsmål, der handler om deres biologiske ophav. Det kan være spørgsmål som, “Hvor har jeg mine læbers form fra?” eller, “Hvor har jeg mit særlige temperament fra?”. Og mere reflekterende: “Ved sæddonoren, at jeg eksisterer?”. Mange af disse spørgsmål er besvaret i de donorprofiler, som er tilgængelige for forældre og børn og er ens for både Open og Non-contact sæddonorer. Opstår der spørgsmål, som ikke kan besvares her, har hverken børn af Open eller Non-contact donorer krav på at få deres spørgsmål besvaret af donoren. En Open donor forpligter sig kun til at udlevere sin identitet – ikke til en relation med børnene.

Henriette Cranil fortæller, at det generelt for disse børn er vigtigt, at de lærer at acceptere, at de er børn af en sæddonor. De skal lære at forholde sig til, at de ikke kender deres biologiske ophav, og for børn af en non-contact sæddonor gælder det også, at de ikke vil have mulighed for at få hans identitet udleveret.

“Det kan være en gradvis proces at acceptere, at man er barn af en donor, og det kan hjælpe børn af en donor at dele processen med en fortrolig, der respekterer og deltager i refleksionerne. Børnenes følelser skal imødekommes, accepteres og støttes. En del af denne støtte kan være blot at lytte til tankerne og følelserne. En anden del af støtten kan være at deltage i refleksionerne: Hvorfor optager spørgsmålet dig? Og hvordan ville det være, hvis du kendte svaret?” fortæller Henriette Cranil.

Vær ærlig om barnets ophav, uanset hvad du vælger

Det helt afgørende for dit barns trivsel og identitetsfølelse er, at der er åbenhed om barnets ophav hos de nærmeste, fortæller Henriette Cranil. At barnet kender til sit ophav, og at du som forælder kan rumme både de positive og de negative tanker og spørgsmål.

“Vi ved, at det kan være svært for et barn, hvis forældrene holder det hemmeligt, at de er barn af en sæddonor – eller at far ikke var den far, man troede. Det kan få indflydelse på børnenes identitetsfølelse,” forklarer Henriette Cranil.

Grunden til at hemmeligheden kan påvirke børnenes identitetsfølelse er, at der er tale om et grundlæggende tillidsbrud, og en livs- og identitetshistorie, der skal skrives helt forfra. Henriette Cranil råder derfor forældre til børn af en sæddonor til at tale åbent med barnet, om deres biologiske ophav, allerede fra 2-års alderen. På den måde bliver det, at være kommet til verden ved hjælp af en sæddonor, en integreret del af barnets livsfortælling helt fra starten.

“Dialogen med de helt små børn, omkring hvor de kommer fra, bør være enkel og faktuel. Senere i barnets udvikling kan samtalen indeholde flere tanker, følelser, og måske kritik, som en sund del af det at vokse op med donorbaggrund som livsvilkår,” afslutter Henriette Cranil.

Optimise your chances of a healthy baby

GeneXmatch is a service offered to you as a natural step on your fertility journey. Our donors are selected based on thorough genetic testing to optimise the chances for healthy babies. But as the prospective mother, your genes also have a role to play. GeneXmatch is a way for you to minimise the risk of disease-causing combinations from yours and your donor’s genes.

What we do

We test your recessive genes and match them against the same genes of your chosen donor to identify the risk of more than 390 autosomal recessive serious diseases. If you are a carrier of one or more mutations in the recessive genes investigated, we will only match you with a donor who is not a carrier of a mutation in the same gene(s) as you. This reduces the risk of recessive diseases in your child.
The second test concerns 12 genes located on your X chromosome. If you are a carrier of a mutation in any of these X-linked genes, you have a risk of having an affected child, regardless of the donor. In this case, we will offer you genetic counselling to determine your options and how to proceed on your fertility journey.

It’s easy

The only thing we need from you is a saliva sample. You will receive a test kit from us with full instructions on how to provide and return your sample. You will get your result approximately four weeks after the lab has received your sample.

I decided to use a sperm donor

Our newest blogger, Henriette Cranil, is a psychologist and mother of two 7 year-old twins conceived with help from a sperm donor. As a psychologist, Henriette has made it one of her specialities to advise singles and couples in having children with a sperm donor. She helps find solutions to the many questions and dilemmas that rise when they consider conceiving with the help from a donor. 

This is Henriette’s story.

WHEN I was in my early 30’s I began to imagine how it would be to become a mother. The pictures in my head became more and more defined and I started to see images of myself as a mother. I also began to stop and look at children’s clothes and teddy bears. I knew a lesbian couple who were pregnant at the time with help from a sperm donor. They were flying on cloud nine, completely consumed with bliss and happiness. To me it was amazing to witness, and I was wildly inspired.

During that time, I was single, happy and in a really good place in my career as a psychologist. Summer came, I was 34 years old and I asked myself what I was really waiting for in regards to becoming a mother? The answer was, of course, a boyfriend in a “the love of my life”-way but that kind of love doesn’t necessarily appear exactly when you want it. Therefore, I decided to change the order and instead become a mother on my own and subsequently bet on – hopefully sometime – meeting a lovely boyfriend.

Becoming pregnant, becoming a mother

From here on things moved quickly and a few months later I was pregnant. When I reached 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, I went to have the first scan at the Hospital. This was the moment I got one of my life’s greatest and best surprises: there were two beating hearts. I was expecting twins! Today I am the mother of a boy and a girl of 7½ years. 7½ intense, wild, enriching, changing, different, fun, loving and sometimes exhausting, years.

The decision to become a mother on my own was easy for me, but I also went through a lot of considerations during the process. Should I choose an anonymous or open donor? What if it turns out I cannot get pregnant? What is it like growing up without a father? How will the outside world react? How do you talk to the children about it? How do we get by every day? How would it be for a future boyfriend to be involved in this little family?

Let’s share knowledge

I will regularly be discussing questions like these and many others on the blog. Today, I have made it one of my specialties as a psychologist to advise singles and couples in becoming parents through a donor – throughout the journey from the reflection phase to the many phases of questions and dilemmas you meet as parents.

I look forward to sharing thoughts, questions and suggestions for answers and hopefully inspire you to lots of courage, ideas and good decisions!

European Sperm Bank at the Fertility Expo in Copenhagen

26-27th of May we will be at the annual Fertility Expo in Copenhagen!

If you are contemplating starting a family soon, already trying, or if you are receiving fertility treatment, Fertilitets-messen is the place for you and everybody in search of knowledge, facts, explanations and dialogue regarding all aspects of infertility and fertility treatment.

9 percent of children born in Denmark every year, are coming in to this world with the help from fertility treatments. Most of the people seeking help at a fertility clinic are couples who are having trouble conceiving; some are suffering from PCOS, some need donor eggs, some need special procedures such as ICSI or IVF. Others are single women and Lesbians who need donor sperm.

One of the reasons to have a fair about fertility is to share knowledge and bring it into focus. Today, we are all probably familiar with friends or family who have needed assistance in trying to conceive. We all need to speak up and openly about it – let’s help each other and spread the word!

Fertilitets-messen aims to break the taboos so often associated with infertility by providing unbiased information and heightened levels of information, enabling you to make an informed choice.

Obviously, we at European Sperm Bank are participating and we are ready to discuss and answer any questions you might have about donor sperm, how to choose a donor, differences between open and non-contact donors etc.

Time and Place

26-27th of May 2018

Docken, Copenhagen

Opening hours

Saturday/Lørdag: 10.00 – 17.00

Sunday/Søndag: 10.00 – 17.00

Get more information here!

Donor sperm is not a discount product

Lately there has been different stories in the Media concerning the purchasing of donor sperm. At European Sperm Bank we would like to summaries, what we believe are very important aspect about the topic Donor Sperm. When choosing donor sperm, it is pivotal that instead of just comparing prices between sperm banks, that we instead focus on why and how sperm banks are different. What they actually offer – besides the sperm.

Accepting the right donors

At European Sperm Bank we make a difference by selecting and having the best donors. Our screening process is probably one of the best and most thorough worldwide. We are extremely critical and will always say NO rather than accept an unknown risk when approving donor candidates. We constantly evaluate and choose the best testing methods and practices to give everyone peace of mind that genetically bound diseases are not transmitted. This is also the reason why we have an in-house employee, a specialized geneticist, who has been in the genetics field for 30 years. Our geneticist is always involved in the evaluation and acceptance of any donor. Since it is our overall goal to help creating wonderful and healthy children we find it crucial to be able to offer exactly this kind of genetic security and counselling as part of the process. Having a donor child is one of the safest ways to have a child. Even so, we must always embrace the fact that we are dealing with nature – and therefore our own imperfect genes.

How we test and screen

Our screening approach is fundamental to how we define ourselves as a sperm bank. It has been the key element in our operations since we were founded in 2004 and it continues to be so as we review and update processes on an ongoing basis. Needless to say, our screening program complies with the regulations set out by the Danish Health Authority and meets and exceeds the EU screening requirements. Compliance is a number one priority with us and you should always look for a sperm bank who is compliant with local authorities.
Core to our approach is that we only accept donors with superb sperm quality (only MOT20+) Luckily, we receive many applications every day from men keen to be donors, but after our thorough testing only 5-7% of the applicants are accepted as donors. We reject a lot of potential donors due to the sperm quality alone, but obviously the donors own and family medical history influences whether one might be accepted or not. We never take any chances.

We care and think about the future

We offer the best and most professional guidance to those in need of donor sperm. We ensure that women and couples experience a positive and valuable difference when contacting us. And we fully understand that using a sperm donor is rarely a first choice. This is also why we take our time to listen and provide the right counselling. Daily we are in contact with women, men and couples from around the entire world who needs help, sparring, good advice or simply a chat about the choice and process they are facing.

Choose European Sperm Bank

Sperm is not a discount product. And shouldn’t be treated as such. Make sure to ask the right questions before you make your choice. Just to be sure what you will get besides the sperm.
The most important statement we can make, is that we help you giving the gift of life. We want to be the ones who made the real difference in your life by providing you with the best quality sperm and the best counselling. This way we believe that happy and healthy children are being born.

Please contact us for more info or start your journey to parenthood here.

Ready to choose a sperm donor? Look at our extended donor profiles here!

So funktioniert das mit der Samenspende

Nachgehakt: So funktioniert das mit der Samenspende – SCHWULISSIMO sprach mit Annemette Arndal-Lauritzen, CEO der European Sperm Bank

Wie sicher sind eigentlich Samenspenden?
Wir sagen normalerweise, dass Spendersamen eigentlich sicherer sind, als wenn ein Kind auf “herkömmliche” Weise gezeugt wird. Denn die wenigsten Frauen lassen ihren Mann testen, bevor sie anfangen, Kinder mit ihm zu zeugen. Unsere Spender z.B. durchlaufen einen sehr detaillierten und anspruchsvollen Screening-Prozess, bei dem sehr gründlich getestet wird. Hierbei überprüfen wir u. A. die Gesundheitsgeschichte der Familie über mehrere Generationen und testen auf mögliche Infektionskrankheiten und natürlich genetische Vererbungen. Und natürlich wählen wir unsere Spender auch nach ihrer Spermaqualität – wobei wir nur diejenigen akzeptieren, die eine sehr hochwertige Spermaqualität liefern können.
Mit anderen Worten, die von uns akzeptierten Spender werden umfangreich getestet. Nur 5 – 7 % der Bewerber werden überhaupt in das Programm aufgenommen werden.



Insemination: ICI, IUI, IVF or ICSI? What to choose?


Thinking of having a baby through artificial insemination?
​Perhaps you have already talked to your doctor and have been told about the many options – and now you cannot tell one from the other.

For most people, this is new territory and yes, it can be confusing.
So here we have listed the four most common insemination options for those women, who wants to get pregnant with the help from a sperm donor.

​​We begin with the least technical procedure and work our way up, so to speak. 


ICI or Intra-Cervical Insemination
This procedure uses a flexible catheter or device to insert unwashed sperm directly into the cervix – that’s the area behind the vagina, just in front of the uterus.
This procedure can be done at home (so-called Home insemination) or at a fertility clinic, and it is typically the easiest and least expensive method of insemination. It also most closely replicates natural conception.

​Which kind of donor sperm to use?
For the ICI procedure, unwashed or ICI-ready donor sperm is recommended. Remember that ”unwashed” does not mean dirty or untested: ICI-ready semen is still screened and tested for bacteria and STDs
​ ​
IUI, or Intra-Uterine Insemination
For this procedure, a flexible catheter is used to insert prewashed sperm directly into the uterus. This provides a better chance of reaching the fallopian tubes and thus the egg. This procedure is recommended to be performed at a fertility clinic.

​Which kind of donor sperm to use?
IUI-ready sperm should be used for this type of insemination, as unwashed donor sperm placed directly into the uterus may cause anaphylactic shock. “Washing” means that the seminal fluid has been removed along with dead or disqualified sperm cells.
​​The liquid is replaced with a cryo-preservative fluid to protect the sperm cells in the freezing process. This means that IUI-ready sperm is ready for use, and does not need further processing before insemination.


IVF or In Vitro Fertilization
With this method of assisted reproduction, the fertilisation of the egg happens in a laboratory. An egg is plucked from the woman and placed in a laboratory dish with the sperm.

​The sperm then spontaneously fertilises the egg in the dish. Normally, this takes between 1-10 hours. The fertilised egg is then placed back into the woman’s uterus to develop.

Which kind of donor sperm to use?

Both types of donor sperm may be used.


ICSI or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
This is the most technical procedure of the four: The procedure is similar to the IVF in all aspects except one crucial step: One single, carefully selected sperm cell is manually injected into the very middle of the egg using a tiny needle.

This procedure is normally only necessary in cases with severe male infertility or when the number of eggs available is very low or difficult to fertilise.

Which kind of donor sperm to use?
Both types of donor sperm may be used.
Want more information?
It is always best to consult with a doctor or fertility professional before making a final decision. Your choice of treatment also depends on many physical factors such as your age and health.

You are of course also welcome to ask us any questions you may have. Some of the answers may be available already at our website If not, do not hesitate to email or call us.

We are here to help you!

//posted by Michael. Communications specialist at European Sperm Bank

Third edition of German LBGT handbook out now


The renowned German handbook Regenbogenfamilien. Ein Handbuch has been revised and published in its third edition. It is now available from the publisher. 

Regenbogenfamilien. Ein Handbuch by German author Stephanie Gerlach is considered the standard on all aspects, issues, questions and concerns when LGBT couples consider starting a family in German-speaking countries.

Now in its third revised edition, this comprehensive German language compendium gives new and updated invaluable insight on decisions, prospective parents will need to confront: from adoption, sperm donors, pregnancy and artificial insemination to foster families and puberty.

In addition, the author includes more interviews with LGBT families, who share their experiences with the readers.

The book is an indispensable reference tool for anyone considering parenthood.


You can order the book now at

​​Stephanie Gerlach is a social worker and lives with in Munic with her wife and daughter. She works as a freelance consultant to same-sex couples and families, and has developed and worked with anti-homophobia training since 1998. She has also published various scientific articles on lesbian and gay parenting.

European Sperm Bank has proudly sponsored the publication of this third edition.

//posted by Adam