Estimates of Donated Sperm Use in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth 1995-2017

In recent years, nearly half a million U.S. women have used donor insemination, more than from earlier decades. New estimates of the population will aid practitioners, clinicians, and researchers in this area.

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Volume 112, Issue 4, Pages 718–723


Rachel Arocho, Ph.D., Elizabeth B. Lozano, M.A., M.S., Carolyn T. Halpern, Ph.D.



To provide national estimates of donor insemination (DI) use in the United States and a description of the population of users.


Population estimates were generated from nationally representative data through weighted proportions and count estimates.


Not applicable.


Participants were U.S. women of childbearing age (15–44 years) sampled for interview in the National Survey of Family Growth.



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Respondents who reported having received artificial insemination were asked the origin of the sperm. Responses could include husband/partner, donor only, or mixed donor and husband/partner.


In 1995, an estimated 170,701 (95% confidence interval 106,577–234,825) women had undergone DI using donor or mixed sperm. In 2015-2017, 440,986 (95% confidence interval 108,458–773,513) women were estimated to have used it. The DI users were mostly white, urban, older, college-educated, and had high family incomes.


The DI use changed over time, from a decrease between 1995 and 2013 to a precipitous growth in 2015 to 2017. In recent years, nearly half a million women may be dealing with personal, relationship, and familial issues born of DI use. The United States does not maintain records on the usage of donor sperm, but better tracking of the use and outcomes of treatment would provide better estimates of the size of the affected population.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.