Infertility can be an uncomfortable topic. From the social pressures that people face when seeking help to the physical discomfort that comes with some treatments, lots of patients are hesitant to openly seek advice or research available treatment options. However, Cryos International, Orlando's local sperm and egg bank, is partnering with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association to educate the community and reduce stigma during National Infertility Week (April 22-28). Cryos is a sperm and egg bank that provides both donor sperm and donor eggs to facilities, medical practices and individuals for use in reproductive treatments.
Based in Denmark but with a large presence in the U.S., including Orlando, Cryos is the world's largest sperm bank — which means they have a diverse variety of sperm donors for clients to choose from. Their egg bank also currently has over 125 egg donors of all ethnicities to choose from. Having a local brick and mortar location means that people can actually come in and pick up their specimens, saving on shipping costs. "With 30 years of experience, we have the most registered pregnancies in the world, which speaks to our quality," says Corey Burke, Cryos's Tissue Bank Director. "You don't have the most pregnancies in the world without having good-quality products. All of our donors are screened above and beyond the FDA standards and any regulatory standards that exist in the United States."
One of the options Cryos is trying to spread the word about during Infertility Awareness Week is Intracervical Insemination (ICI), also known as Home Insemination. The client is sent donor sperm via Fedex to their home, or they can pick up the sperm at the Cryos office. Then the patient follows the simple instructions included with their home insemination kit and completes the fertility treatment in the privacy of their own home. Home Insemination is a great option for single women, couples struggling to have a baby due to male partner fertility issues, and lesbian couples.
"The acceptance of same-sex couples and legality of marriage in many states for same-sex couples has created a new market of people who don't have fertility issues," says Burke. "For example, lesbian couples — they probably don't have infertility issues, they just lack sperm. Same with gay male couples; they just lack eggs."
At-home insemination is an option that's gained traction in recent years, due in large part to the acceptance of the gay community. "Seven or eight years ago, very few states approved of same-sex marriage, so that was an issue," stresses Burke. "Fertility treatments were considered to be medical procedures done in doctor's offices. But when you think about it, it's just reproduction. People reproduce all the time at home; they don't need the help of a doctor. We're trying to reach people who don't suffer from infertility issues, they just need sperm or eggs."
For many years, general knowledge of infertility and social stigma also played a huge role in how patients talked about, researched and sought treatment for their own infertility. But according to Burke, a lot of that has changed. "For decades there's been stigma attached to not being able to become pregnant. When I first started doing In Vitro Fertilization [a more involved treatment that uses fertility medication, egg collection from a female donor, and insertion of a lab-developed embryo into a woman's uterus] most of our patients were very secretive. They didn't want anybody to know they were coming to us. Now we have celebrities doing it and it's all over the news... so-and-so star is using a sperm donor, this one's doing IVF, and Janet Jackson's pregnant at fifty-something. It's become something that people talk about."
Whether it's a heterosexual couple, a single woman, LGBT partners or anyone else, Cryos International has a knowledgeable staff and the highest quality products to help anyone in need of fertility treatments. Their partnership with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association during Infertility Awareness Week is just another step they're taking to be Orlando's go-to resource for the community's fertility treatment needs. For more information please visit http://usa.cryosinternational.com and look through the information, donor, and blog pages, or ask a question via chat for an instant answer.