Perinatal outcomes of 221,709 singleton and twin pregnancies after the use of donor versus partner sperm

Christopher P Allen* (Corresponding Author), David J McLernon, Sohinee Bhattahcharya, Abha Maheshwari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To study the association of donor sperm on perinatal outcomes of livebirths conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) when compared with partner sperm.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study SETTING: National Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority assisted reproductive technology registry PATIENTS: All live born singletons and twins conceived through IVF with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2016 INTERVENTION(S): Donor sperm compared to partner sperm MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Perinatal outcomes were assessed. The primary outcomes were preterm and very preterm birth; low, very low, high, and very high birthweight; Secondary outcomes were congenital anomaly and health baby. These were assessed for singletons and twins separately.

RESULTS: For singleton livebirths, compared to partner sperm, those conceived with donor sperm were at reduced odds of very preterm (odds ratio [OR], 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63-0.91; adjusted OR [aOR], 0.80; 95% CI, 0.66-0.96), and preterm (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.98; aOR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.85-1.01) birth. For birthweight outcomes, donor sperm showed a reduced odds of low (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.91; aOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.78-0.94) and an increased odds of high (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.07-1.23; aOR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.17) birthweight. There was no confirmed difference in the odds ratios of very low (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74-1.06; aOR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.78-1.13) or very high (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.40; aOR, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.98-1.34) birthweight. Liveborn twins conceived with donor sperm, compared to partner sperm, were at reduced odds of very low (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.66-0.88; aOR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.72-0.96) and low (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81-0.93; aOR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.98) birthweight. There was a suggestion of a reduced odds of very preterm (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.70-0.95; aOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-1.01) and preterm (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.86-1.01; aOR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.88-1.04) birth. There was considerable uncertainty around the ORs for high (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.31-1.72; aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.29-1.80) and very high (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.39-2.67; aOR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.50-3.60) birthweight.

CONCLUSION: Although unmeasured confounding remains a possibility, as paternal age, body mass index, and smoking status were unavailable for analysis, women, couples, service providers can be reassured that IVF livebirths conceived with donor sperm have no greater chance of adverse outcomes when compared to partner sperm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-958
Number of pages11
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number5
Early online date21 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Donor sperm
  • IVF
  • partner sperm
  • perinatal outcomes


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