Donor Insemination for Lesbians

Donor Insemination (DI) is a fertility procedure in which frozen donor sperm is thawed and inserted into a woman’s uterus directly around the time of ovulation, in order to achieve a pregnancy.

The donor sperm can be obtained from a known person or from a clinic-recruited one (unknown donor). Lesbian women or couples who are considering DI will have to determine which type of sperm donor is right for them. For more information visit our Donor Program page.


Illustrated Guide

Please click on the image below to view in full and download our infographic.

1. Rainbow Fertility_Donor Insemination_Infographic_(Lesbian) 660pix


Understanding the Donor Insemination Procedure

The method of DI most commonly used is Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI). There are three IUI treatment options:

  1. Natural Cycle Insemination – this does not involve any medication and follows the woman’s natural menstrual cycle.
  2. Clomiphene Citrate Ovulation Induction – this method involves the use of medication to stimulate the ovaries and cause or regulate ovulation. The use of this medication in combination with IUI has been shown to increase pregnancy rates over natural cycle IUI.
  3. FSH Ovulation Induction – Ovarian stimulation is stronger with this option and it has been shown to increase pregnancy rates over Natural Cycle IUI and Clomiphene Citrate IUI. Regular monitoring of the patient is required to minimise complications relating to overstimulation.


The Insemination Procedure

The insemination procedure is usually performed by your treating specialist or a fertility coordinator. Your partner is welcome to attend the procedure, which is quick and usually painless – many women describe it as similar to a Pap smear. When the procedure begins, you will lie down as you normally would for a pelvic exam. A speculum will be inserted and the donor sperm sample will be prepared for insertion. The sperm is placed all the way into the uterine cavity with a thin catheter and syringe. Your normal daily activities can be resumed immediately after the procedure.

Your pregnancy test should be performed about two weeks after the insemination. It is important to look after yourself in the first two weeks while waiting to have your pregnancy test.

The time between the insemination and your pregnancy test is often emotionally charged with expectation and anxiety. We understand this can be a difficult time and encourage you to call your clinic for support if you are finding it especially hard to deal with the stress of waiting.

If the procedure is unsuccessful we encourage you to have a follow-up appointment with your treating specialist. At this appointment, plans for further fertility treatment can be made and any questions you have can be answered.



  • People wishing to have assisted reproductive treatment in Victoria must undergo a criminal record check and child protection order check. For further information please visit our page Legislative Requirements – Victoria.
  • All treatment procedures are carried out in our RTAC (Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee)-accredited fertility clinics, where gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos are also stored.


Before going ahead with fertility treatment, please consider that each state has different legislation in regard to assisted reproductive treatment, for example:

  • In South Australia, according to the state’s legislation, females (single women or lesbian couples) are now able to access Assisted Reproductive Technology services if it appears they are unlikely to achieve a pregnancy, due to personal circumstances, other than by assisted reproductive treatment.

Therefore, we encourage you to refer to your own state legislation for more information and see one of our specialists to discuss your individual circumstances and explore your options.


When is Donor Insemination not Suitable?

Donor Insemination treatment is not recommended for:

  • Women over 38-40 years of age
  • Women with tubal blockage or severe tubal damage
  • Women with severe endometriosis


Cost of Treatment

As each treatment cycle is structured to suit individual needs, costs will vary between patients depending on the level of service required.

Following your initial consultation with a Rainbow Fertility specialist, you will be given a booking for a complimentary pre-treatment information session with one of our experienced fertility coordinators and patient services administrators. All aspects of your fertility treatment, including the cost structure, will be discussed with you at this time. If you have any questions regarding treatment fees, Medicare and private health insurance rebates before this, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly patient services team. Call: 1300 222 623 or email:

For general information about treatment fees, please visit our Treatment Costs page


What are the Potential Risks?

  • Infection – this may be more common in women with a history of pelvic infection.
  • Overstimulation – some women’s ovaries may experience an excessive response to the fertility drugs. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome occurs in a minority group of women who over-respond. Symptoms include severe discomfort, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distension and dehydration. It is important that the clinic is notified immediately if any of these symptoms occur during your treatment, as hospitalisation may be required.
  • Multiple Pregnancy – this has been shown to occur in up to 10 per cent of women. If there are too many follicles seen on ultrasound before the IUI procedure, the risk of multiple pregnancy may be too high and the procedure may be cancelled.
  • Failed Procedure – in a small number of cases, it is not possible to place the catheter into position through the cervix and the sperm cannot be inserted into the uterine cavity.


Things to Consider

We would like you to take a moment to consider some of the factors that may influence the decisions you make in your journey towards parenthood with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Some of the things you may have to consider are:

  • Relevant laws.
  • Your feelings about creating a family with a known or a clinic-recruited sperm donor. Think about your criteria for a donor and that person’s role.
  • Your feelings about being a single parent if you are undergoing treatment as a single lesbian woman.
  • If you are undergoing treatment as a couple, you need to determine which partner will carry the pregnancy. For some couples this is clear, while other couples need to negotiate this based on age, medical history and genetic factors.
  • Your feelings about creating a family where only one partner will be a genetic parent.
  • What if the outcome is unsuccessful: will this have an impact on your relationship?
  • Who needs to know about this: family, friends, work? This could be a great challenge for families who have not accepted their daughter’s sexual orientation and/or female partner.
  • What about the possible offspring? What if they wish to contact the sperm donor? What if they want to know how the donor was chosen? Writing down how these decisions were made is one way to prepare for the number of questions that a child may have about his or her conception and genetic heritage.

We invite you to take your time to consider the above. Try not to feel rushed, and trust your instinct.







At Rainbow Fertility, our specialists have extensive experience in helping create LGBTQIA+ families. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.

Call: 1300 222 623




Make an Enquiry

I have read and agree to the terms of Rainbow Fertility's Privacy Collection Statement and Privacy Policy

Rainbow Fertility has a responsibility to provide Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) based on relevant state or federal laws and guidelines. All individuals/couples are encouraged to obtain their own legal advice regarding the relevant legislation applying to their circumstances.