An Overview of the Screening Process for Donor Sperm
- Posted on: Apr 17 2013
Pregnancy can be achieved through sperm donation for couples with infertility issues involving low or absent sperm count. Sperm donation is also used for single females and same sex couples.
Approximately 5% of men that seek to donate sperm meet the criteria. Several conditions disqualify potential donors including:
- Men with a family history of genetic diseases such as sickle cell and anemia.
- Intravenous drug users
- Homosexual males who have had intercourse with other males
The typical screening process takes anywhere from two to six months. Once the donor is selected, the process of collecting the sample is simple. The sample is collected and mixed in a preservative solution and frozen using liquid nitrogen. It is stored at extremely cold temperatures and thawed when needed.
Couples using sperm donation are able to choose sperm from a certified sperm bank where donors are rigorously screened, and sperm frozen for a minimum of six months in a controlled environment. The top fertility clinics in Colorado such as Rocky Mountain Fertility Center only work with certified sperm banks.
There are basic guidelines and protocols that need to be followed when using a known or unknown donor. The screening process is critical, and there are multiple tests that should take place.
Genetic Disease Screenings
Sperm makes up 50% of the genetic make-up of the child. That means it is crucial for the sperm to be screened for the potential of genetically inherited diseases. A genetic screening includes tests to detect genetic diseases and familial diseases based upon the sperm donor’s ethnicity.
A careful screening will mitigate the risk of the child inheriting a genetic disease.
Infectious Disease Screenings
Semen can carry several infectious diseases that can spread to the mother and fetus. Sperm carries infectious diseases including HIV, Hepatitis and other diseases that can cause serious health issues for the mother and child.
The screening for infectious disease takes place prior to donation, and is regulated by the FDA. Donated sperm is quarantined for a minimum of six months with the donor being retested at that point.
Semen Quality Screenings
Semen analysis is done to determine the quality of the sperm. Doctors check to see the sperm count, shape and mobility of the sperm, which is used to determine the odds of a successful pregnancy. Low quality or insufficient sperm decreases the odds of a pregnancy occurring.
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