Sperm donation helps infertile couples to enjoy parenthood. A person can donate sperm only when he fulfills the criteria and undergoes comprehensive screening process. The success rate with donor sperm is high but it also depends on many other factors. Get an insight into the basics of sperm donation process.
Reproductive technologies have made great advancements making it rather unnecessary the requirement of a sperm donor. But in some cases, sperm donation happens to be the only way to make a pregnancy possible for an infertile couple. The invention on ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) makes conception easier today.
When husband is not able to assist in artificial insemination, sperm donors are needed. The potential donor has to undergo comprehensive screening tests to rule out any diseases and physical evaluation along with genetic analysis. Read on to know the criteria for becoming a sperm donor.
A certain fertility clinic has interestingly mentioned a heap of qualities that should mark a sperm donor. He is supposed to be “intelligent, creative, charismatic, one who embodies passion and enthusiasm in every area of his life.” These are all qualities that are required in a sperm donor apart from the usual physical characteristics. It has been found that sperm donors come from all walks of life and they can well have a wide array of personality, value and skill.
There are a lot of men who file applications to become a sperm donor. Amongst them usually just 5% clear the criteria.
Criteria for Disqualification of Sperm Donor
Given below are a few conditions that immediately cause a disqualification of a potential donor.
» Susceptibility to Diseases - Clinics are very particular that the person who wants to become a sperm donor is free from certain diseases. Even if anyone in the family of the potential donor is known to have suffered from cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, the person is disqualified.
» Homosexuality - Men who lead a homosexual life or who engage in sex with other men cannot become a sperm donor.
» Drug Addiction - If the man is found to be an intravenous drug user, he is immediately disqualified.
» HIV Infection - If the person is found to have visited areas that have a good number of HIV cases, or have engaged in sex with women or men who are residents of those areas, are not eligible to become a sperm donor.
Before the donor obtains clearance, they need to go through a meticulous screening procedure. They need to fill in a lot of questionnaires, undertake a number of blood screenings and specimen screenings along with a comprehensive physical evaluation and a precise genetic analysis.
Procedure for Sperm Donor’s Screening
All sperm bank clinic may differ in the selection process. They are by and large highly selective but some can be more stringent or particular than the others. Usually they prefer their donors to be tall and trim. They must be heterosexual, free from certain diseases and of course the genetic ones. They should be between 19 to 34 years. However, many banks can accept clients who are in their mid forties as well.The screening process can be categorised into:
» Family Background Check - A detailed interview about the sexual behavior of the person is taken. This includes a check on the family background and the clinic would like to have satisfactory reasons on why the man is interested in sperm donation.
» He is expected to clearly answer queries related to his family history. In certain cases, the clinics might ask questions related to three generations preceding him. The information gathered is then evaluated.
» Semen Analysis - The specimen semen is collected for semen analysis. The sperm count is checked along with two other important factors like sperm cell motility and normal sperm morphology.
» Medical and Genetic Tests - The potential sperm donor must have clear results for HIV, Hepatitis B and C apart from several other associated tests. The ABO-Rh factor blood typing is also carried out.A genetic testing is also done to see whether the sperm would be a potential carrier for cystic fibrosis.
The clinic or the sperm bank takes eight weeks to six months before giving a clearance certificate for sperm donation. According to regulations, a donor is eligible to sire for ten successful pregnancies. Sperm donation is mostly motivated by money than any altruistic thoughts.
The Sperm Collection Process
The donor is taken to a private room which is fairly stocked with pornographic materials. He is instructed to masturbate and collect his semen in a sterile container. This sample is then mixed with cryo-preservative solution. After dividing it in aliquots, it is sealed in vials and frozen with liquefied nitrogen. This frozen semen sample is stored at a cool storage (-321 o F). As per requirement, the semen is used during artificial insemination.