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Sperm Donation

Sperm donation is a process in which a fertile man donates semen which is the fluid containing sperm discharged during ejaculation to help an individual or a couple conceive a baby. Donated sperm can be injected directly into a woman's reproductive organs known as intrauterine insemination or used to fertilize mature eggs in a lab known as in vitro fertilization.

Who receives donated sperms?

•    Single women to become pregnant but lack a male partner.
•    Married women with an infertile male partner.

What abnormalities can male partner’s reproductive system have?

Several abnormalities can be found in a male partner’s reproductive system which is caused by:

  • Obstruction – Refers to the blockage of the ejaculatory ducts.
  • Testicular failure – Man’s sex organs’ inability to produce sperm and male hormones such as testosterone. Testicular failure can happen because of an injury, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment.
  • Absence of sperm – Also known as azoospermia which is a condition in which a male’s semen carries no sperm.
  • Sperm abnormalities – Reduced sperm count and other sperm or semen abnormalities that can inhibit male fertility. These are some common reasons for decreased sperm count including sexually transmitted infections, exposure to plastics, pesticides, and several other toxic chemicals, stress, obesity, or frequent use of illicit substances.

What is the process of sperm donation?

Before sperm donation, the sperm donor is asked to refrain from ejaculation either through masturbation or sex for 2-5 days. 

  • During the sperm donation procedure, the sperm banks conduct the sperm donation procedure. In this procedure, the sperm donor is asked to go to a private room with a sterile container to masturbate. Then the sperm donor will collect the semen into that container and hand it over to be placed in a safe environment. 
  • After the sperm donation procedure, the sperm sample is covered properly then the sperm sample is cryopreserved and deposited for at least 180 days in quarantine. In addition, tests are done to rule out the possibility of infectious diseases. The sperm sample is evaluated for checking the quantity, quality, and movement of sperm. Some sperm samples are prone to damage throughout the cryopreservation process. This damage during the cryopreservation process can also differ for the same male from time to time. If the sperm sample fulfills the criteria of the quality standards, then the male can become a sperm donor. The guidelines of bearing biological children may vary on the basis of the sperm banks and in different countries, e.g. a sperm donor can become a father of a maximum of 10 children only, in the United Kingdom.

What are sperm donors screened for?

The screening process of sperm donor takes around 8 weeks to 6 months which depends on the sperm bank. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires basic screening for certain risk factors and infectious diseases before a male can become a suitable sperm donor. 
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that a man who wants to donate sperm should complete these screenings:
•    Age. As per ART regulation sperm donors must be aged between 21 and 45 (both inclusive).
•    Physical exam. The physical examination of sperm donors includes taking samples of blood and urine to test donors for infectious diseases like HIV. If a donor becomes a regular sperm donor, he will need to go for a physical examination after every six months while the donor provides sperm donations. The sperm donor should have to report any changes in his health.
•    Semen testing. The donor has to provide several samples of his semen for semen testing. Before providing a sperm sample, the donor will likely be asked to refrain from ejaculation via sex or masturbation for at least 48-72 hours. The sperm samples are examined for sperm quantity, quality, and movement.
•    Genetic testing. A blood sample of the sperm donor is analyzed for genetic testing. It is necessary to ask individual sperm banks what type of tests they want to perform, as some sperm banks perform more-extensive testing compared to others. 
•    Family medical history. Donors have to provide details about the medical history of at least two previous generations of his family. A medical history that confirms the presence of a hereditary disease that might disqualify sperm donors from donating sperms.
•    Psychological evaluation. A donor has to provide his personal information which is shared with his biological children or about future contact with them. If the donor is donating his sperm to someone he knows, the donor will possibly be asked to talk about his relationship with the sperm recipient. If a sperm donor has a partner, medical counseling might be good for him or her, too.
•    Personal and sexual history. The donor is evaluated regarding his preferences of revealing his personal information to the biological children who will be born using his sperm, and about contacting them in the future. There is a need for agreement of to-be donors to avoid all contact in the future with the biological children that will be born using donor sperm.

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