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You are here: Home > Fertility & Trying to Conceive > Donor Insemination

Sperm Donor Screening

by Lori Ramsey
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Occasionally in order for a pregnancy to occur a woman may need a sperm donor. The reasons to use a sperm donor vary. Perhaps your husband produces little to no sperm and a sperm donor is needed. Or a woman without a husband/male partner may wish to become pregnant - in both cases a sperm donor is necessary in order for pregnancy to occur.

A sperm donor is a man who donates his sperm to a sperm bank or directly to the doctor. He must go through a rigorous screening first in order to even qualify in most cases. Many of the sperm banks are strict as to which type of lifestyle they will accept - in example - they prefer not to accept someone who is at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases, or very promiscuous. The screening process may not be 100% the same in every clinic - however this is an average account of what may occur during a screening.

First and foremost the sperm donor must be physically healthy. A thorough medical and genetic history will be taken of over four generations. A complete physical examination will be given as well. A complete screen for his fertility is done before continuing the process of the sperm donor screening.

After the history and medical exam a series of blood tests are run. This is to check for:

Each donor is also tested for Tay Sachs and sickle cell (if indicated). Screenings for Thalassemia and the possibility of being a Cystic Fibrosis carrier are made. Sometimes a chromosome analysis may be done. A urine analysis is done and a semen analysis to check for bacteria and yeast. A semen analysis is performed to receive a sperm count and check for viability and motility.

All semen specimens are frozen and reevaluated post-thaw. Much of the time this is done three times to achieve an accurate count. In most of the cases of a sperm donor donating for random use - the sperm is quarantined for at least six months, at which time the donor will be tested again for the sexually transmitted and infectious diseases. Most of these tests will be repeated at intervals of monthly, quarterly, biannually and annually to insure the continued health of both the sperm and the sperm donor.


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