Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Is Sperm Donor Screening? How Is It Performed?

When a man decides to become a sperm donor, the process involves much more than just going to a sperm bank and collecting a payment.  There is a stringent screening process that will negate 95% of men.  You read that right-only 5% of men are eligible to donate sperm!  This article will entail sperm donor screening, along with what will disqualify you as a donor.

There are around 150 sperm banks throughout the United States; most of which are located near colleges.  Males between the ages of 20-40 are the most frequent to donate sperm, as men in this age group are the most virile.  Locating a sperm bank near a college allows the bank to collect sperm from intelligent, active males within a community.

Prior to donating sperm, you will have a large amount of paperwork to fill out.  Once the paperwork is completed, there are a number of interviews the potential donor must go through: the applicant must answer questions about their sexual behavior, family background, and the reason for donating sperm.  They must fill out a very detailed personal attributes list, which outlines characteristics such as height, weight, eye color, and blood type.  Questions about family history will be asked-going so far back as three generations.  This information is used to determine if any inheritable diseases that may be passed down to the donation recipient.

If the paperwork goes through the screening process, medical tests will follow.  The doctor at the bank will perform a routine physical, along with taking pictures-and you guessed it-more paperwork.  You will typically have to fill out a personal biography, along with answering some questions about your personality.  A sufficient amount of blood will be drawn in order to test for genetic abnormalities and infectious diseases.  These tests include, but are not limited to: HIV, all forms of Hepatitis, ABO-Rh blood typing, cystic fibrosis, Syphilis, and Chlamydia.  African American donors will also be screened for sickle cell anemia.  Jewish and French Canadian donors will be screened for Tay-Sachs.  This screening can take anywhere from six weeks to a year to complete.  This is not an exhaustive list of diseases which donors are tested for; contact your local sperm bank for a specific list of diseases.

If a donor passes the rigorous screening process, they will be allowed to donate sperm as often as the bank allows you to.  Each bank has individual rules regarding frequency of donation.  Once the sperm sample is collected, the sperm is “Washed” and observed for sperm mobility.  The sample is then frozen for 6 months and the donor is re-tested for any STI’s.

Each sperm bank keeps detailed records on the use and implementation of the sperm.  On average, it takes 2-5 donations to produce enough viable sperm to be used in an IVF procedure.  Each sperm bank has their own rules regarding the number of children a sperm donor may father.

The payment for sperm samples can vary greatly depending on the region and bank.  Typically, one can expect a payment of $50-110 per donation.

While the process for becoming a sperm donor can be arduous, the individuals who do donate are usually satisfied with the experience as well as the payment, and make it a regular part of their weekly routine.

Megan Wilson is a stay at home mom, blogger, and freelance writer.  She frequently writes for Family Cord as well.
Photo Credit: frostnova via Compfight cc

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