Sperm donation is a procedure where a man donates semen in order to help an individual or a couple conceive and achieve pregnancy. The donated sperm is then injected into a woman’s reproductive organs or used to fertilise eggs during the process of IVF. Sperm donation is usually done in a sperm bank. Once provided, the sample is frozen and the donor is tested for infectious diseases. If the sperm quality is satisfactory, the individual is selected as a donor.
What does the screening process involve?
- Age- Typically, sperm banks requires donors to be between ages 18 to 39. Sometimes the upper limit could be 34-35 years as well.
- Physical evaluation- Blood and urine samples of the donor are taken to test for infectious diseases, mainly HIV. Regular donors are expected to undergo physical exams every 6 months.
- Semen testing- Sperm samples of the donor may be required several times for evaluation. This includes testing for quantity, quality and movement of sperm. For this, one is likely to be asked to abstain from ejaculation 2-5 days before providing samples.
- Genetic testing and family medical history- A genetic test is performed to rule out the possibilities of the donor being a carrier of genetic conditions. Donors may be asked to provide medical history details of atleast two generations of the family. This is to test the presence of any hereditary diseases.
- Psychological assessment- This involves discussions about personal information being shared with one’s biological children or contact with them in future. If the donor is providing sperm to a known person, questions may be asked about the relationship between the two.
- Personal/sexual history- Before donation, a thorough examination of one’s sexual history, drug use and risk factors may be conducted. Details of sexual habits, education and personal interests are also likely to be sought.