Donors in our program are screened and tested for both infectious diseases, as well as conditions that would cause adverse outcomes for potential offspring. Additionally, all donors undergo various health checks that include both questionnaires and in-person evaluations.
Here is a complete look at all the testing and screening potential donors and donors undergo when joining the donor program at Phoenix Sperm Bank.
Initial Screening for Applicants
Incoming donors are screened for age and education on the initial application. Per directives that guide how tissue banks operate, we are not permitted to use donor sperm from men who are over the age of 42. This does not directly relate to overall health, but specifically sperm health. Because donations are used in treatments that ultimately result in offspring, each donation must be viable and effective.
During the first in-person visit with Phoenix Sperm Bank, a semen sample is submitted for analysis. The analysis will give insight into the total number of sperm being produced, how they move, and if they have the proper shape. Typically, more than 1 semen analysis is performed before moving on to the next step, since each donation will vary a little. Looking at sperm health is just the first step in the process of making sure future donations are suitable for treatment.
Infectious Disease Testing
Infectious diseases can be passed through sperm donation, therefore, to keep all parties safe, donors are tested on a regular basis for STIs. All donations are held in FDA-required quarantine for six months before they are released for treatment. Donors are tested before and after quarantine to ensure that all donated samples are free from infectious agents. STIs are tested through blood and urine analysis and include:
HIV, HTLV I/II, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, West Nile Virus and CMV.
An initial physical is done to enter the program, then routine physicals are completed every 6 months.
Additional testing includes complete blood count, Blood typing, EKG, and urinalysis. Although having a specific blood type does not disqualify anyone from the program, it is additional health information that will be important for intended parents to have.
There are many factors that can contribute to someone’s health, and some are passed down genetically. By performing complete health screenings on donors both initially and continuously, we can better assess that, donations provided are coming from healthy individuals.
Genetic Condition Screening
This starts with a Family Medical History Interview and includes a blood test where we look for 502 different genetic conditions.
The Family Medical History will give clues to potential genetic conditions that are being passed through generations. By looking at patterns of any affected individuals in your family tree, our Genetic Counselors can evaluate if there is any risk to future offspring. An example would be having a grandmother and a sibling both diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age.
Most people are carriers of recessive genetic conditions. This means you can pass on the condition through DNA, but you are not physically affected by the condition. There would be no way for you to know you were a carrier for the condition without testing. Donors are genetically tested using carrier screening, which is more in-depth than commercial ancestry products and does not share any data with a database. This is critical information to have because whoever provides the egg source may also be a recessive carrier. Knowing the genetic make-up of both the egg and sperm sources minimizes the risk of any offspring being born with adverse genetic conditions.
Licensed Genetic Counselors review and approve all genetic screening results. All health assessments, screening, and tests are done in our lab in Tempe. All results are HIPAA protected, just like in a medical office, and all results are shared with you. Health screenings are a great benefit to joining the donor program and are not the only benefit. Each donation is also compensated, scheduling is flexible, and you are helping individuals become parents who might not otherwise do so without your generous donation.
If you are interested in making a difference by joining the sperm donor program at Phoenix Sperm Bank you can apply online today. Or if you have any questions about the health requirements to become a donor you can call our Donor Coordinator at (602)888-7255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.