Sperm donors at San Diego Sperm Bank are tested, examined, and screened during the application process and throughout their time as an active donor. The screening and testing help monitor samples for infectious diseases and genetic conditions that could cause adverse outcomes for recipients and offspring. Additionally, samples are routinely screened to ensure they are high enough quality for treatment use.
Here is a look at the testing and screening that donors undergo while at San Diego Sperm Bank.
Initial Screening and Testing
Potential donors are initially screened for age at the time of the online application. Per directives that tissue banks must follow, donors must be under a specific age. Sperm health shows a decline as men age, making samples less reliable for treatment use.
Another screening question on the application form is about adoption status. If a potential donor was adopted, they must have access to their biological family medical history. We get into family medical history and why it is important below.
During the first in-person visit to the lab, a semen sample is submitted for a semen analysis. The lab team will look at the sample and check for the total number of sperm cells present, the total volume of the sample, and how the sperm are swimming. These factors contribute to the effectiveness of the donation to be used in future treatments.
Infectious Disease Testing
Intended parents will receive donations for treatment under the observation of a clinical provider, so it is important to make sure donations are free from infectious disease. All donors are tested during the application process and then routinely as they are actively donating in the program. Donated samples are not released for treatment use until we have received two negative tests six months apart. Infectious disease testing is done through both blood and urine samples and includes:
HIV, HTLV I/II, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, West Nile Virus, and CMV.
A complete physical is done by our Nurse Practitioner during the application process to get accepted into the donor program. Then physicals are re-completed every six months for as long as donors are in the program.
Other testing includes complete blood count, blood typing, EKG, and urinalysis. We perform these complete health screenings to better assess that donations are being provided from healthy individuals.
Genetic Carrier Screening
Both donor and their family medical histories are used by our Licensed Genetic Counselors to identify any trends that may pose risk to future offspring. Along with a full genetic carrier screening panel of 502 different conditions, the chance of future offspring having adverse genetic conditions can be reduced.
There are many genetic conditions that an individual can be a carrier for without having any adverse characteristics themselves. An example is cystic fibrosis. An individual may carry cystic fibrosis without having any physical characteristics of the condition and pass it on to an offspring. If both egg and sperm sources carry cystic fibrosis and pass it to offspring, the offspring has a 25% chance of being affected by the condition. Knowing the genetic carrier results for both egg and sperm sources greatly reduces the chances of having offspring with adverse genetic conditions.
All testing and screening results are shared with each donor. Genetic carrier screening results are not uploaded to any commercial database. And although results are shared with intended parents and their healthcare team, the donor’s identifying information remains confidential.
If you are looking to become a sperm donor and get the great health benefits that come with being a donor at San Diego Sperm Bank, you can apply online today. For any questions, reach out to our Donor Coordinator at [email protected] or (858)732-8500.