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How does a sperm bank screen and select healthy sperm donors?

Blog post written in collaboration with our partners Cryos
Maybe you are considering using a sperm donor to have a child, or maybe you are just interested in knowing how sperm banks select donors to be part of the donation programme. Here, Cryos, the world’s largest sperm bank, explain how they screen and select sperm donors.

Few men pass to become sperm donors

Before starting to donate, men who wish to become donors go through an extensive screening and testing programme including:
  • a thorough health assessment
  • blood, urine and sperm tests
  • physical and psychical examination
In the end, only 5-10% of men who apply to become donors meet all requirements. This is to ensure the best preconditions for women going through fertility treatment to achieve pregnancy and get a healthy child.

Assessment of health

A potential donor starts by filling out an extensive questionnaire about his and his family’s health. The questions are for example: do you have or have had any long term diseases? Do you have diabetes? Have you had cancer? Has anybody in your family suffered from heart disease? Downs syndrome? Kidney disease? And many more.

When the donor applicant has filled out the questionnaire, a healthcare professional at Cryos review all answers. She also asks follow-up questions to ensure that he or his family have no health issues in his family or in him that prevent him from becoming a donor.
Cryos sperm donor

Physical examination and psychical assessment

If the donor applicant passes the health assessment, he must undergo a thorough physical examination and a psychical assessment by one of Cryos’ healthcare professionals. Here he will also make blood, urine and sperm samples. This is to test for hereditary diseases, a normal chromosome profile and infectious diseases. Finally, Cryos’ laboratory technicians examine one or more sperm samples from the donor applicant to make sure that his sperm quality is good enough to become a donor.

Ongoing testing of sperm donors

If a donor applicant meets all the requirements, he is ready to start donating and help other people have their dream of a child come true.
However, the donor is still regularly tested at Cryos’ to ensure that he does not have any infectious diseases when he donates.

Does using donor sperm mean that you are guaranteed a child that is 100% healthy?

As with most things in life, there are things we cannot control. Even though sperm donors are screened and tested very thoroughly, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of having a child with a medical disorder.

Not all genetic conditions are hereditary and all human beings carry several DNA mutations. Therefore you can never be guaranteed a child without a medical condition. This goes if you have a child with your partner or if you use a donor. However, if you use donor sperm to have a child, you can be assured that the donor has gone through a very extensive screening programme to make the best conditions for a healthy child.

You can read more about the screening of sperm donors here and you can get free access to see the list of Cryos donors here.

You are also welcome to reach out to Cryos’ customer service consultants – we are ready to help with all questions you may have.

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