When a man donates sperm in order to help an individual or a couple conceives and achieves pregnancy, it is known as sperm donation. The donated sperm is then injected into a woman’s reproductive organs or used to fertilize 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.
The screening process
- First the age of the donor is ascertained. Typically, sperm banks require donors to be between ages 18 to 39. Sometimes the upper limit could be 34-35 years as well.
- The second step is 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. After that, the donor undergoes 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.
- A genetic test is also 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 at least two generations of the family. This is to test the presence of any hereditary diseases.
- These processes are followed by psychological assessmentwhich 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.
- 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.