Sperm donation is a voluntary, altruistic act of solidarity through which a healthy male with very high quality semen donates some of this so that a couple with infertility problems can fulfil their dream.
Female patients can make use of sperm donation in the following situations:
- When their partner’s semen is highly pathological coupled with poor results from in vitro fertilisation.
- When there is a lack of spermatozoa (azoospermia) both in the ejaculate and in the testicular biopsy (an outpatient procedure done under local anaesthetic).
- When the man is a carrier of a genetic disease which cannot be studied in the embryos.
- When the man is a carrier of a sexually transmitted disease and it is not possible to eliminate the virus from the semen.
- When chromosomal abnormalities are detected in the semen.
- When the man has a positive blood group (homozygous state), and the woman has a negative one as well as being isoimmunized (she produces antibodies which attack the red blood cells of the foetus which has a positive blood group).
- In the case of women who do not have a male partner.
What tests are required before becoming a semen donor?
Prospective donors are first asked to provide a semen sample for testing. All semen samples must be produced on site in a room specially allocated for semen collection. Suitability is determined by both the sperm count (expressed in millions per mL) and by their ability to swim (motility).
All samples are frozen in nitrogen at around -190°C and checked once more when they are thawed. Many do not survive this freeze/thawing process and this is the main reason for rejecting prospective donors. Potential donors must be aware that after examination, the majority (almost 90%) of the semen specimens we analyse will fail to reach the very strict criteria required (although in most cases this does not mean that these men have reduced fertility).
In addition, blood samples are required to confirm normal genetic makeup and screen for cystic fibrosis. Screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) is an understandable necessity. This will be carried out by one of our medical teams alongside a brief physical examination and involves taking a urine test for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia and blood tests for Syphilis, Hepatitis and HIV (AIDS). This is repeated when donations are complete. In addition a repeat blood test is required again six months later.