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Sperm Donation

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 What You Should Know About Sperm Banks in the USA

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine defines infertility as, "a disease or condition of the reproductive system. that can be male or female related." When a couple or individual looking to conceive is facing male factor infertility, many times the use of donated sperm becomes the solution. A sperm donor is a man who chooses to contribute his sperm in order to help those seeking to conceive by alternative means. Sperm donation typically takes place at a fertility clinic or, more commonly, at a sperm bank where samples are collected, processed, and preserved for future use. Clients who undergo thorough communication and procedures with their physician then work with the chosen facility to select and eventually receive which donor and vial type best suit their preferences. 

Sperm banks have been operational since the 1960s and have experienced various kinds of regulation through the years. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration placed standards for reproductive tissue banks to follow starting on May 25, 2005. These regulations require all sperm banks to thoroughly screen and test donors before accepting sperm for donation. Donors selected to be entered into a regular program are screened even further before becoming qualified. They undergo a physical examination, blood, urine and semen analysis, and are tested for communicable diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B, and multiple other sexually transmitted diseases). In addition, potential donors must provide information about hobbies, education, personal habits, and all related medical history regarding the applicant and his family. Seattle Sperm Bank, for example, acquires family medical histories from 4 generations back in order to conduct further screening of genetic disorders; and in the end, they admit less than 9% of all those who apply.

In the past, sperm donors have remained completely anonymous, and while there are a few who still fall in that category, the use of what is called an Open ID donor is becoming more common. An Open ID donor agrees to provide any child born through the use of his sperm the choice to at least one contact with him upon the child turning 18 years of age. 

A sperm donor is not as limited in the amount of times he can donate, however there is a limit to the number of families within a given area that he donate to. ASRM has placed the number at 25 families per population of 800,000 in order to control over population by one donor and is seeking further action to improve these standards. 

Pregnancy rates using this method depend on several factors including, but are not limited to: 

  • Recipient's age
  • Presence or absence of fertility issues
  • Method of insemination

 Overall, sperm donation is a serious option that should not be taken lightly, but can provide many new options for effective alternative reproduction.

Thank you to the European Sperm Bank USA for submitting this information! Please visit for more details!

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