Getting Pregnant with Donor Gametes
A donor egg or banked sperm may be the best route to conception for some couples
There are no circumstances under which fresh sperm should be used for donor inseminations. The risk of infection (e.g., HIV) is just too real. All sperm used for this purpose should be frozen and quarantined. Donor sperm samples are available from sperm banks located throughout the country. Virtually all of these sperm banks are reputable, but there are some very specific guidelines that must be followed.
Look for sperm banks that adhere to the following guidelines:
All potential donors are carefully screened for any history of inheritable diseases and for a strong family history of health problems, such as heart disease. With any questionable history, individuals are excluded.
Any potential donor with a history of homosexuality, intravenous drug use, multiple sexual partners, or recent blood transfusion is excluded.
All donors are checked for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis and Strep. If this testing is negative, their samples are then frozen and quarantined for at least 180 days. The donor must then be retested, and only if all the infectious disease screening is again negative is the sample released for use. Frozen sperm obtained from centers that follow this screening and quarantining is safe.
The number of pregnancies that can result from the use of any one donor within a given geographical area is limited.
Certain nonidentifying information is provided by each of these centers. This information may include physical characteristics such as height, weight, hair color, eye color, and body build. Information such as education, occupation, religion, ethnicity, and even special aptitudes such as physical ability or special talents is also often provided. Some centers even provide photographs.
A typical practice for a fertility clinic is to compile all of the information from all of the centers it works with in one notebook or website, and ask each couple to select a donor who meets their criteria and characteristics.
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