Creating a child requires two partners. Still, when a couple suffers subfertility, the female partner is usually looked down on. The male partner is rarely considered or talked about.
Abnormalities of the male reproductive system play a significant role in subfertility. When there are significant abnormalities in the sperm, fertility becomes almost impossible, even with new techniques. Therefore, the only option left for these couples is to use donor sperm to achieve pregnancy.
A sperm donor is someone who donates sperm periodically to a sperm bank to fulfil another individual’s/couple’s fertility wishes. The samples are thawed and used when a couple comes looking for a donor.
Potential candidates are chosen after a careful screening process. Criteria for a donor are:
Should be a healthy male of about 18 -
Should not suffer from genetic illnesses or sexually transmitted diseases
Must be able to produce reasonable quantities of high-quality sperm.
Should have a sound educational background (so that he is capable of making informed decisions)
Must not be a user of tobacco in any form
Ethnicity and race are irrelevant
Sperm banks: These cater to the collection and storage of donated sperm. One willing to become a donor can visit these facilities and donate samples anonymously.
Medical history Assessment: All donors first undergo a rigorous medical screening process. A detailed medical interview is performed, which includes documenting family and genetic histories of serious illnesses. This is done to rule the possibility of transmitting such diseases to the foetus.
Blood tests: An initial set of blood investigations are performed to rule out HIV, hepatitis B & C, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and Thalassemia and to identify the blood group and Rhesus antibodies. Genetic testing is performed to rule out cystic fibrosis, Sickle Cell disease and any other genetic disorders associated with the donor’s ethnicity.
Seminal fluid analysis: Semen sample is tested to ensure the sample is viable.
Legal and psychological counselling: The donor undergoes legal counselling so that they are aware of the legal ramifications of the sperm donation process. Concurrently, they also receive psychological counselling.
Freezing the sperms: The donor samples are kept in stasis by freezing and storing them in sperm banks. These samples are kept in quarantine for six months and re-screened for STDs. Once the sample is cleared of all STDs, it is inseminated via IUI or IVF in order to fertilize the egg.
Sperm donation rates depend on the center at which it is performed and the individual donors themselves. Most fertility clinics pay a flat rate to all donors in their donor programs. If the donor is introduced by the couple themselves, the pricing may differ depending upon the wishes of the donor. Other than the cost of the donor, IVF/IUI procedure, medical testing and legal counselling are also included in the price.