- An anonymous procedure: Donors are not given identifiable information on the recipient, not the other way around. However, intended parents undergoing a fertility treatment using donor sperm can request getting non-identifying information about the donor, related to his blood type and physical characteristics such as height, weight, or eye and hair color.
- An altruistic act: The purchase or sale of genetic material is forbidden by law. Nonetheless, donors are paid an economic compensation for the travel expenses and time off work derived from the donation process.
Besides, donors cannot be above age 40, and must enjoy both good physical and emotional health.
Finding a sperm donor
Every candidate to become a sperm donor is pre-screened in order to prove they are indeed prepared to become so, and also to guarantee the safety of the procedure.
Firstly, donors undergo a personal interview which aims to review the donor’s personal, sexual, and family history. He is also psychologically screened for his emotional health to be verified.
As for the medical screening, we highlight laboratory testing, as it is used to check they are indeed free from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—hepatitis B and C, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, cytomegalovirus. Karyotype testing may be required as well. Assessment of the blood type and Rh factor is also done.
Finally, a through semen analysis is carried out. It aims to analyze the quality of the semen sample as regards parameters such as sperm motility, sperm morphology, and sperm concentration. In addition, the sample is frozen and then thawed as a way to see how good the survival rate of his sperms is. Some clinics also perform a bacterial semen culture to rule out the presence of viral and bacterial infections.
Only if the semen sample presents high sperm quality and the candidate passes all screening test, he will be accepted into the sperm donation program. From that moment on, several semen samples will be collected throughout a definite time period, which will be frozen and stored till they become necessary.
Sperm donors are selected by the fertility clinic according to his physical and immunological characteristics. The aim is to find as many compatibilities and complementarities between the donor and the recipient.
It is completely forbidden to use fresh donor sperm; therefore, all semen sample collected from a donor must be frozen. That is the reason why a sperm freezing and post-thaw assessment is done: to check whether the post-thaw sperm quality is good enough.
The minimum period of time during which the sample has to be frozen is 6 months. This is the typical window period of HIV tests. This is a way to verify the sample is free from any viral infection, and therefore the sample can be used with utmost security.
The law on medically assisted reproduction also limits the number of donation a single donor can make, which is limited to 10 live births per donor. The amount of donations is controlled through mandatory registration in the central national register of donors.