Questions frequently asked by patients
Can the donor learn my identity or vice versa?
Neither of your identities can be revealed in any circumstances. The Law only contemplates a case in which the newborn's health depends on studies performed on the donor. In this case, when ordered by a Judge, the donor's identity may be revealed to healthcare professionals, but never to the person who received the sample.
How is the donor chosen?
The appropriate donor is selected, depending on availability, considering the physical features and blood groups of the users.
It is important to realise that children born with these techniques may not be physically similar to the male partner of the treated woman, as there is no way of predicting physical features with total certainty.
What quality guarantees apply to the use of these samples?
During our selection procedure, we use donors who, meeting all the previously defined health requirements, are capable of providing samples with a total of 90 million spermatozoa with good mobility, representing approximately 4.5 times the amount classified as normal by the World Health Organisation.
Another important screening process takes place with the post-thawing tests, as not all sperm samples are capable of withstanding this process in the same way.
So only a very small percentage of the men who are willing to be donors are finally accepted.
How sure can I be that neither I nor my future child is at risk?
All donors undergo a complete physical examination and anamnesis, including a family history covering 3-4 generations, with special emphasis on the absence of serious genetic alterations which could be passed on to their children. This is completed with a cytogenetic study of the karyotype, consisting of the chromosomal analysis of 25 metaphases by GTG bands.
Analyses are also performed on repeated occasions to rule out the presence of the aforementioned sexually transmitted diseases and each sample received remains frozen in quarantine for at least 6 months. They are only used when, after that time, they again test negative for infectious conditions.
A recent study we published in a prestigious journal in relation to sperm donor testing shows that the risks associated to this population are no greater than those associated to the rest of the people in the same region.
Most of the donors recruited by our centres are at university in different Spanish cities. After a complete physical examination and anamnesis, including a family history, all donors are tested for:
- Biochemical panel
- Rh factor and blood group
- Sperm analysis (on each sample)
- Post-thawing tests (on each sample)
- Cytomegalovirus antibodies (CMV IgG and IgM)*
- Hepatitis B antigen
- Hepatitis C
- HIV 1 and 2 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Types 1 and 2), p24 antigen and antibodies
- Syphilis (RPR test)
All donors undergo a cytogenetic study consisting of the chromosomal analysis of 25 metaphases by GTG bands.
Males are accepted by the bank if they have no family history of transmittable genetic, hereditary or congenital diseases or abnormal karyotype. Samples are kept in quarantine for 6 months and only released (for use) if all tests for sexually transmitted diseases are negative.
The use of donor sperm in assisted reproduction techniques is indicated as fertility treatment in:
- Heterosexual couples with an absence of spermatozoa both in the ejaculate and directly in the testicle and/or epididymis.
- When genetic disorders or contagious diseases could be transmitted by using the spouse's sperm.
- Documented immune diseases.
- Single women.