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Healthy Babies

May 31, 2011

Blog written by Director of Client Development Michael Buuck, MS

If you want to avoid an awkward an uncomfortable situation, do not congratulate a woman on her pregnancy until after she’s told you she is pregnant. Fortunately, I haven’t made that mistake but I have recently congratulated a friend on her pregnancy (after she told me she was pregnant).

One of the questions I asked her was if she would prefer to have a boy or girl. She said she didn’t care as much about the sex of the baby as long as he or she was healthy. Having a healthy baby is something all expectant mothers want and it’s also a desire for the many women who choose to become pregnant through the use of donor sperm. Women who elect to use donor sperm want to know that the donor they choose has been fully tested and screened, so they can increase their chances of having a healthy baby.

To assure that all donors are healthy, sperm banks have an extensive screening process which is intentionally designed to be rigorous and exclude any applicants that don’t meet the high standards and qualifications. This screening process involves a lengthy health questionnaire; physical exam; medical, genetic and infectious disease testing; a thorough sperm quality evaluation and several in-person interviews with staff. The process results in less than 1% of donor applicants being accepted as donors.

In the general population, every pregnancy has about a 3%-4% risk of producing a child with a birth defect or mental deficiency. The screening and testing of donors reduces that risk but cannot eliminate it. Sperm banks provide as much donor information as possible, so prospective mothers can make an informed choice. If someone tells me they are considering using donor sperm, I assure them that sperm banks are committed to providing donor sperm that produce healthy babies.

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