Donor Medical Status Updates

Tips to help keep you updated on your sperm donor

For families who have gone through artificial insemination with a Fairfax sperm donor, it is important to follow the donor’s medical updates throughout the years. Below are FAQs and tips to help keep you updated on all donor changes over time.

What is “Donor Medical Status”?

Donor Medical Status is a donor classification that indicates if a donor has been restricted due to a significant medical issue in an offspring. Not all medical issues reported result in a restriction. Those determined to increase the risk to other offspring do result in the donor being restricted. To the best of our knowledge, all donors start the program without known significant medical or hereditary issues in themselves or their offspring. But a donor’s medical status can change with time. He may now be restricted for medical issues or be under investigation, in which case we want you fully informed.

Who should review the Donor Medical Status?

If you purchased units and still have them stored offsite, we are encouraging everyone with a Fairfax Cryobank donor semen sample or an embryo created from that semen to check your donor medical status prior to using in a fertility procedure. Donor Medical Status can also inform families who already have a child with this donor if there are issues with the donor that may affect them. This process also allows you to check donor medical status at regular intervals once your child is born or while your units are in long term storage. If you prefer to contact us directly, please do so by calling Client Services at 800-338-8407.

How do I check my Donor’s Medical Status?

A recent donor search upgrade allows clients to see the donor’s status directly on the donor search. Start by going to the Donor Search and put your donor number into the ‘Search by ID’ box. The donor’s status will appear on his donor page in the upper left page. Options for status are Active, Inactive, Investigation, Restricted.

Donor Medical Status Categories

NO RESTRICTION: This donor is not restricted and has no investigations pending. The use of this specimen is considered appropriate at his time. No increased risks for significant medical conditions in donor offspring have been identified.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: A report of a medical problem in one of the offspring has been reported. The collection of medical records and waiting for possible testing results are currently in progress. An evaluation by the Medical Geneticist is ongoing. No final decision has been made as to the future risk to other offspring from this donor. More information can be obtained by calling 1-800-338-8407 and asking for the Genetic Counselor. Provide the donor number and describe your situation when calling.

TESTING NOT CURRENT: The donor met and passed all Fairfax Cryobank testing standards at the time he was donating and when his units sold in the past. This donor is not restricted and has no investigations pending. Any future sales of this donor require that the purchaser be made aware of the testing issues for this donor and review, sign and return an informed consent document that includes this information. Request details and/or a copy of the informed consent document from Client Services at 800-338-8407.

  • All Testing Not Current donors have units stored for clients onsite with Fairfax Cryobank or may on rare occasions have units for sale.
  • Once all units of a donor are gone (sold out and all stored units have been shipped off-site) the Testing Not Current donor will change the status to No Restriction.

RESTRICTED: An offspring with medical issues believed to increase the risk to other offspring has been reported. The use of this specimen is not recommended. Please contact our genetic counselor for details at 800-338-8407. Specimens from this donor may be used after you review, sign and return an informed consent document to us. Often there is only a small risk with many issues present at birth or not at all. If you have a child by this donor already there may only be a minimal risk. Call for details.

Our policy for a medical restriction is to inform all clients who purchased vials and all doctors of record who had those vials shipped to their offices. The doctors also receive the name of the client that purchased that donor.  The medical update will be relevant only for those clients who have conceived, had a child and or have vials or embryos in storage.

Why would a donor become restricted?

A child has been reported with a medical condition that could pose an increased risk to other children born from this same donor. An example would be a child born with a rare disease where we determine the donor and mother are both carriers. Other offspring would have a small risk, typically less than 1%. In the general population, every pregnancy has about a 3%-4% risk of producing a child with a birth defect or mental deficiency. Our extensive screening and testing reduces this risk, but cannot eliminate it. We ask physicians and clients to notify us whenever they believe a child born by donor sperm has any medical condition. In the rare cases when we receive such notice, we immediately remove that donor from sale and investigate the report. While we are gathering information the donor’s status will be “Under Investigation.” We ask for a physician’s written diagnosis, and a family, medical and pregnancy history on the mother. If our Medical Director determines that using the donor could increase the risk of the occurrence of a medical condition and/or birth defect above the risk in the general population, we will restrict that donor, meaning that his sperm is no longer available for sale to the general public. This type of restriction applies to all units that were sold and are unused regardless of when they were purchased. An investigation can take as little as a day to resolve but can also take several months as we communicate with medical personnel and family members about a situation. An investigation that does not result in a restriction allows the donor to return to Active or Inactive status. For more information, please see the Donor and Offspring Evaluation page.

Why do I need to check donor medical status prior to use?

We want you to have complete and up-to-date medical information prior to using any unit so that you can make an informed decision about the use of that unit. If you have purchased a unit, had it shipped and stored offsite for a period of time, there is a small chance the donor’s status may have changed. Other couples may be pursuing IVF and have embryos stored for future use. You need to know if there is a restriction or an ongoing investigation before you inseminate or transfer an embryo using that donor’s semen. We do attempt to contact purchasers of restricted donors through their physician of record, but that system may not work well for everyone. Clients can now check their donor’s status 24/7 prior to the use of their donor sperm.

How do we contact clients with the news of a restriction or investigation?

There are certain circumstances where we do not contact clients with updates. We do not contact clients about ongoing investigations. For a donor in an investigation, we want to resolve the outstanding questions, verify the medical information and discuss the outcome with our geneticists. If an increased risk does indeed exist, the donor will be restricted for a medical cause.

Our policy for a medical restriction is to inform all clients who purchased vials and all doctors of record who had those vials shipped to their offices. The doctors also receive the name of the client that purchased that donor.  The medical update will be relevant only for those clients who have conceived, had a child and or have vials or embryos in storage.

Do I need to call Fairfax if my donor-conceived child has a significant medical issue?

Yes, we would like to know: please contact Client Services.

It is not unusual for us to hear that a problem is being discussed in an online chat room, yet never has been officially reported to us. We have a Genetic Counselor who can address issues with you privately. When we receive notice of a medical problem with one of our donor’s offspring, we immediately remove that donor from sale and investigate the report. We carefully gather as much information as possible, including a physician’s written diagnosis and family history on the mother. To learn more about medical updates, please visit our Donor and Offspring Evaluation page.

What are examples of tests that make a donor medical status ‘Testing Not Current’?

Units sold previously still fully comply with the standard of testing in place at the time of the purchase. All the testing a donor did undergo was negative and/or did not increase risks to the recipients. The testing standard in place when his units sold was considered satisfactory at the time. If we are unable to perform the upgraded testing on the donor (he may no longer be donating and/or not be readily available for testing and/or have only a few units left for purchase) he will be placed into the ‘Testing Not Current’ status. All Testing Not Current donors have units stored for clients onsite with Fairfax Cryobank or may on rare occasions have units for sale. Once all units of a donor are gone (sold out and all stored units have been shipped off-site) the Testing Not Current donor will change the status to Inactive.

How do I know if my pregnancy has been reported?

Please report your pregnancies and births online and we will determine if it has already been reported. It is very important that we hear from everyone who has successfully had a pregnancy and/or birth with one of our donors. It allows us to monitor offspring births and comply with our standards for limiting the number of family units and geographic distribution of a donor’s offspring. Pregnancies and births can now be reported to us online by families. If you have not reported your pregnancy to us or are unsure if your doctor reported it to us earlier, please do so now.

Will donor medical status tell me about donor availability?

Donor availability is seen on any donor page under ORDER SPERM. Any donor with available vials will show inventory here, regardless of status.  Remember, Restricted donors will need informed consent completed before we can sell any additional vials.