Infectious Disease Testing

Two techniques are used to detect infectious disease. Serological testing, the industry standard, looks for the presence of the body's reaction (antibodies) to an infection. The other methodology, pioneered at Fairfax Cryobank is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing (also called NAT for Nucleic acid Testing), a far more sensitive method which uses molecular genetic techniques to identify for the presence of the DNA of the infecting agent. Fairfax Cryobank makes the most extensive use of any sperm bank of PCR technology to test for infectious diseases. All donor specimens are quarantined for six months. The donor must then return and be retested for a panel of infectious diseases before his specimens can be released from quarantine. We follow the FDA regulations effective in May 2005 which clearly stipulate the testing protocols on donor infectious disease testing.

The following infectious diseases are tested in every donor active after 5/25/05:
Serological testing:

  • HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen and core antibody
  • Hepatitis C antibody
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody
  • Syphilis (RPR)
  • HTLV-I and II antibody*

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) NAT testing:

Due to test availability at the time of donation, a given donor may not have been tested for the tests marked with a (*) by the methodology indicated but all donors have been tested for the above diseases.


Information regarding sperm donation and Zika virus

Fairfax Cryobank has been closely monitoring all new information on the Zika virus and has taken action to protect our clients. We have implemented in our Cryobank a stringent policy to prevent viral transmission of Zika. Fairfax Cryobank routinely collects information from our sperm donors regarding any travel to a potentially infected area. Any donor who has travelled to a Zika area and has developed symptoms will not be allowed to donate and those without symptoms will have their semen quarantined until we can clearly determine that the virus is not present in their sample. As new information regarding the behavior of Zika becomes available, our policies will be appropriately updated.

For more information regarding Zika please refer to the Center for Disease Control website at