Genetic Testing in Donor Sperm Process
Genetic carrier testing has quickly become more advanced and now routinely offers information on hundreds of diseases. As the only sperm bank with a Medical Director who is a MD, PhD Geneticist, Fairfax Cryobank understands the value of this expanded genetic carrier disease testing in the sperm donor selection process.
Starting in January 2018, all new donors are being tested for an expanded genetic disease panel. Initially the panel included 283 genes and has now increased to over 500. The panel the donor had completed is determined by when he started in our program. To see what the donor had tested, you can see his Genetic Testing Summary on his donor page. It lists all the genetic diseases he has been tested for and the results. To find the donors with expanded genetic disease testing, you can select for them on the Donor Search by going to the ‘Genetic Testing Search’ tab and selecting ‘Expanded Genetic Disease Tested Donors’.
Many women have already had an expanded panel of genetic diseases tested as part of their pre-pregnancy work–up. Upwards of 85% will find they are a carrier for 1 or more genetic diseases. For clients who are carriers of a genetic disease, this additional testing in our donors means there is likely a suitable match they can select immediately.
For a specific gene, you can look at our complete list of genes included in the expanded panels used since we started in 2018. You can find it on the Genetic Testing Search under the ‘Select gene(s) tested negative’. You can use this filter to find donors tested negative for any gene you tested positive for. If the gene is not there, or you wish to test a donor that has not been tested yet, please reach out to our Client Services team to see if testing is possible on your preferred donor.
Learn more about Expanded Panel Genetic Testing at Fairfax Cryobank
Carriers of Genetic Disease Mutations
In fact, we are all carriers of several genetic disease mutations, only some of which can be tested for with today’s technology. As carriers, we are expected to stay healthy. Before having children, if one person is a known carrier of a recessive genetic disease, we ideally want to know the partner’s carrier status for the same disease gene. Two people who are both carriers for the same recessive genetic diseases have a 25% chance of an affected child.
If both parents are tested negative for the same gene, or if only one is a carrier after testing, they are considered to be at low risk.
How do I know if a donor is a carrier of a genetic disease?
The donor’s webpage will have an Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form which gives specific details about his carrier results. Donors with expanded genetic testing who do not have an Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form were not positive for any of the genetic diseases tested. His Genetic Testing, a PDF download on the donor’s webpage, also gives full details of his genetic testing results.
I am considering a donor who is a carrier of a genetic disease. How does this affect me?
A donor who is a carrier of a genetic disease can be used successfully to have a healthy child. If you have been tested and your results show you are at reduced risk (negative) for the same disease the donor is a carrier of, then you can consider selecting this donor. If you have not had the testing completed, we recommend you do so before using this donor. Your physician or genetic counselor are good resources to help get any recommended testing completed and answer your questions.
What do I need to do if I want to use a donor who is a carrier?
- Review the Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form for the donor you wish to use. The Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form is available as a downloadable PDF on the donor webpage in the donor search. It is also available as a DocuSign which allows a digital signature.
- If indicated, consider genetic carrier testing, where a negative result for the same disease gene reduces risk.
- When you are ready to move forward, sign and return the Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form for your selected donor. This must be completed before shipping vials to your clinic.
- Your clinic will receive a copy of your signed Acknowledgement of Genetic Risk form and a copy of the donor’s Genetic Testing Summary with your vial shipment.
Please call Client Services at 1-800-338-8407 for assistance.