Sperm Donor Testing: No Sperm Bank Does More Testing
The screening process is intentionally designed to be rigorous and exclude any applicant that does not meet our industry leading standards. Less than 1% of donor applicants are accepted by Fairfax Cryobank.
This long screening process involves:
- an extensive health questionnaire;
- physical exam;
- medical, genetic and infectious disease testing;
- a thorough sperm quality evaluation;
- several in-person interviews with our staff;
- verification of all educational degrees by reviewing transcripts;
- passing a criminal background check (started 2013);
- psychological evaluations (started 2017);
- repeated physical exams and infectious disease testing are ongoing while donors are active.
See a Sperm Bank Comparison, where Fairfax Cryobank is compared to other sperm banks.
All sperm donor applicants must be 18 to 39 years of age. Each applicant is required to complete an application form that includes a medical and genetic history of the applicant and family members, and a consent and specimen release document. Each application is reviewed during a personal interview with the applicant. Applicants who are not in a high risk group for contracting AIDS and have no past history of infectious transmissible diseases are required to submit a minimum of two sperm specimens for analysis.
Each sperm specimen submitted for analysis is evaluated for volume, pH, count, motility, progression, viability, abnormality and white blood cells. The specimens are frozen and subsequently thawed for post-thaw analysis. Any applicant whose sperm specimen does not meet the minimum post-thaw standard of 20 million total motile cells/ml is excluded from the screening process.
Infectious Disease Evaluation:
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, extensively utilized 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. Click here for a current list of infectious screening tests performed on our donors.
Medical and Genetic Evaluation:
Each applicant has a complete physical examination and their medical and genetic history is evaluated by a clinical geneticist. It is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of genetic conditions and genetic inheritance in order to provide the best possible donor screening for inherited conditions. Fairfax Cryobank provides the expertise of board-certified clinical geneticists in evaluation of the donor's medical and family history as well as reviewing the test results of the extensive genetic screening performed on all sperm donor applicants. Any applicant with a family history that places him at higher than normal risk of transmitting a genetic condition is rejected. For the current list: Genetic Disease Testing.
Once an applicant is accepted into the donor program, each sperm specimen is evaluated individually both pre-freeze and post-thaw. Any specimen not meeting the minimum standard requirements is discarded. All specimens are quarantined six months and the donor retested for HIV-1, HIV-2, HTLV-I & II, hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis C, syphilis (RPR), CMV, Neisseria gonorrhea, and Chlamydia trachomatis prior to release for use.
Reports of Medical Conditions in Donor Offspring:
Fairfax Cryobank is committed to providing donor sperm that produces healthy babies, of which there are thousands over the twenty years of our operation. However, 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. We carefully gather as much information as we can on any reported condition, asking for a physician’s diagnosis, and a family history on the mother. Unfortunately, in many cases, we never receive a physician’s diagnosis that is essential to properly investigate the report.
Fairfax Cryobank’s Medical Director is a physician who is Board Certified in pediatrics and clinical genetics. He carefully evaluates all adverse clinical reports. If additional testing of the donor can be done (not all medical conditions have a simple blood or specimen test) that can identify or help to clarify a donor’s role, he orders it. 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.
In certain circumstances, however, we will allow this donor to remain available only to clients who already have a child by the same donor, thus allowing them the option to attempt to have a biological sibling to their child. Those individuals who wish to have a biological sibling for their child must sign an informed consent that describes the clinical condition and the risks associated with it before they can purchase or ship any of this donor’s units for future inseminations. Genetic counseling is recommended so that those who want to use a restricted donor can have their questions answered before making a decision to sign the informed consent. Clients and their physicians can then evaluate if it is appropriate to use this donor.
Fairfax Cryobank is an industry leader in the screening and testing of its donors. We do everything possible to provide information to prospective mothers and the mothers of children conceived through donor sperm to ensure that they and their physicians can make the best decisions about the selection of donor sperm and the future health of their children.