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Myths vs. Facts: Debunking Common Misconceptions about Sperm Donation

Posted on June 1, 2023

If you’re planning to donate sperm, know that it’s a generous act, allowing others to become parents. While the media may make it seem like you simply walk into a sperm bank, provide a semen sample, and get paid on the same day, potential sperm donor candidates must pass rigorous donation requirements, not only to protect the health and safety of potential recipients and their future children, but also their confidentiality. Therefore, it’s helpful to separate the donation process’ fantasy from reality.

Myth: Sperm Donor Standards Are Not High

Fact: The majority of clinics have incredibly high standards, with very few candidates qualifying. For example, at the Fertility Center of California (FCC), we’re continually modifying and streamlining our eligibility process. We only select the healthiest, most effective samples, with less than 3% of applicants becoming donors. Among the disqualifying criteria are having a low sperm count, sperm performing poorly after freezing, and generally being in poor health.

Myth: There Are No Donation Age Requirements

Fact: The majority of sperm bank clinics, including FCC, require candidates to be between 18 and 39 years old. Research suggests that this range reduces potential age-related risk factors.

Myth: Your Physical Appearance May Impact Your Donation Eligibility

Fact: When it comes to qualifying as a sperm donor, any man can be considered, regardless of physical appearance. What matters, beyond your desire to help others, is your overall health status, and whether you pass your physical and mental screenings. That means other criteria, including your occupation, finances, and educational level, won’t factor in.

Myth: Candidates Only Donate For a Paycheck

Fact: Yes, eligible FCC donors are fairly compensated for their efforts, but sperm donation involves a lengthy, complex process. Typically, the process includes a semen analysis, a questionnaire involving your medical history and personal information, a complete physical and blood count, and another semen analysis. You also need to undergo genetic testing regulated by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), including karyotyping, to analyze chromosomal health. You’re also tested for infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis B and C, as per the donor material guidelines set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On top of that, the FDA also requires that donated sperm be frozen for 6 months and retested before use. As such, most sperm bank clinics won’t compensate until a donor’s sperm is ready to be added to the donor catalog.

Should you pass, you’ll have a background check and interview with a donor coordinator. Even if accepted into the donor program, your health status is continually re-assessed.

Take the First Step of Your Sperm Donation Process

Sperm donation, while a noble gesture, involves demanding guidelines, including physical and psychological screenings, and candidates must understand what’s involved. If you’re ready to start the donation process, or you have concerns, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with the Fertility Center of California.

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