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What Is the Process of Becoming a Sperm Donor?

Posted on July 1, 2020

Like all forms of third-party reproduction, sperm donation is an act of generosity in which one person provides an individual or a couple with the means to create the family of their dreams. However, the process of becoming a sperm donor is often misunderstood.

One of the most common misconceptions is that anyone can become a sperm donor. In reality, men must go through a comprehensive screening process in order to be considered eligible for sperm donation. In fact, fewer than 3% of applicants are usually accepted. People also often mistakenly believe that sperm donation is an easy way to make quick cash. While it’s true that the procedure of collecting semen is much simpler than, say, retrieving eggs for egg donation, the process leading up to the actual sperm donation, as well as ongoing screenings, is extensive.

Before You Fill Out an Application

In order for their applications to be considered, sperm donor applicants must meet a number of requirements before moving forward. At the Fertility Center of California, for example, some of these requirements include:

  • Being between the ages of 18 and 39

  • Being able to commit to the program for a minimum of 12 months

  • Being willing to abstain from all types of ejaculation three to four days before collection

  • Having a college degree or actively pursuing one

If all the criteria are met, sperm donor candidates are invited to begin further screening.

The Sperm Donor Approval Process

After a sperm donor candidate is invited for further screening, the approval process goes as follows:

  1. A semen sample is analyzed to determine the sperm’s overall quality in terms of motility, morphology, and quantity.
  2. If the semen analysis is good, the candidate will then fill out an extensive questionnaire covering all personal and family medical histories.
  3. Upon completion of the questionnaire, the candidate will get a physical (including a complete blood count) and undergo a second semen analysis.
  4. Once all these tasks have been completed and the candidate is determined to be acceptable, the potential sperm donor will undergo a series of tests and screenings, including for infectious diseases, a background check, and a genetics check. At this time, the candidate will also be interviewed by a donor coordinator.

This list of infectious diseases that sperm banks screen for is mandated by the FDA, which dictates that all donated tissue must be free from conditions such as HIV, hepatitis, and chlamydia. To ensure the sperm is free of these illnesses, the sperm is kept in frozen quarantine for at least six months. The FDA also requires that, if accepted, candidates be retested for infectious diseases on a periodic basis of three to six months, depending on the disease.

Learn More

Although it’s not an easy process, becoming a sperm donor can be an immensely rewarding experience. If you are interested in becoming a sperm donor and would like to learn more, contact the Fertility Center of California today.

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