Many cryobanks offer known or "directed donor" services, including genetic screening. If the screening processes at a sperm bank are more comfortable for you, you don't have to chose between using a known donor and using a sperm bank.
What is a "directed donor?"
The term "directed sperm donor" (also called a known or designated donor) is a friend, family member or someone who voluntarily donates his sperm for use in assisted reproductive procedures. This individual has been personally selected by the couple or the single woman, and is not usually sexually intimate with the ultimate recipient of the sperm.
Many sperm banks, like Fertility Center of California, offer directed donor services that meet the same rigorous guidelines as their standard screening and storage. The difference is, you bring in the donor, and he only donates for you.
Full Directed Donor Services
Semen samples are collected and screened in the same method as anonymous donors. The donor is given a thorough health and genetic screening, and his semen is then cryopreserved (frozen) in a laboratory and quarantined for six months. This ensures that any infectious disease that has been acquired but was not yet identifiable at the time of donation, would be present at the repeat testing at the end of the six month period.
When the quarantine period is over, the sperm donor is re-tested for infectious diseases. All results must be negative prior to the release of vials for assisted reproduction. If the donor sperm does not meet the strict guidelines, there are instances when a recipient may want to use the sperm anyway, such as when the sperm count is slightly lower. Some cryobanks will require a physician's note to release sampels that do not meet their specific guidelines. Even with a physician's note, semen that does not meet FCC guidelines will not be released.
It is important to know that the directed donor semen sample quality may very well not meet the extremely rigorous selection criteria for anonymous donors. These criteria are way above average in an attempt to maximize patient success. Therefore, using directed donor sperm that has gone through freezing may contribute to lower pregnancy rates.
If you wish to have teh genetic and health screening, but prefer to still use fresh sperm, you may be able to arrange just the initial screening with the cryobank. Look for a facility that offers a directed donor program near you, and discuss it with them.
The Process in Detail
1. First the directed donor fills out the application forms and comes in for an initial appointment. This appointment may take approximately one hour, during which a consultation, a semen analysis and initial infectious disease testing will take place. Infectious disease testing is required by law and includes: HIV-1/2, Anti-HTLV-I/II, Anti-HCV, Anti-HBc, HBsAg, RPR (syphilis), CMV (cytomegalovirus), Chlamydia Trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhea.The donor's blood type is an important factor and will also be determined at this time.
2. Additional testing may or may not be required and will be directed by the Fertility Center of California's Medical Director. A physician will complete the physical examination and review the medical and social history form. Any concerns can be discussed in a discrete and private fashion.
3. The semen analysis will be evaluated and an estimate will be given as to how many samples of semen are necessary to move forward with the directed sperm donor process. Typically, this would mean 2-3 samples for processing. Sometimes, due to the quality of the sperm, the thawing leads to lower quality sperm than expected and more specimen will be necessary. If the specimens are washed prior to freezing and this may result in an additional fee. Sperm washing can lead to loss of sperm cells from the initial sample. However, the advantage is that the specimens are then ready to be thawed out for use at any physician's office.
4. After further evaluation of the specimens any adverse results are made known to recipients and their physicians.
5. The directed donor then makes donations of semen samples at the FCC generally over about a 2-3 week time frame. Two to three days of abstinence between sample production should be maintained.
6. The specimens are frozen and kept in quarantine for 6 months following the last donation.
7. After the quarantine period, repeat testing is required and if the results are found to be satisfactory, the specimen will be released from quarantine and can be used by the recipient.
8. The receiving physician makes the determination of whether the samples are satisfactory and the specimens are released directly to the physician upon the request of the recipient or the physician. Appropriate fees are billed as per the Fertility Center of California, Sperm Bank Inc. fee schedule.