If you're considering sperm donation, be mindful of the long-term impact of your decision.
If you're providing an anonymous donation, consider the following:
- Are you prepared to be the biological father of a child or multiple children whom you might never meet?
- What if children conceived with the help of your sperm donation wish to meet you one day?
- Will you tell your current or future family about your decision to donate sperm?
If you're providing a sperm donation to someone you know, consider hiring a lawyer to draft a contract that defines your financial and parental rights and obligations.
The Food and Drug Administration requires basic screening for infectious diseases and certain risk factors before a man can become a sperm donor. Some states and local governments require additional screening.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that men who want to make sperm donations — including those who are known to recipients — complete these screenings:
- Age. Most sperm banks require donors to be between the ages of 18 and 39. Some sperm banks set an upper age limit of 34.
- Physical exam. The exam will include taking samples of your blood and urine to test for infectious diseases, such as HIV. If you become a regular sperm donor, you'll need to have physical exams every six months while you provide sperm donations. You'll be asked to report any changes in your health.
- Semen testing. You'll need to provide several samples of your semen. Before providing each sample, you'll likely be asked to abstain from ejaculation — either through sex or masturbation — for two to five days. The samples will be analyzed for sperm quantity, quality and movement.
- Genetic testing. A blood sample will be analyzed to see if you're a carrier of any genetic conditions.
- Family medical history. You'll need to provide details about the medical history of at least two previous generations of your family. A history that suggests the presence of a hereditary disease might disqualify you from donating sperm.
- Psychological evaluation. You'll likely be asked if you're concerned about your personal information being shared with your biological children or about future contact with them. If you're donating your sperm to someone you know, you'll likely be asked to talk about your relationship with the recipient. If you have a partner, counseling might be helpful for him or her, too.
- Personal and sexual history. You'll need to provide a detailed history of your sexual activities, drug use and other personal information to show whether you have risk factors for developing an infectious disease, such as HIV. You'll be asked to share detailed information about your personal habits, education, hobbies and interests. You might also be asked to provide pictures or videos of yourself or audio recordings of your voice.
If you test positive for any medical conditions during the screening process, you'll be notified and referred to treatment or counseling.
If you pass the screening process, you'll be asked to sign a consent form, which will likely state that you deny having any risk factors for sexually transmitted infections or genetic conditions. It's important to discuss whether you're open to contact from any child conceived with the help of your sperm.
June 13, 2015
- Third-party reproduction: Sperm, egg, and embryo donation and surrogacy. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. http://www.reproductivefacts.org/BOOKLET_Third-party_Reproduction/ Accessed May 19, 2015.
- Ginsburg ES, et al. Donor insemination. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 19, 2015.
- Intrauterine insemination. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. http://www.reproductivefacts.org/FACTSHEET_Intrauterine_Insemination_IUI/.Accessed May 19, 2015.
- Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, et al. Recommendations for gamete and embryo donation: A committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility. 2013;99:47.
- What you should know — Reproductive tissue donation. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/TissueSafety/ucm232876.htm?utm_campaign=Google2&utm_source=fdaSearch&utm_medium=website&utm_term=sperm donation&utm_content=5. Accessed May 19, 2015.