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IVI - ISB has a wide range of donors from different parts of Spain and Mexico
Our Bank has a wide range of donors from different parts of Spain (Valencia, Murcia, Bilbao, Seville and Madrid ) and shortly from Mexico. They are primarily recruited among university students although, before being accepted, they undergo strict health and psychological testing and personal interviews in order to select donors with exceptional sperm quality, appropriate tolerance to freezing, free from sexually transmitted diseases at the time of donation and without a family history of hereditary diseases.
Strictly speaking, THE USE OF ANONYMOUS DONOR SPERM IS EVEN SAFER THAN HAVING CHILDREN WITH ONE'S OWN PARTNER, who will certainly not have undergone such thorough studies before attempting pregnancy.
After a selection of over 700-800 volunteers per year, only 3-5% are finally accepted, all with the same conditions: ejaculated sperm with extraordinary characteristics with no documented hereditary or infectious diseases.
Here is how the procedure works:
After an interview with our staff, who explain all the donor's rights and duties and how the bank works, possible donors provide a sperm sample for analysis.
A complete spermiogram is performed on the first sample, which is only accepted if the number of spermatozoa with good mobility is over 90 millions, approximately 4-5 times the amount classified as normal by the World Health Organisation. There are several reasons for establishing such a high limit:
The sperm count is confirmed in a second test in which the sample is also frozen and thawed. According to the Spanish Assisted Reproduction Act, samples should be stored frozen in quarantine for at least 6 months in order to avoid the incubation periods of infectious diseases such as AIDS. This quarantine is designed to avoid the incubation period of HIV, in which someone could be infected and still test negative. By keeping the samples in quarantine for 6 months, we ensure that when the donor is analysed again at the end of that period, a latent infection by HIV would then be detected and his samples would still be unused.
Finally, during a third visit, the donor undergoes strict health testing to rule out the presence of sexually transmitted diseases and talks to a psychologist in order to rule out the presence of psychological disorders of a hereditary origin.
The lab tests current performed during initial donor assessment include:
INFECTIOUS DISEASE SCREENING
* Some of our donors whose samples were frozen prior to 2005 were probably not analysed for haemogram or tested for cystic fibrosis. In any event, healthy living children have already been obtained from these donors, so they are unlikely to present these alterations.
** DNA from each donor is stored in order to be able to analyse for genetic diseases which are not routinely considered, or even to evaluate compatibility in future organ donations, such as for babies requiring bone marrow transplants.
Donors are also required to complete a questionnaire defined by Spanish law regarding the presence of hereditary conditions in their closest relatives, a behavioural risk factor questionnaire and a psychologist test supervised by the specialists responsible for the banks.
These analyses to rule out infectious diseases are regularly repeated for each donor, and sperm samples are only used when test results are negative for at least 6 months after the sample is frozen, as established by Spanish law. In comparison with the legislation in other countries, and although it makes it more difficult to manage the sperm bank, its additional constraints guarantee the safety of using our sperm samples.
The donor's health status is verified even after the samples are delivered to the bank, as analyses are compulsory even after the last sample is collected in order to avoid incubation of HIV.
Is the use of donor semen completely safe?
It is evident that nothing is completely safe in biology and medicine. Even so, all the studies we perform mean that we are very close to 100% safety, although there still may be extremely rare cases in which a donor is unaware that he is the carrier of a hereditary disease and has therefore not been tested.
Indeed, it is completely impossible to test for all the genetic alterations found in humans.
We also have to consider the possibility of “de novo” genetic diseases of which neither the donor nor the mother are carriers, but nevertheless occur in the newborn. This same circumstance also occurs in couples who conceive naturally.
The situation regarding sexually transmitted diseases is similar, although very safe, analytical techniques present a very low percentage of false negatives. In any case, the likelihood of this occurring is extremely low and the possibility of becoming infected from a single exposure to the infectious sample is even rarer.
Returning to our previous example, THE USE OF DONOR SPERM IS CERTAINLY SAFER THAN NATURAL CONCEPTION, AS COUPLES ARE UNLIKELY TO UNDERGO SUCH A VAST BATTERY OF TESTS.
International Sperm Bank IVI · Instituto Universitario IVI · Plaza de la Policía Local, 3 - 46015-Valencia (España)