Why Do Men Bank Their Sperm? (Part II)
By Chioma Umeha
Donated sperm is then cryopreserved (kept frozen) until it is sold, again at no cost to the donor. In most cases, the sperm donor has the option of donating anonymously, or he can choose to release his personal information to couples interested in purchasing donated sperm.
In addition to earning money, some men feel good about donating sperm because it helps others achieve their dreams of becoming parents.
How does sperm banking work?
Advancements in technology have made sperm banking relatively convenient and affordable. To begin the process, a man will go to a sperm bank facility and provide a semen sample.
Or, he can use one of a few FDA-approved home kit to collect a sample in the privacy of his own home, and send the sample to a clinical lab for storage. This method can help reduce the anxiety and stress that accompanies semen collection at a sperm banking facility.
Once the sperm sample has been collected, the sperm banking facility will typically perform an analysis on the sample to determine sperm count and motility, along with screening for sexually transmitted diseases and other infections.
The sperm sample is then transferred to specially designed vials, and a cryo-preservative compound is added to help protect the health of the sperm during freezing and thawing. The vials are placed in the freezer, and the temperature is gradually decreased to the below freezing.
The annual fees for sperm storage are different at each facility, but are typically no more than a few hundred dollars a year. Sperm can be kept frozen for many, many years, and using frozen sperm does not increase the risk of birth defects.
When a man wishes to withdraw his sperm, he must notify the sperm banking facility and request that sperm be shipped to his physician or a medical facility.
How do you know if a sperm bank is reputable?
Before deciding which sperm bank to use for sperm storage, be sure to do your homework. Ask about laboratory accreditation, state licenses, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance, and be sure you are aware of any fees associated with storing and withdrawing sperm.
And, if you are planning to purchase donated sperm from a sperm bank, there are many, many factors to consider. FDA regulations require that sperm banks comply with standards for screening and testing of donors, maintain proper records, and undergo compliance audits.
However, outside of these regulations, sperm banks are permitted to establish their own guidelines related to collection and sharing of donor information and limitations on the number of births from any one donor.
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