Sperm donations are crucial for many families who must turn to assisted reproduction methods to have a family or add to their existing family. Donors can be anonymous or known to the recipient. When donated sperm fertilizes mature eggs in a lab, it’s known as in vitro fertilization. Intrauterine insemination occurs when sperm is injected into a woman’s reproductive organs.
Donations can be made to a sperm bank but are called directed donations when intended for a specific recipient. Sperm donors are assessed for risk factors, including medical conditions before they can donate. It is also critical that potential donors weigh possible psychological, emotional and legal issues.
Guidelines for sperm donors
The Food and Drug Administration mandates sperm donors meet basic screening standards, and some states have their own rules. Most states follow American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) standards, which include:
- Age: Sperm banks usually set age limits between 18 and 39, while some set the upper limit at 34.
- Physical tests: Analyzing blood and urine samples can detect infectious diseases, including HIV.
- Genetic tests: Blood samples are analyzed for signs of genetic disorders.
- Semen tests: Several samples help evaluate sperm quality, quantity and motility.
- Family history: You can expect to provide family medical data for at least two generations. The presence of hereditary diseases can disqualify you from being a donor.
- Psychological tests: You must voice any concerns over sharing personal information with your biological children and possible personal contact with them.
- Personal and sexual history: This is intended to gauge whether your previous behavior, including drug use, presents risk factors for developing HIV or other infectious diseases.
Note that you may be subjected to additional testing every few months if you plan on being a regular sperm donor.
Address potential legal concerns
While sperm donors usually receive compensation for each donation that passes the screening process, the amount is not considered an incentive for donating. Most donors understand their primary role is helping others realize their dreams of having a family. But unexpected legal issues can arise.
Laws concerning sperm donations are typically limited in scope, and not addressing specific issues can cause unintended consequences, such as parenting rights, which aren’t automatically established. Donors and recipients are advised to work with lawyers experienced in assisted reproduction laws to avoid unwanted legal repercussions.