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Sperm donation is defined as the literal "donation" of sperm by a male, to be used in fertilization procedures by women or (or men in the case of poor sperm) who have had difficulty conceiving a child. Known as a sperm donor, the man donating his sperm may offer his sperm to impregnate a woman who is his wife or partner when ‘natural’ methods don't work. Men may also donate to sperm to what is known as a sperm bank, or a literal depository of sperm utilized by women who may have difficulty conceiving on her own, who have no marital partner, as well as same-sex couples.
Who Benefits from Sperm Donations?
Sperm is typically and most commonly donated to a sperm bank, depending on state and country regulations. The sperm is utilized for a number of scenarios, including couples dealing with male or female infertility, homosexual couples, or single women wishing to become a parent. Sperm banks give women and couples a possibility of carrying their own child to term, or in utilizing the sperm of a stranger, either coupled with the woman's egg, or the egg of a surrogate, depending on preference and scenario.
How is Sperm Used?
Sperm donated by anonymous donors is used in a variety of fertility treatments and methods, including but not limited to:
Artificial insemination (through inter-uterine insemination, intravaginal insemination or by intra-cervical insemination methods
in vitro fertilization methods (also known as assisted reproduction technology)
In less commonly, donated sperm may be also used in intracytoplasmic sperm insemination (ICSI), and in surrogacy scenarios and arrangements.
Sperm banks often require donors to provide numerous "deposits" depending on contract negotiations and demand. In some cases, men may donate sperm for anywhere between six months to two years, depending on local and national laws.
Before making a sperm donation, sperm donors must meet basic requirements in regard to medical history and age, again regulated by national guidelines. Guidelines differ between countries. For example, the Human Cell and Tissue or Cell and Tissue Bank Product branches of the Food and Drug Administration regulate sperm banks in the United States. In Europe, sperm banks within the European Union must have a license based on the EU Tissue Directive, and in the United Kingdom, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority regulates sperm banks. Countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Central Europe also have their own regulating organizations.
Individuals may also become donors at a sperm agency as opposed to a sperm bank. Today, many of these agencies encourage sperm donations through Internet contacts, where the man will go to a nearby clinic or agency to make the donation, in order to facilitate fresh sperm rather than frozen sperm (as is offered by a sperm bank).
Sperm Donation Process
The sperm donor makes a deposit in a clinic, and his ejaculate is frozen in liquid nitrogen, and then divided in frozen in laboratory straws or files. A single sample can be used in up to 20 such files or straws, depending on quantity. The sperm sample is then quarantined for a certain amount of time, and then can be chosen by a recipient, then thawed and utilized in fertilization procedures.
The sperm is typically screened for sexually transmitted infection and disease, abnormalities in chromosomes, as well as genetic diseases. Samples may be frozen and stored for up to six months before sperm samples are released for use in treatments.
In most cases, sperm donors remain anonymous to sperm recipients, unless other arrangements have been made. Anonymous sperm donors are not informed of how their domination is used, and information about the donors is typically limited to physical characteristics, although in some countries, a fully detailed biography is available to recipients.
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