Sperm Donation

donate-spermIn our society it is common that people borrow or lend help from others when they require something. This even includes several human body parts like tissues, heart, liver, kidney, lungs, skin, cornea, eye, bone etc. In recent medical revolution even sperms, eggs & embryos from one person are obtained for the use of others. Certain medical banks have been established for recovering, processing, preserving & providing these body parts for the required persons. The one that stores the semen is called semen bank.

Semen Bank -

A semen bank is also called as Sperm bank or Cryo bank. It is a facility that collects, processes, preserves and stores human sperm from known or unknown donors, for the purpose of artificial insemination. The process of preservation is also called as cryopreservation.

History of Cryopreservation -
In 1940’s veterinary doctors started freezing & storing bull semen & artificially inseminated the cows. In 1950’s same technique was utilized for storing human semen for artificially inseminating women resulting in first childbirth. Later on careful ongoing research has aided in the development of more modernized procedures and techniques for the freezing and storing of human semen. Till date lakhs of children have born all over the world by using frozen semen.

Need for Semen Bank -
Mainly there are two main reasons for storing semen, firstly for the own use & secondly for donation.
Own use storage:
There are several situations where a person may feel to store his own semen for future use. Some of the conditions are:

» Men who are suffering from serious diseases like cancer, which requires treatments like radiation therapy,chemotherapy or surgery that will cause infertility.

» Men who want to undergo vasectomy.

» Men who are engaged in high risk occupations, including at-work exposure to radiation or dangerous chemicals.

Donor Semen Storage -
Some men may opt to donate their sperms for the use of others. It is important to know that the donor is giving his genes to another known or unknown couples. This may be either voluntary donation or for monetary benefits.

Types of Donor -

There are two types of donors

» Known donor:

Here the donor & the recepient may know each other. Donation is usually voluntarly done by close relatives or friends of the recipient.

» Unknown donor:

Here the identity of donor & the recepient will not be known to each other.

Eligibility of the donor -
All healthy men between the age group of 18- 45 can donate the semen. There are some conditions to be followed before donating.Donor should have good physical & mental health. He should be free from all infectious disease, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, hereditary diseases, hepatitis etc.

Identity of the Donor -
In case of unknown donors the semen bank will always keep identity of the donor secret & code numbers are used. Only physical characteristics like hair color, complexion, eyeball color, height, weight, blood group, blood Rh type etc are recorded.

How Donors are selected?

Firstly the person who is willing to donate is properly counseled. Then he is explained about the sperm donation & results involved. Once the donor agrees to all the conditions a thorough medical examination along with blood & urine tests are done to rule out any major health problems. After analyzing the sperm quality he is considered for semen donation.

How Many times a person can Donate?
Normally a person can donate two times a week & there should be minimum of three days gap between each donation.

What are the Benifits for Donor?
Some donors may get self-satisfaction after donating the semen & some may do it for monetary purpose. Medical examination like blood & urine tests are also done free of cost for donor.

Technique of Seman Collection -

» The donor should not have sexual intercourse for at least three days prior to donation.

» The specimen must be obtained by masturbation.

» Donor should wash his hands thoroughly before producing the specimen.

» Donor should not use any lubricant or soaps and creams.

» The entire specimen should be properly collected directly into the sterile container provided by the laboratory.

» If the semen is collected outside the semen bank then it should be handed over to the semen bank within 1 hour of collection & it should be kept warm by carrying in the pocket.

Technique of Cryopreservation -
A lab technician is seen taking out a frozen semen from liquid nitrogen tank
The collected Semen first analyzed for its quality. Then the semen is washed with certain reagents & then mixed with the preservative. It is then stored in vials that it is then stored in vials that are properly labeled. This vial is then kept inside a liquid nitrogen tank. The temperature inside these tanks is maintained at –196C maintened at -196C.

Duration of Storage -
Semen can be stored by cryopreservation for indefinite time. It can be stored even for 30 years. However it is used as early as possible. It can also be transported to long distances through liquid nitrogen flasks.

Disadvantages -
A major risk of insemination of frozen sperm is the failure of fertilization and pregnancy. The viability and motility of frozen-thawed sperm is usually lower than that of fresh sperm.

The following services are available-

» Semen banking with programs for both long-term and short-term storage
» Standard and pre-processed cryopreservation
» Semen analysis - Cryosurvival - Concentration for oligozoospermia
» Sperm processing procedures including retrograde ejaculates for IUI
» Standard and pre-processed anonymous donor semen
» Artificial insemination

Conclusion -
Semen banks are a boon & ray of hope for infertile couple. It has been socially, legally, ethically & morally accepted by one & all. Just like blood donation, semen donation also serves for a noble cause. It has enabled many couple to conceive, who would otherwise have not been able to have children on their own. Healthy men should voluntarily come forward for the semen donation & remember.

"Donate Semen & Give Life!"