All donors undergo an initial consultation with the specialist doctors in The Centre. Medical history is very important in ensuring that no risks are knowingly and/or negligently passed on to the child/children.

The donors have to be 18 to 45 years in age, of normal intelligence, in good health and with no past or family history of heritable physical, mental or genetic disease. They undergo a medical examination and details are asked. If all is satisfactory, the necessary screening tests are arranged.

A donor may not be accepted whenever a risk is envisaged to him, his existing children or to the future child.

All donors have a responsibility to advise the centres of any new developments that may affect the well-being of future children or those already conceived/born after donation.

All donors are carefully screened according to current guidelines and best practice.

Please be advised that it is possible that a donor-conceived person who is disabled as a result of an inherited condition that the donor knew about, or ought reasonably to have known about, but failed to disclose, may be able to sue the donor for damages.

Which tests are performed?

Genetic Testing:

Chromosome analysis: All prospective sperm donors have an analysis performed of their chromosomes.

Screening for Cystic Fibrosis: In addition, we routinely test for cystic fibrosis. The screening will be performed for only the 12 commonest gene mutations in the Caucasian and Northern European populations. These mutations account for 85% of all varieties known to medicine to date. Exclusion of these mutations reduces the risk of being a carrier for cystic fibrosis to about 1% for these populations. In other population’s e.g. Asians, the incidence of cystic fibrosis is much lower than that among Caucasians. Whilst all 12 mutations known to be common in the Caucasian and Northern European populations are excluded, the risk of being a carrier among the Asian donors cannot be accurately determined.

It is very important for the recipient couples to understand that not all known gene mutations are screened for and that there may be others that are not yet known. Hence the likelihood of developing this illness is minimised as far as is possible with this screening but has not been completely eliminated.

For non-caucasian donors, additional genetic screens may be carried out to determine prevalent genetic disorders in that population e.g.

  1. Thalassaemia for Chinese, Asian and Eastern Europeans
  2. Sickle cell disease for black and Asian population
  3. Tay Sach’s disease for Jews

Viral screening:

Hepatitis B, C and HIV: All sperm donors are screened for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. This must repeated six months after the donation before the sperm can be used for any recipient, as it is possible for a donor to have been exposed to HIV infection, test negative but the test become positive within the following six months.

STD’s including Syphilis & Gonorrhoea: All sperm donors are screened for Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV): This virus commonly infects people and in normal circumstances gives a minor flu like illness. However it can become activated in pregnancy and can harm the baby. It is a very common infection in the normal population and many of us are exposed to it during our lifetime. We screen all donors and use CMV negative donors only for CMV negative recipients. On the other hand, CMV positive recipients can have gametes from both negative and positive donors.