What Are the Regulations for Donating Sperm?

Christina Edwards

The regulations for donating sperm may vary depending on where the donor lives. Many sperm banks, however, will first make sure that any man who wishes to become a sperm donor is generally healthy. This will usually include tests and screenings for genetic defects, communicable diseases, and sperm count. In many areas, a sperm donor must fall into a certain age range.

A sperm cell.
A sperm cell.

Sperm donors must be generally healthy males. Many sperm banks will deny some men interested in donating sperm, if they are not healthy or do not lead a healthy lifestyle. A donor should not be overweight, for instance, nor should he be a heavy drinker or smoker.

Sperm donors must take blood and urine tests to detect diseases.
Sperm donors must take blood and urine tests to detect diseases.

Before donating sperm, a man will often be screened for certain genetic and chromosomal abnormalities. These types of medical problems are usually hereditary, and they can be passed on to a child conceived with his sperm. A family history of Down syndrome or sickle cell anemia, for instance, will usually disqualify a man from donating sperm.

Most diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), will also disqualify a man from donating sperm. He will often be asked to honestly fill out a questionnaire to determine his risk of contracting these types of communicable diseases. Medical professionals may even be turned away from sperm banks, since they come in contact with these types of diseases on a daily basis. Men who have unprotected sex, or men who have sex with multiple partners are also often not allowed to donate sperm, since this behavior can increase the risk of contracting certain dangerous STDs.

A physical exam is also usually required before a man can begin donating sperm. During this exam, a physician will check the state of a man's general health. He will also usually be asked to provide blood, urine, and semen samples. The blood and urine samples will be used to check for diseases. The semen sample will be used to determine if a man has a healthy sperm count.

Some sperm banks may also require possible donors to undergo a psychological evaluation and an IQ test. This is not usually required by law, but it can help sperm recipients determine which sperm they would like to receive, based on a donor's personality and intelligence. Pictures or a physical description may also be required.

Men must also be a certain age to donate sperm. Usually, a donor will need to be over the age of 18, but younger than his 40s. This age range may vary, depending on the sperm bank, but it is between these ages that a man is most fertile. As he gets older, the amount of healthy sperm in his semen will typically start to decline.

Men with a family history of Down syndrome are not allowed to donate sperm.
Men with a family history of Down syndrome are not allowed to donate sperm.

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