Applicant Testing

Screening

A lot of people want to make a difference by donating sperm through us. We have high requirements for sperm quality and not everyone is able to deliver that quality.

are rejected because of insufficient sperm quality

of the remaining applicants are rejected for medical reasons

are rejected based on issues identified further along in the screening process

Screening

The Screening Programme

Our screening method is our raison d'être. It has been at the centre of our operations since we opened in 2004 and we continue to change and update it on a continuous basis. Our screening programme adheres to all national guidelines and EU requirements for screening.

The Screening Programme

The first time the potential sperm donor visits the sperm bank, they provide a sample. We run tests to determine sperm quality and the ability of the sperm cells to survive freezing and thawing.

Our donor coordinators look into diseases that have affected the sperm donor's family going back three generations. The purpose of this examination is to ensure that there's no history of serious hereditary diseases. This background forms the basis for approval of the sperm donor by our Medical Director, who is a clinical geneticist.

The sperm donor receives counselling about what it means to be a donor with us. This includes open vs. non-contact donor status.

Another sperm sample is examined. The sperm quality and the ability of the cells to survive freezing and thawing are tested once again.

Our doctors carry out a thorough health check to ensure that the donor is in good health, does not present any abnormalities, and is not suffering from any hereditary diseases.

Blood and urine samples are collected and tested for infectious diseases and genetically recessive diseases. In addition, a chromosome analysis is carried out. The results are evaluated and approved by our geneticist.

The sperm donor does a personality test, the result of which is then included on his profile.

The sperm donor receives further counselling, records an audio interview, and writes a handwritten note.

The sperm donor is officially approved by our Medical Director.

All sperm donors are tested regularly while donating to us.

In spite of our thorough screening method, it is not possible to fully eliminate the risk of transferring a genetic/hereditary disease. The marginal risk can be reduced further if the woman undergoes a genetic test as well. Read more about GeneXmatch.

Before

What are potential donors screened for?

At European Sperm Bank, we screen our donors for the most common serious hereditary illnesses and sexually transmitted infections. We also screen for a selection of other infections on a continuous basis.

Our donors are chosen based on a range of parameters for which they are tested during the screening process:

  • "The quality and number of sperm cells
  • In order to minimise the risk of the donor being a carrier of e.g. hereditary breast cancer or other dominant hereditary diseases, we carry out a Genetic Risk Assessment based on medical history going back at least three generations.
  • Our doctor carries out a thorough physical examination to reduce the risk of the donor transferring hereditary conditions.
  • Screening for sexually transmitted infections
    Genetic tests including a chromosome analysis and screening for contagious diseases.
  • Personality evaluation"

If an applicant fails to receive approval in one of the categories listed, the applicant cannot join our sperm donation programme.

After

What happens once the sperm donor has been approved?

Once an applicant has been approved as a sperm donor, we continue to test them for contagious diseases. This is done every quarter using a serological test and NAT/NAAT screening.

If we encounter infection of any kind, the sperm donor is quarantined until the disease has been treated. If the sperm donor is infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, HIV I/II, HTLV I/II, Ebola they will no longer be able to donate.

We determine whether there is new information to respond to with every donation. If, for example, the sperm donor has reported travelling, we will test for any relevant travel-related infections.

When are the donations released?
We adhere to national and international legislation and therefore do not release donations until we have established that the donor did not have any contagious diseases on the donation day in question.

 

Autosomal recessive diseases

Which diseases are grounds for disqualification?

We do NOT approve applicants with unusual chromosome analyses (karyotypes) and/or who are established as carriers of one or more of the following diseases.

  • Cystic fibrosis (CF), mucoviscidosis. The number of disease-causing mutations in cystic fibrosis examined for each donor ranges from 29 mutations to all known mutations depending on when the donor was approved for the programme.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was added to the list for all active donors from January 2015.
    Nonsyndromic hearing loss and deafness (DFBN1) was added to the list for all new donors from June 2016.
  • Alpha and beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia.

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in the test status of a specific donor.

 

In addition, applicants of Jewish or French-Canadian background are tested for the following:

  • Bloom syndrome
  • Canavan disease
  • Familial dysautonomia
  • Fanconi anaemia
  • Gaucher's disease
  • Mucolipidosis, type IV
  • Niemann-Pick disease
  • Tay-Sachs disease

Here are the diseases we screen for

Blood sample examination

  • HIV I/II
  • HTLV I/II
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Syphilis
  • CMV

Urine sample examination

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

Depending on the travel history of the sperm donor, we might test for

  • Zika
  • West Nile Fever

Our chosen examination types

ABO - Rh blood typing

The examination reveals the donor's cell count for red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and haemoglobin.

 

The examination reveals the donor's liver function, kidney function, cholesterol, iron level, and blood sugar.

To minimise the risk of the donor being a carrier of e.g. hereditary breast cancer or other dominant hereditary diseases, we go through their medical history going back at least three generations.

Chromosome analyses and screening for the most common serious hereditary diseases with autosomal recessive inheritance.

Thorough physical examination by our doctor in order to minimise the risk of the donor transferring a hereditary condition.

Screening for sexually transmitted infections. We screen for other infections through blood or urine samples on a regular basis.

Screening

What do we do if a donor child contracts a serious disease?

If a child conceived through donor sperm contracts a serious disease, we carry out a genetic risk assessment in order to establish the likelihood of this genetic disease arising in other donor children. This is known as the "Repeat Risk".

The evaluation is carried out by our Medical Director, who is an expert in clinical genetics with more than 20 years of experience in the field. We'll be in contact with the Danish Patient Safety Authority throughout the process.

What does the process look like?

When we receive notification that a donor child has developed a serious disease, the process tends to look like this.

We receive notification
The informant can be the clinic, the parents, etc.

We gather consent
We gather consent from the parents of the child in order to gather relevant medical information pertaining to the case.

Our Medical Director evaluates the case
Our Medical Director, who is a clinical geneticist, evaluates the case. There are two possible outcomes of this risk assessment.

The donor is cleared for further donations
In the majority of cases, the risk assessment determines that there is no increased risk of continuing to work with the donor.

The donor is temporarily blocked
This means that their sperm will not be available for purchase and that it cannot be used while we evaluate if the donor poses a risk.

The donor undergoes further testing
We assess whether the donor is responsible for the child's disease. For example, we might test the donor for the same genetic fault with which the child has been diagnosed. The donor remains blocked.

The assessment is completed
There are two possible outcomes of the risk assessment:

The donor is not responsible

If the donor is not a carrier of the genetic fault with which the child has been diagnosed and the block is lifted. In cases where the child has not received a concrete diagnoses, we determine whether there is a risk of other donor children developing the same disease. According to the Danish Tissue Act, the donor does not pose an increased risk if this risk falls below 1%.

The donor is responsible

The donor is permanently blocked. The donor is considered responsible if they are a carrier of the genetic fault with which the child has been diagnosed. A donor might also be blocked permanently if the reported diagnoses lead to a suspicion that continuing to use the donor will result in increased risk.

Donors are rarely considered responsible for diseases developed by donor children, as most serious diseases are not inherited.

How do we notify the relevant parties?

We aim to notify the affected parties in the best manner possible. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

The donor does not pose a risk
If our geneticist determines that there is no increased risk of continuing to work with the donor, the only people notified are the informant and the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

The donor is temporarily blocked
If our geneticist determines that there is an increased risk of continuing to work with the donor, we forward this information to clinics who have used his sperm for treatment, the informant, and the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

The block is either lifted or made permanent
We forward information to clinics who have used his sperm for treatment, the informant, and the Danish Patient Safety Authority. If the sperm donor is blocked permanently, we also forward this information to those using our facilities to store the sperm in question.

GeneXmatch

Minimise the risk of hereditary diseases

As one of the only sperm banks out there, we offer genetic matching with potential donors to help you make the right decision.

GeneXmatch