What we screen for


European Sperm Bank only accepts 5-7% of all donor applicants. We check diligently for high-quality sperm as this is important for a successful insemination. We carry out extensive genetic testing to help you feel confident about your choice. In many ways, our testing exceeds the requirements of the EU Tissue Directive.

Initially, the donors are selected based on a number of parameters:

  • Sperm quality and sperm count
  • Age
  • Personality
  • Education
  • Third to fourth-generation family health history

Further screening includes analysis of blood and urine:

  • Chemistry panel
  • Complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • ABO-Rh blood typing
  • HIV
  • HTLV I/II
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Hepatitis B core antibody
  • Hepatitis C viral antibody
  • Syphilis
  • CMV IgG/IgM
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoeae

The genetic tests we do include the following:

  • Third to fourth-generation family medical history, which is reviewed by a trained genetic specialist or a medical doctor (all donors)
  • Cystic fibrosis screening for 139 mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene (all Caucasian donors)
  • Chromosome analysis (all donors)
  • SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). We test SMN1 exon and the assay detects variations in the number of copies of exon 7 of the SMN1 gene. Carriers of SMA will usually have one copy of the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. A normal SMN1 dosage (two copies) significantly reduces, but does not exclude the risk of being a carrier of SMA (all active donors from January 2015). If you want to know test status for a specific donor, please contact us.
  • Thalassemia (all donors). An HPLC analysis is done to detect this indirectly. Please contact us if you would like to have your donor genetically screened for carrier status. Less than 1 in 1,000 are carriers for this disease in Northern Europe.
  • Tay-Sachs disease (donors with Ashkenazi Jewish or French-Canadian ancestry)
  • Non-syndromic hearing Loss and deafness (Connexin 26) – all active donors from June 2016
  • Sperm donors with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are furthermore tested for:

    • Familial dysautonomia
    • Fanconi anaemia type C
    • Gaucher disease
    • Niemann-Pick type A disease
    • Canavan disease
    • Sickle cell disease (donors with African ancestry are genetically screened). For all donors, an HPLC analysis is done to detect this indirectly.

    By the time we have done all the testing and screening, we also have gathered information for the sperm donor’s profile.