Its main function is:
- To provide samples from donors to couples with sterility problems due to severe male factors.
- To provide semen samples to women without a partner.
- To provide semen samples to women with a female partner
Different techniques of reproduction can be undertaken, mainly artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation.
Couples who may be candidates for the sperm bank:
- Women with a female partner
- Sterile couples due to male causes (azoosperm, severe oligozoosperm...)
- When the husband is the carrier of a genetically transmitted disease or exhibits chromosomal abnormalities or abnormalities of the gametogenesis.
- In the case of an uncorrectable alteration in the male ejaculation.
- If the woman exhibits severe isoimmunisation, the husband being rhesus positive.
How are the samples stored in a sperm bank?
The semen is mixed with a cryoprotectant and the dosage is frozen at -196 degrees centigrade. (Liquid nitrogen).
The samples can be maintained frozen for years without losing their fertilization capacity.
The origin and selection of donors is one of the most closely controlled aspects of the sperm bank.
The donors must be of legal age (between 18 and 35 years old), volunteers, and they must have passed a previous exhaustive study before being accepted.
This study includes:
- Personal and family medical history
- Psycological evaluation
- Physical examination
- Seminogram and test for freezing
General blood test which includes:
- Blood group and Rh
- Screening for hepatitis
- HIV markers
- Karyotype in peripheral blood
- Herpes Virus
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae
- Chlamidia trachomatis
- Cystic fibrosis
Once you are accepted, the frozen samples go through a period called "quarantine" after which another test is done in order to check for seroconversion.
Semen donation is voluntary and anonymous.
Recombine Genetic Test:
- Alpha thalassemia
- Beta thalassemia
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Haemoglobinopathies (4: Hb, C, D, E & O)
- There is the possibility of performing the recombine test on the recipient and doing genetic matching with the potential donor, in order to rule out the transmission of 300 recessive genetic diseases.
Which criteria are followed to assign a donor to a determined couple?
Features like height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, skin complexion, blood group and Rh factor are taken into account.
The sperm bank is also used to keep samples whose owners have to go through chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
In these cases, the samples are kept for a longer period because these treatments usually seriously affect the germinal epithelium and the spermatozoid production.
Finally, there is the possibility of freezing semen samples before a vasectomy. They can be kept for as many years as necessary. In this way, it is possible to conceive at any time using the artificial insemination technique.