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Sperm bank

A sperm bank or cryobank is a facility that collects and stores human sperm from sperm donors, primarily for the purposes of artificial insemination. The first two sperm banks were opened in Iowa City, USA and Tokyo, Japan in 1965.




The sperm is stored in small vials or straws of holding between 0.4 and 1.0 ml and cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen tanks. There seems to be no limit on how long frozen sperm can be stored, and a baby has been conceived in the UK using sperm frozen for 21 years[1]. Before freezing, sperm may be prepared so that it can be used for intra-cervical insemination (ICI), intra-uterine insemination (IUI) or for IVF (or assisted reproduction) (ART).


Sperm supplied by a sperm bank may be used where a woman's partner is infertile or where he carries a transmissable or genetic disease. Increasingly, donor sperm is used to achieve a pregnancy where a woman has no male partner. Sperm from a sperm donor may also be used in surrogacy arrangements and for creating embryos for embryo donation. Donor sperm may be supplied by the sperm bank directly to the recipient ( see also fertility clinic) or, more usually, to a woman through a registered medical practitioner who will perform an appropriate method of insemination or IVF treatment using the donor sperm in order for the woman to become pregnant.

Sperm banks may supply other sperm banks or a fertility clinic with donor sperm, and they may also provide services to enable women to perform their own artificial insemination. Sperm banks also supply sperm for research or educational purposes.

In countries where sperm banks are allowed to operate, the sperm donor will not usually become the legal father of the children he produces as the result of the use of the sperm he donates, but he will be the 'biological father' of such children. In cases of surrogacy involving embryo donation, a form of 'gestational surrogacy', the 'commissioning mother' or the 'commissioning parents' will not be biologically related to the child and may need to go through an adoption procedure.

As with other forms of third party reproduction, the use of donor sperm from a sperm bank gives rise to a number of moral, legal and ethical issues.


Sperm banks also allow people to choose what characteristics they want their child or children to inherit, this is an example of selective breeding.


In the United States sperm banks are regulated by the FDA with new guidelines in effect May 25, 2005. There are also regulation in different states including New York and California. In the EU the sperm banks are regulated by the EU Tissue Directive in effect April 7, 2006.

Screening of donors

Using anonymous donor sperm or sperm from a known or identifiable sperm donor through a sperm bank is a safe and reliable method of achieving a pregnancy. A sperm bank takes a number of steps to ensure the health and quality of the sperm which it supplies. The donor will produce the sperm at the sperm bank and the sperm will be checked to ensure fecundity and to ensure that motile sperm survive the freezing process. In addition, donors are tested and constantly re-tested and monitored. All sperm is frozen and stored for a minimum of 6 months before being released for sale to ensure that the donor is healthy and that his sperm will not pass any sexual or other transmissable diseases. Donors are subject to tests for diseases such as human immunoviruses HIV (HIV-1 and HIV-2), human T-cell lymphotropic viruses (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2), syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), cystic fibrosis, Karyotyping 46[2] [3] XY, and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. A sperm donor may also be subject to genetic testing and a sperm bank will obtain medical records of the sperm donor, often for several generations. A sperm sample is usually examined micro-biologically. A sperm donor's blood group is also checked to ensure compatibilty with the recipient.

See also


  1. ^>
  2. ^ California cryobank
  3. ^ Cryos International
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sperm_bank". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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