Is Donor Sperm for IVF Treatment Safe?






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If you are trying to become pregnant and have found that your partner is infertile, one option that you may be considering is using donor sperm in order to become pregnant. While this is probably not preferable to you or your partner, coming to the decision to use donor sperm will not be reached lightly.

There are likely to be hundreds of questions going through your mind when you are considering using donor sperm, one of which is the safety of it. You will likely be wondering how well it is protected, and if you can receive any unwanted diseases by relying on it. Below you will learn more about the process that sperm banks take to ensure that these problems are not an issue.

1. Regulations

The first thing that you should know is that sperm banks are highly regulated and therefore sperm must undergo various testing. This testing includes genetic testing as well as tests for infectious diseases. The diseases that are required to be tested for are: HIV 1, HCV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Gonococcus, Syphilis and HTLF.


Sperm banks are also required to keep their FDA certification up to date and many prefer to go beyond the basic testing onto tests that include PCR testing. This test calls for HIV2, HTLV, CMV, HSV 1 and 2, and HPV. While this is not required, many credible sperm banks test for these items for the safety of the people who will be receiving the sperm.

2. Rules

After sperm is received, it must be quarantined until the results of the testing have had time to return. This time frame is 180 days, meaning that sperm must remain in quarantine for 180 days before it can be released to a patient.


There are also certain tests that the donors undergo before they are even able to provide their samples to a sperm bank. There a numerous questions that they must answer and they are monitored carefully as they are preparing to supply their sperm to the bank.

3. New Laws

Sperm banks have quite a responsibility to protect the patients that they are serving. In fact, in 2009 a new ruling was handed down that allowed clients to bring a sperm bank to court if they received faulty or damaged sperm. This has created a great desire for sperm banks to know exactly what type of sperm that is being donated.


Although there are general guidelines that have been put in place by the FDA, most sperm banks also have their own guidelines that they follow. According to law, sperm banks are allowed any form of testing that they see fit as long as there is not discrimination that takes place during the process.

4. Donor Regulations

Some sperm banks have certain requirements that donors must uphold in order to donate. For example, on bank in Berkeley, California requires donors to have a high school diploma and be legally able to work in the United States. They also must be a minimum of five feet seven and between the ages of 18 and 40.


Some banks also require donors to require a commitment contract to be signed. This means that donors must be willing to be tested rigorously and maintain a healthy diet where they are required to consume certain nutrients. Most sperm banks have guidelines that are based on the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the medical advice that they have supplied to the industry.

5. Conclusion

Sperm banks are highly regulated and safe. However, you should research the bank that you are considering carefully so that you can be sure that it falls in with the FDA regulated options that you have. While there are many sperm banks that are regulated, you need to be careful to avoid the ones that are not. Always go with a bank that is recommended by your fertility doctor.


Deciding to use donor sperm can be an emotional time in a couple’s life. It is understood that the genetic aspects of the sperm will not come from the father, but from a stranger instead. While this is troubling enough, many couples also worry about the safety of the sperm itself. However, by choosing an FDA regulated sperm bank you will not need to worry with this issue.

Larissa Belanger, RN

Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.