Genetic testing of sperm donors: survey of current practices

Fertil Steril. 2010 Jun;94(1):126-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.01.139. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Objective: To determine which genetic tests are being performed on sperm donor applicants in the United States.

Design: An electronic survey was distributed to 26 sperm banks to evaluate their genetic testing practices.

Setting: Sperm banks in the United States.

Patient(s): Not applicable.

Intervention(s): None. Survey of current practices.

Main outcome measure(s): Survey of current practices.

Result(s): Cystic fibrosis (CF) carrier screening, chromosome analyses, and hemoglobin evaluations are performed on the majority of sperm donor applicants. Tay-Sachs disease carrier screening is performed on most donors with Jewish heritage but there is significant variation in screening for other disorders that occur with increased frequency in this population. Individual sperm banks use different laboratory tests for evaluation of the same conditions, with each test having different carrier detection rates and interpretations.

Conclusion(s): The genetic testing performed on sperm donors varies significantly at sperm banks across the United States. Therefore, recipients should be clearly informed about the specific evaluations performed on their donor of interest. Thus it is important that sperm banks employ genetic professionals to evaluate the donors' and recipients' medical histories and perform a genetic risk assessment. This will allow clients to make informed decisions about use of semen specimens from an anonymous sperm donor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection* / methods
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Counseling / standards
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnosis
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / prevention & control
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genetic Testing / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sperm Banks / methods*
  • Sperm Banks / standards
  • Spermatozoa*
  • Tissue Donors*
  • United States