Provision of donor sperm FAQ

Everything you need to know

How are the donors tested?

Laboratory testing of prospective donors includes multiple seminological and haematological tests:

Seminological tests:

  1. Conventional parameters (semen volume, sperm count, motility, morphology, vitality)
  2. Functional parameters (acrosome integrity test, sperm DNA integrity test, semen redox potential test, etc.)
  3. Recovery test and longevity study post thaw
  4. Complete microbiological screening

Hematological tests:

  1. Blood type (ABO) / Rh
  2. Karyotypic profile
  3. Cystic fibrosis (includes 90-99% of detectable pathological mutations in the Greek population) (molecular testing with NGS since June 2017)
  4. Mediterranean syndromes (type α, β, δβ and sickle cell anaemia)
  5. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) (since June 2015)
  6. Sexually Transmissible Diseases (HIV I / II, HbsAg, anti-HCV, anti-HTLV, CMV, VDRL)

Only the candidates whose semen quality exceeds the reference values of internationally recognized methodologies are selected.
Due to the seasonal variations observed in semen, it is possible that a candidate donor is asked to deliver 2 or 3 control samples, in order to certify whether his semen quality meets the selection criteria.

There is also a possibility that neat semen of good quality might not be adequately recovered post thaw. Since sperm donation requires only frozen semen, the selection obviously includes only samples that produce good recovery of motile spermatozoa after thawing.

Regarding donor anonymity

According to Greek law, sperm donation in Greece is anonymous. Therefore, the identity of the donor shall not be disclosed to the recipient. Neither will the identity of the recipient or the identity of the child or children born as a result of the attempted assisted reproduction method shall ever be disclosed to the donor of the genetic material.

Medical information regarding the donor are kept under complete secrecy in codified form in the Cryopreservation Bank and in the national registry of donors and recipients that must be kept by the National Authority for Medically Assisted Reproduction. Access to this file is allowed only to the child and solely for reasons relevant to his/her health.

Birth records

According to Greek law, the maximum number of children born from the same donor is restricted to ten (10), unless a recipient family who has already given birth to a child, wishes to have a sibling by use of the same donor’s sample.

In case of successful birth, the recipients expressly undertake the responsibility to inform CRYOGONIA in order to update the donor’s records.

Which are the legal aspects we need to know?

According to Greek law:

  • The use of fresh (neat) donor semen is forbidden.
  • The use of semen originating from more than one donor in the same reproductive cycle is forbidden.
  • Any commercial activity (i.e. buying-selling) regarding the provision of semen is forbidden. The financial cost that the recipient has to pay covers all the legal expenses that are required in order for the gametes to be safely provided from the donor to the recipient. These include the costs for the medical and laboratory examinations of the donor and his semen, the donor’s compensation, the freezing, cryopreservation, release and transfer costs of the samples.
  • The child born after the successful application of the assisted reproduction method using donor sperm shall have as its legal mother the wife/spouse and as its legal father the husband/partner. The consent of the husband/partner to the wife/spouse being subjected to heterologous in-vitro fertilization prohibits any objection to paternity.

For more information on the legal framework, you can also refer to the website of the National Authority of Medically Assisted Reproduction.

What documents are required?

According to Greek law, donor sperm cannot be released unless the recipients have given their written informed consent to the Cryopreservation Bank.

In the case of recipient couples, both partners must give their written informed consent on a special document provided by the Cryopreservation Bank. Married couples must present a recent valid marriage certificate and photocopies of their identity cards. Unmarried partners must present a copy of their legal documentation declaring their union, as well as identity card photocopies.

A single unmarried woman – recipient is also required to give her written informed consent on a special document provided by the Cryopreservation Bank, as well as a copy of her legal documentation declaring her marital status, a copy of a special notary deed declaring her intention to undergo assisted reproduction by use of donor sperm and identity card photocopy.

The scientific personnel of CRYOGONIA is always happy to provide you with analytical information in a private meeting, by appointment at least 2 working days before the date that you will need to use the sample, as determined by your doctor. Additionally, you are also advised to seek legal advice with regard to the necessary legal documentation.

For more information on the legal framework, you can also refer to the website of the National Authority of Medically Assisted Reproduction.

Is there a possibility of exclusive use of a donor’s semen?

If you wish the whole reserve of a donor’s semen which is cryopreserved in CRYOGONIA to be exclusively released for your use, it is possible to arrange an exclusive reservation. In this way, all the donor’s samples that have been donated and cryopreserved in CRYOGONIA and have not been provided by CRYOGONIA to other recipients, are reserved for your own exclusive, personal future use.

More detailed information regarding this process is available by direct contact with the scientific personnel of CRYOGONIA.

What kind of information regarding the donor is available?

Analytical non-identifying information regarding the donor’s profile is available in the offices of CRYOGONIA. These data are available to you only for your personal briefing and cannot be publicized or communicated to third parties.

Information regarding the donor is recorded as a basic profile, including his age, ethnic origin, hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, height, weight, blood group/Rh, psychological evaluation, studies, profession, as well as any possible pregnancies reported in his personal life. In addition, the scientific personnel of CRYOGONIA state their impression about the donor, based on their personal contact with him.

An extended profile of the donor is also available to you. This outlines the donor’s answers to several questions describing his everyday habits, views, personality and family history.

Here are some of the questions that the donors answer:

  • My parents taught me to appreciate…
  • My personal achievements so far are…
  • My talents and inclinations are…
  • What are the strong points of your character…
  • What are the weak points of your character…
  • My life philosophy is…
  • My favorite sports, hobbies and interests are…
  • Why do you wish to become a donor…
  • If you could convey a message to the recipients of your donation, what would that be?

How is the donor selected?

During the donor selection procedure, it is important to bear in mind the phenotypic characteristics of the recipients, as well as the blood groups/Rh. The donor whose general profile combines in the best possible way with the recipients’ profile is selected.

The donor selection process may also be performed by the Assisted Reproduction Unit (Fertility Clinic). Alternatively, during your meeting with the scientific personnel of the Sperm Bank, you can have the opportunity to describe the characteristics of your choice which will be taken into consideration for the donor selection.

The scientific personnel of CRYOGONIA are in direct personal contact with the collaborating donors and are willing to provide you with analytical information regarding their phenotypic characteristics, their personality or any other descriptive trait that will nevertheless not reveal their identity.

Please be informed that the children born after assisted reproductive methods using donor sperm shall also bear the chromosomal characteristics of the donor. However, there can be no prediction or guarantee regarding the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of these children.

How can a donor semen sample be provided to me?

Following your doctor’s advice regarding the time frame of the assisted reproductive procedure, contact CRYOGONIA in order to arrange an appointment with the scientific personnel.

In a private meeting the scientific experts of CRYOGONIA describe all the steps of the procedure and discuss with you all your questions Additionally, the phenotypic characteristics and all other type of information that will facilitate the selection of the most appropriate donor are recorded.

During the meeting you must present all the required documentation and you will be asked to complete the written informed consent form, which is necessary for the following steps.

When your doctor determines the exact date and time that the sample will be needed, the Sperm Bank is notified and the sample is transferred directly to the Assisted Reproduction Unit (Fertility Clinic) of your choice.

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