Sperm freezing entails the cryopreservation and indefinite storage of sperm in Liquid Nitrogen and the full restoration of the fertilising activity of the sperm following de-freezing.
The Sperm Bank is a service enabling long term preservation of frozen semen samples, maintaining at least some of the initial percentage of live sperm, with the aim of using them whenever necessary. It comprises two different features:
– Patient Bank: Semen samples from patients, who for different reasons might experience a decrease in sperm quality, are frozen and stored. This process is intended for patients, who due to illnesses, work or personal choice, are at risk of experiencing a decrease in sperm quality (Chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, full or partial castration, vasectomies, workers exposed to toxic substances and/or radiation), and who wish to have children in the future.
– Donor Bank: Intended for single women, homosexual women, couples where the male has a severe sperm pathology, couples with recurrent failure of IVF techniques, couples where the male is HIV seropositive and carriers of genetic disorders which cannot be treated with PGD as yet.
It is vital to avoid the latency stage of infectious diseases, such as HIV, which is routinely checked by means of the presence of viral antibodies in blood. Since these antibodies can only be detected in serum six months after contact with the disease, the donor semen samples must be stored during this time, before performing the serological test and being able to use them safely.
Freezing the sample results in a reduction in the number of mobile sperm after de-freezing. For this reason, the samples are required to have a high number of sperm before freezing.
In Spain, donation is a VOLUNTARY, ALTRUISTIC, FORMAL AND CONFIDENTIAL act, arranged between the donor and the authorised centre. In this agreement, the donor commits to handing over his gametes to be used in assisted reproductive techniques.
Donation can never be a profit-making or commercial activity, however the law establishes a financial allowance to compensate in some way for the travel and work expenses that could derive from it and the general inconvenience caused by the process.
An important characteristic of donation in Spain is its anonymous nature. For this reason Gamete Banks must guarantee the confidentiality of the donors’ personal data. Only in exceptional circumstances, when the life or health of the child is in danger or when required by penal laws, could the identity of the donors be revealed, restrictively and without publicising that identity.
– Be aged between 18 and 36.
– Be in good physical health and be of sound mind.
– Neither the donor nor his direct relatives can suffer from any major genetic disorders or hereditary diseases.
– The donor cannot suffer from infectious diseases communicable to their descendants.
– Have sperm of sufficient quality to have some guarantee of surviving the freezing process.