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Semen Donor Screening Guide

Xytex takes the health of our donors and our recipients seriously. Before being approved, every potential donor is required to complete a comprehensive Medical History Questionnaire (MHQ). The questionnaire includes questions regarding the health of the donor and the donor's blood relatives.* Also included are questions for high risk behaviors, questions developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Any affirmative answer to the CDC questions automatically disqualifies a potential donor. All questionnaires are reviewed by the Xytex Medical Director.

If a donor's MHQ is acceptable, the donor is screened, but not specifically tested for certain diseases and behaviors based on information provided to Xytex on the MHQ. The following testing is completed on all donors:

  • Physical examination for evidence of sexually transmitted disease
  • Initial lab testing, including:
    • Complete blood count
    • Blood typing
    • HIV 1/2 + O antibody testing
    • Hepatitis B surface antigen
    • Hepatitis B core antibody testing
    • Hepatitis C antibody testing
    • Cytomegalovirus antibody testing (total). If total is positive, then IgG & IgM are tested **
    • Syphilis serology (RPR and TP-PA)
    • HTLV I & II antibody screening
    • Full genital culture which includes testing for gonorrhea
    • Urine PCR testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea

Xytex strives to perform screening and testing for genetic disease in a thoughtful and rational manner for common and relevant conditions.

As genetic knowledge and testing technology have advanced Xytex has expanded carrier testing of donors. Shortly after the cystic fibrosis gene was discovered in the late-1980's Xytex began testing donors. Over the years, the testing panel has grown to include almost two dozen genetic diseases. In addition to chromosome analysis (karyotype), complete blood count (CBC), and hemoglobin analysis, Xytex currently tests all* donors for carrier status of the following conditions:

  • Bloom syndrome
  • Canavan disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Familial dysautonomia
  • Familial hyperinsulinism (ABCC8-related)
  • Fanconi anemia (Group C)
  • Gaucher disease
  • Glycogen storage disease (Type Ia)
  • Hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell disease and major thalassemias)
  • Joubert syndrome 2
  • Maple syrup urine disease (Types IA, IB, and 3)
  • Mucolipidosis (Type IV)
  • Nemaline myopathy NEB-related)
  • Niemann-Pick disease (Types A and B)
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMN1-related)
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Usher syndrome (Types IF and III)
  • Walker-Warburg syndrome (FKTN-related)

*Donors who joined Xytex's program prior to 2012 may not have been tested for all of the conditions listed above. Each donor's profile includes a list of the genetic conditions for which he has been tested.

Genetics is very complicated and testing can only reduce,not eliminate, the risk of a donor being a carrier of a particular condition. Please take a moment to review "Brief Introduction to Basic Genetics" to learn more about genetics and "Genetics FAQs" to learn more about genetic screening and testing of donors.

Prior to collection of each semen sample, donors are asked a series of health-related questions to identify changes in their medical histories, travel history, or symptoms of active or recent infection that might warrant a donor deferral.

During active participation in the program, donors are also required to undergo laboratory testing for infectious diseases and a physical examination at least once every six months, in addition to updating personal and family medical histories. If there is a change in status, the donor's profile is updated with the new information.

*It is important to note that the medical history provided by the donor is not validated by reviewing the donor's or his family's private medical records.

**Xytex tests each donor for Cytomegalovirus (CMV), an extremely common virus that nearly every adult has at one time or another. You will note the appropriate icon beside each donor to reflect his CMV IgG status. Whether the icon indicates positive or negative does not qualify or disqualify the donor. Xytex accepts samples from a donor with an IgG positive result which indicates a non-active CMV infection. An IgM positive result indicates an active CMV infection and the donor is considered unacceptable. Xytex recommends that you discuss the CMV status of your donor with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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