How We Screen Our Donors

How We Screen Our Donors
  • Initial intuition-based conversation
  • Evaluation of semen quality
  • Three-stage genetic risk assessment
  • Comprehensive medical examination and testing
  • IQ requirements
  • Criminal background check
  • Personality evaluation through testing
  • Assessment by a psychologist
  • Approval by fertility staff
  • Final approval by the Medical Director

The overall donor selection process

We strongly believe in understanding and getting to know the individual behind each donation. Before assessing sperm quality, we conduct a personal interview with each candidate – what we refer to as an "intuition conversation." This conversation helps us understand each individual’s motivations for becoming a donor and assess their level of awareness regarding the associated responsibilities. If the conversation is mutually agreeable, we move forward with a sperm sample appointment.

Each candidate must complete a comprehensive questionnaire regarding their personal and family health history. Additionally, they must also undergo testing for infectious and genetic diseases. Potential donors must also meet a minimum IQ requirement and participate in a personality assessment. Upon completion, a psychologist evaluates their IQ, personality, motivations, and comprehension of the donor role based on the information provided.

Furthermore, each candidate must meet and be approved by our fertility staff before becoming available to potential parents. We understand that a donor's profile may not encapsulate all aspects of their character; that's why we also rely on intuition and the opinions of our fertility staff when aiding future parents to make the best choice for them. 

We are more than confident in our fertility staff’s ability to recommend donors to their patients.

Finally, an overarching assessment is conducted by our medical director, and upon approval, the donor is added to our roster. This rigorous evaluation process ensures the quality and commitment of our donors in providing you with the best possible choices for your journey to parenthood.

Disease screening of sperm donors

To ensure the safety and health of our donors, we conduct ongoing screenings for infectious diseases in addition to IQ and genetic disease evaluations. These screenings include:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HTLV 1&2
  • Syphilis
  • CMV
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia

We conduct comprehensive genetic testing, enabling us to identify over 4,000 disease-causing genes. Donors who have an abnormal chromosome analysis (karyotype) or carry any of the following diseases will not be accepted:

  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
  • Non-syndromic congenital deafness (DFBN1)
  • Alpha and beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia
  • Tay-Sachs

We take the screening process very seriously, frequently testing for these diseases to ensure our donors are healthy.

In addition to systematic medical screenings, our donors are required to fill out a questionnaire each time they donate to confirm that they have not engaged in any high-risk behaviour. This is an additional measure to ensure the safety and health of our donors and the recipients of their sperm.

Extended donor screening at Donor-Network: IQ and criminal record

At Donor-Network, safety and responsibility are at the forefront of our sperm donation process. We meticulously screen our donors, recognizing that criminal behaviour and intelligence are both significantly influenced by genetics and can have enduring impacts on a child's life. We require a clean criminal record from our donors, as studies suggest a 40-70% heritability rate for such behaviour. Similarly, intelligence also has an impact on an individual's life outcomes across various domains. As up to 80% of IQ score variance can be attributed to genetics, we only accept donors with normal to high IQ levels. This prevents potential challenges associated with decision-making, problem-solving, and mental health from being passed on to offspring. Our robust and rigorous screening process underscores our commitment to the future well-being of children and their family's peace of mind.

Read more about why we require IQ and criminal background screening here.