Sperm bank

From ArticleWorld

A sperm bank is a clinic or facility carries the purposes of identifying and screening possible sperm donors, facilitating the collection of donated semen and storing, for later use, the donated sperm. The first sperm banks opened in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan and in Iowa City, Iowa.


Sperm banks generally attract and retain men between the ages of 18-25 who volunteer themselves as sperm donors. Before a man can be accepted into a program, he must be evaluated to exclude the presence of medical diseases, genetic conditions or high-risk sexual behavior. He must provide information on his genetic history as well as that of his family. Finally, he must agree to sell his sperm to the sperm bank for a specified period of time.

Portions of a sperm bank look similar to a doctor’s clinic. Men present themselves for donation and are provided with a private place, materials to facilitate ejaculation and a receptacle into which the ejaculate or semen is placed.

Technicians at the sperm bank process the sperm and store it in tanks of liquid nitrogen, which freezes the specimen for an extended period of time. In some cases, the sperm is highly concentrated into a form considered more favorable for insemination. Frozen sperm can remain viable for many years.

Before donated sperm can be sold to fertility clinics or for other medical purposes, it must be kept frozen for a minimum of six months. The donor must then be retested for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, for genetic abnormalities and for viral diseases that enter the brain, such as Jakob-Kreutzfeldt Disease. If these tests are satisfactory, the sperm can be shipped.