Couples or individuals who want a baby may choose to build their family through sperm donation. The sperm donor, though he is the biological father, is not the legal or social father. Although there are no official statistics as to how many children are born each year as a result of sperm donation and artificial insemination, reproductive experts estimate the numbers hover around 60,000. In recent years, sperm donor anonymity concerns and the high demand for artificial insemination have led to shortages and other issues.
To donate sperm, an individual must be of legal age, in good health, and provide a full medical and family history. FDA guidelines prohibit sperm donations from men with a history of sex with another man within the previous five years. They also require testing within seven days of the donation. The sperm bank facility screens the donor for a long list of medical conditions and genetic risk factors or abnormalities. Screenings may also look for exposure to CMV, a common viral infection that stays with a person for their entire life. Many credible sperm banks also require that the donor undergo a psychological assessment by a qualified mental health professional. Evidence that the prospective donor is fertile is also a plus.
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