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Patient Information
Donor Selection

ArrowGeneral factors for donor selection

ArrowSpecific factors for donor selection

General Factors for Donor Selection

Donors at the Berlin Sperm Bank (Berliner Samenbank) include young men aged between 20 and 38 years. They include apprentices, trades people, students, civil servants, men in compulsory military service and intellectuals. At each visit and ultimately during the acceptance interview and contract signing, employees from the Berlin Sperm Bank (Berliner Samenbank) verify that the donor candidate does not exhibit any physical or mental abnormalities.

A particularly high sperm quality is naturally a requirement, including after a thawing test performed on the test ejaculate.

Quality control

Quality control

Preference is given to donors with proven fertility (i.e. those who already have children or who have at least conceived).

There should be no history of hereditary disorders or specific metabolic diseases in their own family. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Seizures
  • Mental disorders
  • Rheumatism or
  • Asthma

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Preference is also given to young men in a steady relationship or marriage due to the lower risk of them suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.

Precisely because of the risk of infection associated with promiscuity or a high-risk lifestyle, men from certain groups are not accepted as donors (drug addicts, homosexuals).

Donors are tested for the following infectious diseases:

  • HIV 1 and 2
  • Hepatitis A, B and C
  • Syphilis (TPHA test)
  • Gonorrhoea (GO)
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Each new donor undergoes chromosomal testing (a karyogram). Under certain circumstances, other tests (such as molecular genetic testing) may also be performed.

Each sperm sample is only released for use after 6 months of quarantine and after a repeat physical examination reveals no significant findings. This period is based on the so-called incubation period, which can be a few months for HIV pathogens. HIV antibodies are in some cases only detectable in the blood a few months after infection.

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Specific Factors for Donor Selection

The often large number of different donors of all blood groups permits the couple to select a donor with the desired characteristics, which will in most cases understandably match those of the husband/partner. These include general outward characteristics such as physical appearance, hair and eye colour, etc., as well as blood group and Rh factor.

Donors are classified according to level of education, profession and interests. It is therefore possible in some circumstances to consider personal characteristics and education.

The photographs of donors held by the Berlin Sperm Bank (Berliner Samenbank) are not provided to the recipient couple as this would violate the donor's desire for anonymity. However, the photographs give us the opportunity to achieve the best possible match between donor and partner.

We usually provide the couple with an initial selection of donors in the form of a list with four to eight potential candidates, with the visual "match" between the appearances of the sperm donor and partner/husband also quantified (1 = very high; 2 = good similarity).

Donor selection

Excerpt from the donor catalogue

The couple is of course free to decide whether they would rather consider other factors (such as profession, education or hobbies) when selecting "their" donor.

Should three to five treatments under optimal conditions with the samples from a donor not result in pregnancy, it may be advisable to change donors.

Of course, this also applies if all of the samples from this donor have been used up in the meantime. It may therefore be highly advisable to reserve a specific number of samples in advance (for an additional cost).


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