We work to make this process straightforward and comfortable for you. If you don’t see your question answered here, just reach out. We’re here to help.
Did you know the donation of semen is a far more rigorous process than donation of blood or plasma?. People accepted into our Canadian donor program are selected from carefully screened and tested applicants who have undergone in-depth evaluation. Less than two per cent of all applicants are accepted.
Our donors come from a wide variety of sources including; referrals from current donors, discreet advertisements in professional periodicals and media (TV, radio, print and online articles) . We recruit from regions which offer a high quality of life.
Challenges with fertility are growing in public awareness. Many donors, most of whom are married with kids of their own, get involved to help others have children of their own. In line with Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004), donors are not compensated for their donations. Expenses associated with the donation are reimbursed within a reasonable limit, and usually don’t exceed $70.
Before we accept anyone into the Origin Sperm Bank donor semen program, our staff has weekly interactions and discussions with each candidate. This process takes place over six months, and includes an average of 30 appointments and seven blood tests. It’s very natural for the donor to become a part of the Origin family, and to adopt a caring, sincere desire to help others overcome infertility.
The average age of our donors is 31 years.
We provide non-identifying information about our donors free of charge through our Semen Donor Catalogue. You also have free access to a very detailed five-page computer-generated Donor Portfolio. If you’d like more details, consider reviewing the Extended Canadian Donor Profiles, which include audio interviews, likeness photos, staff impressions, and more.
The vast majority of our donors have a university education and are professionals. Our Semen Donor Catalogue offers more information on specific levels of education.
Donors commit to a minimum one year participation with four to five laboratory appointments per month, monthly blood draw agreements and interviews, physical exams, lifestyle assessments, and ongoing evaluation of health and disease risk. We believe our donors' willingness to commit to such a demanding schedule is further proof of their sincere attitude.
Origin Sperm Bank follows guidelines recommended by international reproductive societies, such as the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. To monitor pregnancy and live birth data, we send a reporting inquiry with every shipped sample to the treating physician. Patients are also encouraged to report their outcomes through our online reporting tool.
Most importantly, Origin Sperm Bank maintains a Sibling Registry where patients can voluntarily register and connect with other patients who have used the same donor. Data is monitored and used to restrict certain donors in particular geographical areas. Origin Sperm Bank attempts to limit donors to three live births per region of populations of 100,000 people.
A donor’s samples are also restricted once a maximum of 25 live births is reported. Siblings of the same patient using the same donor are considered one live birth. All parties are encouraged to share live birth reports however, some may go unreported.
Candidates agree to detailed interviews about their sexual behaviour, family background and reasons for participating in our semen donor program. We evaluate a minimum of three generations of each candidate’s family history. Following extensive semen analysis, both before and after freezing, the candidate is tested for infectious diseases. The list of screening criteria is continually being updated as recommendations are received from government and professional organizations. After three months of testing, gathering physical and personal data and interviews, our Medical Director determines the acceptability of the candidate. Then, three more months of testing and screening happen before the donor's specimens are available for use in clinical artificial insemination. After this six month period, we feel confident and assured that the donor candidate is now ready to become an Origin donor.
It means that the donor has been exposed to the cytomegalovirus (CMV) in the past. None of our donors have a current CMV infection – they are routinely tested for markers of current infection. In addition, the culture of semen samples is performed to ensure the absence of any viruses. This is a unique feature that distinguishes the Origin Sperm Bank screening program from other sources of donor semen in Canada. Recent research indicates that 30-50% of the population is exposed to the virus’ mild form during a certain stage of their lives but do not realize it unless they are screened. Some physicians would advise CMV non-reactive recipients to select only a donor who is also CMV non-reactive, while CMV reactive recipients can select any type of donor. If you have any further questions, please check with your treating doctor as this may affect your donor selection.
When a donor enters the program, they waive the right to seek personal information about the recipient and the offspring. The only information that is made public is the number of childbirths that have resulted from their participation as a donor.
This is very possible. For Identity Release donors, the identity information is automatically released to donor-conceived offspring once he/she is 18 years or older. For Anonymous donors, Origin Sperm Bank will ask the donor's authorization once a request is received from an offspring who is 18 or older. Although some anonymous donors have initially agreed to meet with their offspring when they turn 18, they may change their mind several years down the road.
Yes. Origin Sperm Bank has a program specifically designed for a Directed Donor, that is a donor you wish to use who has a personal connection to you. Working with and through your (recipient’s) physician, we provide the necessary forms and proper testing of the Donor. We will assist with the preparation of the specimens and the required quarantine prior to use. To ensure your health and safety, the Donor’s sample is screened, tested and quarantined to the same standards we use for our Anonymous Donors.
Expanded Carrier Screening (ECS) is a form of genetic testing, from a blood or saliva samples, that may determine if the individual is a carrier for a certain genetic disease that can be inherited. Click here to read more about ECS.
The policy at Origin is to ship the requested specimens directly to the physician. It is possible for the recipient to order specimens. These requests will be confirmed with the physician in order to facilitate the scheduling of the shipment.
All specimens are shipped in liquid nitrogen containers designed to maintain the appropriate temperature (keeps the specimens frozen for up to 7 days). These shippers act like a “Thermos”, so additional or free nitrogen in a cylinder is not required to maintain the temperature. All shipments are round-trip, pre-paid both ways.
IATA regulations were changed, as of January 1, 1995, to classify the shipping tank as non-dangerous providing there is no free nitrogen enclosed. All documents and waybills are completed for you and shipped to your physician, with a return process for getting the shipper back to Origin. Should you have difficulty with the courier in your area, please contact Origin immediately. Appropriate procedures for thawing and handling cryopreserved donor semen are included with each shipment.
Your physician decides who will be billed for the donor semen. In many cases, you are billed directly, in which case you are responsible to pay for all charges at the time of service. Accepted methods of payment include credit cards (VISA/Mastercard/Amex), Certified Cheque, Wire Transfers or Money-Order prior to the shipment being sent.
Other services, such as Extended Portfolios, are paid at the time of order. Please note that we do not accept debit cards/Interac, unless used in person.
You may need to return frozen specimens because ovulation doesn’t take place as planned. In keeping with the AATB standards, we accept specimens returned to us, providing (1) we are notified that they are being returned, (2) that the specimens have not been removed from the shipping container and (3) the shipping is received by Origin within seven days from the initial shipment date. A credit will not be issued, but the specimens will be maintained in storage for future use by the same patient. We will not use these specimens for any other physician or patient. The recipient is responsible for payment of the original invoice as well as the Cryovial Return fee and the recurring storage fees (depending on the duration of storage).
For all orders after April 1st, 2020, cancelled reservations are eligible for a 50% refund for the price of the Canadian donor specimen up to 12 months after purchase. These specimens must not have been shipped from Origin's premises. No refunds will be issued for imported donor samples. Pre-paid storage fees of more than a year are eligible for a refund equal to the duration remaining.
We will do our best to ensure sufficient specimens are available for future use. The only way to guarantee availability is to purchase and store the requested donor specimens when available. Origin will be happy to assist with this reservation procedure. There is free one year storage with the purchase of six or more vials.
The option to bank sperm should be discussed as early as possible after a cancer diagnosis, as it is best to collect semen before treatment begins. But sperm samples can be safely collected during the first few days of chemotherapy or radiation treatments, if needed. Although chemotherapy and radiation can damage the genetic material in developing sperm, the mature sperm found in a man’s semen are resistant to damage.
No. Storing semen samples does not have to delay the start of medical treatment. The best time to collect a specimen is after 48 hours of abstinence from sexual activity. Although sperm are constantly being produced in the testes, it takes some time to replenish the sperm level after each ejaculation. To allow recovery of maximum semen volume, the second sample should be collected after another 48 hours of abstinence. If scheduling of a medical treatment does not allow that much time, waiting 24 hours between collections is usually enough. Men usually are advised to store several samples, but preserving even one may be worthwhile.
Semen quality is measured in several ways, but mainly by the sperm count (number of sperm cells present in one milliliter fluid) and the sperm motility (the activity of the sperm cells). Semen quality can be damaged temporarily or permanently. Men who recently have been diagnosed with cancer often have poorer semen quality than usual. The same is true of men who have a high fever or recent exposure to toxic chemotherapy for cancer or radiation therapy aimed near the testes. A man’s age has only minor influence on semen quality, but being a heavy smoker or abusing alcohol sometimes can interfere. Semen quality also varies with each ejaculated specimen.
With modern infertility treatments, it makes sense to bank sperm even if you have low sperm quality. New techniques of in vitro fertilization often can achieve pregnancy by injecting just one live sperm cell into an egg. People with better semen quality may be able to use their samples to create a pregnancy by simple insemination of their partner, a much less expensive and involved procedure than going through in vitro fertilization.
If semen quality is high enough to permit artificial insemination, the chance of a successful pregnancy increases with the number of samples you bank. If the treatment will be in vitro fertilization, one sample may be enough, but it is still recommended to store several samples. For each pregnancy that you desire, you should bank between three and six specimens, depending on their quality.
Samples of semen do not deteriorate, even over many years of deep freezing. Banking sperm before cancer treatment may allow a teenager or a young adult to become a father years later. For a man who is about to have a vasectomy, therapeutic sperm banking provides an option to father a child if his life circumstances change.
No. Among thousands of children who have been conceived with frozen sperm, the incidence of birth defects have been no different than those among children conceived through sexual intercourse.
People diagnosed with cancer may have special concerns about the health of their children. Most types of cancer are not inherited from parent to child. Studies of children conceived after a parent’s cancer treatments do not find any unusual rates of birth defects or cancer. However, there are a few types of cancer that can run in families. Your doctors can tell you whether your cancer falls into this group. If so, you may want to talk with a genetic counsellor, who is a professional with special training in educating people about inherited health problems, and discuss possible health risks for your future children.
Yes. After the first few days of cancer treatment, doctors often suggest that you use some type of birth control to prevent starting a pregnancy with damaged sperm. In general, you should continue to use some type of contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy during your cancer treatment and at least for six months afterwards. You cannot assume you are infertile.
When you are ready to use stored sperm for infertility treatment, you must notify our laboratory at least five days in advance. A specimen order form should be completed indicating the number of vials needed and the name of your physician. A notarized Authorization of Release should accompany this order form. You, or your legally appointed executor, must also complete a release form.