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Today sperm banks create possibilities for famiy planning unimagined 20 years ago.One in seven  married  couples,as well as single women who want to have children,can turn to a sperm bank  for  semen from an anonymous donor.The worlds largest sperm bank pays it donors(often medical students) $25 for each specimen deposited. It  charges its clients  $200  to $425 plus packing and shipping for each specimen ordered.  A woman may need  to be inseminated several times before a  pregnancy results.For those  cosidering artificial insemination,the first step is  selecting a doctor they really trust.The doctor then coordinates  with the  sperm  bank  and  performs the artificial insemination.Some  sperm banks are not  subject to federal regulation,and state laws vary widely. Since many physicians are  unaware of the disparity between  various facilities, itis inportant to know  what to look for in a sperm bank. Does the bank have a full-time medical director,and he is a pathologist?  Is there an affiliation with a university or hospial? Is the bank a member of the America  Association of Tissue  Banks? Does it follow the  recommendation of the associations  Reproductive  Council?  How are the donors screened? A complete physical description,  personal and  genetic histories,  medical evaluation and lboratory analysis  of the semen should be  standard.The  donor should be tested  for such things as genetic disorders,damage  resulting from   environmental conditions, diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis, and  sperm count and motility(ability to move)  Some sperm  banks subject a donors semen to more then 40 different tests,far more then the averge  blood donor would  undergo. Will you or your doctor  receive a detailed description of the donor, including general information  about his education, background and interests? Some banks supply only-limited  informtion that is of question-able accuracy.Although donor  anonymity should be scrupulousy  maintained,is  there a coding system that allows you to see  whether   sperm from the same donor will be  availale  if you decide  to have a second child? What is  the banks  minimum accepable  sperm count?The average  sperm count is  just over 50 million motile  sperm per milliliter.Banks vary in their  criteria,and donor sperm may contain from 65 million to more then 100 million sperm per milliliter.Some men arrange   for long-term storage of  semen  before  a vasectomy,chemothrapy,exposure  to hazardous waste or numerous other situations.  Essentially  they are purchasing fertility insurance,putting aside  a deposit of sperm on the chance  that they may want  to father  a child  at a time  when they are  no longer  fertile.Pregnancies have   resulted  from  sperm   that  was stored for more than 20 years. A  complete  deposit of   three to five cubic  centimeters of   semen  may  take  two to three days  of abstinence to accumulate. That is how a sperm bank works.


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