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Donor Screening - Genetic Evaluation FAQs

Donor Screening Information:

  1. Why does California Cryobank perform a genetic evaluation on donor applicants?
  2. How is a donor's family history information collected and verified?
  3. What happens when new medical information is received about a donor or his offspring?
  4. What genetic testing does California Cryobank currently perform on its donors?
  5. How does California Cryobank manage a donor if he has positive or abnormal genetic test results?
  6. When are new tests added to the donor qualification process?
  7. How can I find out what genetic tests were performed on the donors in which I am interested?
  8. Why doesn't California Cryobank test for all known genetic diseases?
  9. Can I request that my donor be tested for other genetic conditions?
  10. Should I inform California Cryobank if I have a family history of a particular genetic disorder?

General Genetics Information:

  1. Can genetic testing eliminate the risk for birth defects?
  2. What can I do to reduce the risk for birth defects in my child?
  3. Where can I obtain more information about genetic testing?
  4. What causes a miscarriage?

  1. Why does California Cryobank perform a genetic evaluation on donor applicants?
    Every woman has a 3 to 4% chance to have a child with a birth defect, regardless of whether she conceives naturally or uses assisted reproductive technologies. It is not possible to eliminate these risks or test for all of them before becoming pregnant. However, a genetic risk assessment is performed on California Cryobank's donor applicants as part of the donor qualification process. The goal of the risk assessment is to try to reduce the risk for significant medical problems in the donor's offspring. If a donor applicant is considered to have an increased risk for having offspring with birth defects, above the 3 to 4% risk in the general population, he is not eligible to participate in our anonymous donor program.
  2. How is a donor's family history information collected and verified?
    At California Cryobank we elicit medical information from donor applicants over several months from the time of their first contact with our company. Information is collected in multiple formats and by several different staff members and reviewed for consistency and accuracy. If we receive information that is incomplete or inconsistent, the applicant will be required to provide additional information to clarify his family history in order to continue with the program.
  3. What happens when new medical information is received about a donor or his offspring?
    The staff in our Genetics Department document all medical issues and updates received about a donor's personal or family medical history or an offspring's medical history.

    Donor Updates
    All donors are asked to inform us of changes in their personal or family medical histories that occur after they have retired from our program so that we can make this available to clients and donor-conceived persons for their medical records. The new information is not added to the donor's long profile because it is a static document representing the medical history of the donor at the time he entered our program.

    Offspring Updates
    All clients are asked to inform California Cryobank if their child or pregnancy fetus has a significant medical problem. One of our genetic counselors creates a confidential report and reviews the information along with all other medical history for that donor to determine the appropriate management. You can report a medical problem by calling our genetic counselors at 877-743-6384 or online here.

    In most cases, the medical information collected will not represent an increased risk for medical problems in the donor’s offspring. However, in the event that we receive information that indicates a specific risk for a medical problem in other offspring of that donor, we will attempt to contact clients to whom this information is relevant, as determined by the Medical Director. However, clients are welcome to contact the Genetics Department to learn of any updates on their donor at any time.

    It is very important for all clients to keep CCB informed of any changes in their contact information so that we can inform you about any significant medical information that could be relevant to your child's health. Please update your contact information by logging into your account or by calling our Client Services Department at 866-927-9622.

    It is also very important for all clients to inform California Cryobank of their pregnancy and of their child's birth. You can report your pregnancy or child's birth online. If you have any questions or would like to make a report over the phone, please contact our Client Services Team at 866-927-9622. All information received is strictly confidential.
  4. What genetic testing does California Cryobank currently perform on its donors?
    Expanded Genetic Testing

    DNA Advantage Donors are screened for over 260 genetic conditions, including cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

    Since the availability of genetic testing has changed over time, each donor has had different genetic testing. Please download and discuss your donor’s Genetic Test Summary (GTS) with your personal healthcare providers to verify that the donor is suitable for your needs.

    Still have more questions about expanded genetic testing? Visit our Expanded Genetic Testing FAQs.

    Chromosome Analysis
    Chromosomes are the structures that carry our DNA. A chromosome analysis looks at the number and the structure of an individual’s chromosomes. Typically, an analysis of human chromosomes reveals a total of 46 chromosomes. If a sperm donor applicant has an abnormal chromosome number or structure he would not be eligible to participate in our program.
  5. How does California Cryobank manage a donor if he has positive or abnormal genetic test results?
    All people carry mutations for disorders that are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. If a sperm donor is known to carry a mutation for one or more inherited disorders, this information is made available to all clients on the donor’s Genetic Test Summary (GTS). The donors’ offspring are not at risk to be affected with those conditions unless their biological mothers also carry mutations for the same condition.

    We strongly recommend that all recipients discuss their donor’s Genetic Test Summary with their healthcare providers prior to using that donor’s vials, in order to determine if the donor’s results are suitable for their personal reproductive plans.

    PLEASE NOTE: A normal or negative result indicates that the test did not detect any clinically significant genetic mutations or abnormalities for those specific conditions. Genetic testing can reduce the chance for specific inherited conditions in a donor’s offspring but it cannot eliminate the risks for those specific disorders or other untested conditions. In addition, there is always a 3 to 4% chance to have a child with a medical issue, regardless of the screening performed.
  6. When are new tests added to the donor qualification process?
    Genetic tests and technologies are continuously being developed and improved. These new developments may lead to changes in the genetic testing that we perform on our sperm donor applicants. In most cases when we add new genetic tests to our screening process, the tests are performed on new donor applicants. The new tests are not performed on retired donors. Therefore, not every donor who has vials available for purchase has had exactly the same genetic testing.
  7. How can I find out what genetic tests were performed on the donors in which I am interested?
    A Genetic Test Summary tells you which specific tests were performed on a donor and the results of those tests. You can learn more about the information on a GTS here or by contacting one of our genetic counselors. Our genetic counselors are available to discuss the tests performed on your donor as well as the test limitations and additional testing options that you may want to consider. For more information please contact the Genetics Department at 877-743-6384.
  8. Why doesn't California Cryobank test for all known genetic diseases?
    It is not possible to test anyone for all possible genetic diseases. There are thousands of inherited disorders, and the causes of many of these conditions are currently unknown.
  9. Can I request that my donor be tested for other genetic conditions?
    Special requests for genetic testing are accommodated whenever possible. If you have a family history or carry a mutation for a particular condition and there is a medical risk to your offspring, we will contact your donor and determine if he is available for additional testing. For more information, please contact the Genetics Department at 877-743-6384. Please see our Special Testing Information Sheet for more details.
  10. Should I inform California Cryobank if I have a family history of a particular genetic disorder?
    Yes! In some cases, if you have a personal or family history of a genetic condition, the genetic testing performed on our donors may not be sufficient for your pregnancy. Special testing may be available on your donor of interest. If you have a positive genetic test result or a family history of a genetic disease, please contact our Genetics Department at 877-743-6384 to obtain information about special testing options that may be available for your situation.
  11. Can genetic testing eliminate the risk for birth defects?
    No. While it is not possible to test any one person for every genetic disorder, genetic testing is performed on our donor applicants for numerous genetic disorders. The genetic testing helps to identify risks or reduce the risk for specific disorders in the donors' offspring but cannot eliminate the risks.
  12. What can I do to reduce the risk for birth defects in my child?
    Although we screen our donors to help reduce the risk for medical issues in donor offspring, it is important for all clients to speak with their physician and/or genetic counselor about their own family histories. A child inherits 50% of his or her DNA from each parent. Many clients may not know that they have an increased risk to have a child with medical problems unless they have a thorough family history evaluation. CCB recommends that all clients meet with a genetic counselor to evaluate their own family medical histories and discuss genetic testing options that are appropriate for their needs. You can locate a genetic counselor in your area at www.nsgc.org.
  13. Where can I obtain more information about genetic testing?
    For more information please contact our Genetics Department at 877-743-6384.
  14. What causes a miscarriage?
    A miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that occurs within the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy. Unfortunately, miscarriages are very common. It is estimated that 20% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. There are many factors that may contribute to a pregnancy loss including genetic factors, health of the mother, and lifestyle. Chromosome abnormalities are a common cause of miscarriage. They usually occur just by chance in the developing pregnancy and are not inherited from either parent. Often, the cause of a miscarriage is unknown.

    You may learn that another client experienced a miscarriage of a pregnancy that was conceived using semen specimens from your donor. This does not mean that you will also experience a miscarriage if you use semen specimens from that donor. Each woman has a different experience with pregnancy. While one woman may have a loss, another woman may have a successful pregnancy using the same donor. Your health, age, uterine structure, and many other factors, which are all specific to you and your pregnancy are not the same as any other woman who uses specimens of that same donor. Therefore, another woman's experience with a pregnancy from one of our donors should not be a factor in determining whether or not you should also use specimens from that donor for your own pregnancy.

    For more information about miscarriage, please see the March of Dimes website.

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National averages range from 3-4 insemination cycles per successful pregnancy. We recommend purchasing at least 5 vials per child to guarantee your donor remains available until reaching your personal family goals. Additionally, you get 1 Year FREE storage if you purchase 4 or more vials ($475 value).

WHY SHOULD I THINK ABOUT STORING VIALS?

Our donors sell out and retire quickly! We have thousands of clients forced to choose between a new donor or not having a second child because they chose not to store vials for future use while they were available. To help you plan for your future, we offer 3 Years FREE storage if you purchase 3 Years+ vials ($1,050 value) - as well as the ability to sell back any unused vials that have not left our control.

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