Forum Connections

The CLI Family Forum is a wonderful place to go for support and questions. It is made up of a fun group of people in various stages of their journey to building their family.

Check out some of these great topics!

I need to choose the sperm today (last chance for various reasons) but am so confused as to whether or not have a CMV positive donor.

“We are potentially looking for a frozen embryo donation. IVF with a donated egg looks like one of our last options. We’re quite saddened by this, and also at the rising costs of this “maybe baby”.”

“I am going to be doing IUI with donor sperm in the near future. My husband and I chose this route after he had 2 failed vasectomy reversals. We hope to conceive this winter with a donor from CLI. I would love to connect and share my journey with others that are going through a similar situation.”

CLI Blog smallJoin the Family Forums for even more great interaction and topics.

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ASRM Information on Embryo Donation

From the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) fact sheet on Embryo Donation.

 ”What is embryo donation?

In the current practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF), some patients may create more embryos (fertilized eggs) than they need. The extra embryos may be cryopreserved (frozen) so that they can be transferred later. However, sometimes these embryos may not be used. These patients have the option to have their embryos discarded, donated to research or donated to another woman to achieve pregnancy.

Who receives donated embryos?

The use of donated embryos may be considered by women with untreatable infertility that involves both partners, untreatable infertility in a single woman, recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to the embryo, and genetic disorders affecting one or both partners.

What are the legal implications of donor embryo usage?

Recipients should seek legal counsel from a lawyer specializing in family issues. This lawyer should be familiar with state laws regarding parentage of transferred embryos during pregnancy and after birth. Where there is little legal precedent regarding the use of donor embryos, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that the recipient accept full responsibility for the transferred embryo(s) and resulting children.

ASRM also recommends that the recipient release the donors and the assisted reproduction program from any and all liability from any potential complications of the pregnancies, congenital abnormalities, heritable diseases, or other complications of the embryo donation.

How successful is embryo donation at achieving pregnancy?

Success rates with embryo donation depend on the quality of the embryos at the time that they were frozen, the age of the woman who provided the eggs and the number of embryos transferred.”

CLI Blog smallASRM is an excellent resource for reproductive facts. Please check out their patient resources website at http://www.reproductivefacts.org/.

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Fun Stuff in Sperm Donor World

Picking the perfect donor can be stressful. The cost of medical bills for insemination can be overwhelming. The timing of cycles is often confusing. Try to relax and take a break by engaging in some fun things on the CLI website.

Blood Type Predictor: There are tables on this page that help determine the most likely blood types of offspring born to parents with the blood types listed.

Birthday Calculator: Enter the date of your insemination for the approximate birthday of your child.

Share Your Story: Take a few minutes to share your amazing journey into parenthood with CLI. We love to hear from you!

Resource List: Check out some great books suggestions for all different family dynamics.

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Sperm Banking Background Fundamentals – Transfer of Ownership

What is a Transfer of Ownership?

Patients who have Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc. (CLI) semen samples stored onsite with CLI are able to transfer their samples into another person’s name for use by participating in what we call a Transfer of Ownership.  This allows CLI to properly track the owners of our semen samples to ensure that we are able to closely monitor the number of Family Units for each donor.  This also allows us to create a letter for a second parent adoption for our patients as are commonly requested.  In addition, new owners of vials will receive medical updates as their contact information is now in our system.

How does a Transfer of Ownership work for vials stored at CLI?

  • Current owner completes the Transfer of Ownership for
  • Transfer of Ownership form must be notarized
  • New owner completes the Acceptance of Ownership form
  • Payment of a $300 transfer fee
  • New owner completes the Billing Agreement and Donor Semen Storage Client Agreement
  • All documents and payment returned to CLI in one package
  •  Upon receipt of the documents, we will begin the Transfer of Ownership and send update storage letters to confirm completion of your transfer.
  • The new owner will then set up a storage account for the new vials.
  • The vials will then be ready to ship on request.

CLI Blog smallFor more information about transfer of ownership for donors with Sibling Only options or for vials stored at your clinic, please visit our website HERE.

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Sperm Banking Background Fundamentals – Donor Information & Anonymity

The following background information on sperm banking was prepared by and agreed upon by the leading companies in the industry. Its purpose is to provide basic information about some of the key elements of a sperm bank’s operations and influence, and to further understanding by providing accurate and consistent information.

Donor Information: As part of the screening process to determine donor eligibility, sperm banks gather a great deal of family (3 generations) and personal medical history. In addition, while donating, donors are given physical examinations every six months, and are also tested for a wide array of infectious diseases at least every six months. Most sperm banks also perform chromosome analysis (karyotype) and test for many common genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis in the general population, and genetic conditions common to certain ethnic groups (e.g., sickle cell trait for African Americans). Donors are interviewed extensively to check for consistency and accuracy of reported information. In addition to the screening and testing of donors used to establish medical eligibility to donate, sperm banks also offer other “soft” information on its donors such as childhood photos, personality tests, audio interviews, staff impressions, and personal profiles. It has been said that the amount of medical and personal information on an anonymous donor greatly exceeds the knowledge most people have of a known partner.

Donor Anonymity: The maintenance of donor anonymity is essential to the availability and quality of donors. There are those who believe that the identity of all donors should be known, and such disclosure is, in fact, required in a number of countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. But the consequence of this requirement has been a severe shortage of donors, since most donors do not want to be known. However, the industry is sensitive to the desire by some for “known” donors as an alternative to anonymous donors. Consequently, now most of the major sperm banks offer donors who have agreed to have their identities disclosed to their offspring at age eighteen. Interestingly, known donors are not selected disproportionately more than anonymous donors. Since it is clear that many want their donors to remain anonymous, sperm banks do not think it is wise to destroy the anonymous status for ALL donors. To do so would breach the contracts and representations made to donors and to those who selected an anonymous donor, and eliminate for a large segment of potential users of sperm donors the much wanted option to select a forever anonymous donor. Read CLI’s Privacy Policy.

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Sperm Banking Background Fundamentals – Statistics & Limitations

The following background information on sperm banking was prepared by and agreed upon by the leading companies in the industry. Its purpose is to provide basic information about some of the key elements of a sperm bank’s operations and influence, and to further understanding by providing accurate and consistent information.

Statistics: The popular press often cites the number of anonymous donor inseminated births per year at 30,000. Although no industry-wide statistics are maintained, an unpublished survey conducted by the AATB suggests that a more accurate figure would be 4,000 to 5,000 donor inseminated births per year. (This is calculated based on 1.5 vials per insemination, a 10% pregnancy rate per cycle, and a 20% spontaneous miscarriage rate.) By extrapolating this annual figure, the total number of anonymous donor inseminated births is estimated to be less than 130,000 over the last 30 years.

Limitations on Donor Distribution: All surveyed sperm banks use some type of standard to limit the number of births attributable to any one donor. Some use the actual number of births while others use the number of family units. CLI’s policy is as follows: CLI limits the total number of births for any donor based on the application of several criteria. Specifically, a donor’s sales will cease when either of the following criteria is reached: (1) Maximum of 25-30 family units (children from the same donor living in one home) reported within the U.S.; OR (2) Total number of units sold reaches our designated limit (actual numbers are not disclosed). In addition, we also monitor the reported location of births and limit the geographic distribution of a donor consistent with the guideline of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Notwithstanding the standard used to limit the number of births per donor, sperm banks do not limit the number of births within a family unit, thereby permitting full siblings via donor insemination.

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Sperm Banking Background Fundamentals- Regulations

The following background information on sperm banking was prepared by and agreed upon by the leading companies in the industry. Its purpose is to provide basic information about some of the key elements of a sperm bank’s operations and influence, and to further understanding by providing accurate and consistent information.

Regulation: Sperm banking, which includes the screening and testing of sperm donors, is an increasingly regulated activity. Effective on May 25, 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commenced its regulation of reproductive tissue banks (21 CFR Part 1271). The FDA’s regulatory focus includes standards for the screening and testing of donors and proper record keeping procedures. Since these regulations became effective, all major sperm banks have been audited for compliance by the FDA through on-site inspections. FDA inspections will be performed on a continuing basis.

In addition to federal regulation, most major sperm banks are also licensed and inspected by several states, particularly New York, California, and Maryland. Licensing by state agencies began as early as 1992.

Although not having the force of law, sperm banks also have conducted operations consistent with the guidelines and/or standards of professional organizations such as the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).

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Notwithstanding the regulatory oversight of government agencies and professional associations, most sperm banks have exercised self-regulation consistent with the highest medical and ethical standards. In fact, most major sperm banks were performing more than all the tests required by the FDA several years prior to the FDA’s effective date, and with greater frequency than required by the FDA and other regulatory agencies.

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How to Choose a Sperm Donor

Blog written by Joseph D. Schulman, M.D. Founder, Genetics & IVF Institute

Choosing a sperm donor is a very important decision, and everyone brings their own perspectives to this challenge. With many years of experience caring for patients with problems in reproduction and medical genetics, I hope to help you reach the final donor decision that is right for you. I will also explain why only a small minority of men are able to meet the difficult requirements for being sperm donors at CLI.

It is essential to maximize safety from the risks of inadvertent transmission of an infectious disease. Only frozen donor sperm should be used, and then only if the sperm samples have been quarantined and the donor fully retested several months after the sperm was obtained to exclude infectious diseases. Using fresh sperm always carries some risk that the donor may have been exposed to HIV or other diseases so recently that it would not produce abnormalities on concurrent laboratory testing. From the inception of its donor sperm program in the 1980s, CLI has consistently provided only frozen, quarantined donor sperm which is cleared for sale only after the donor has had extensive initial infectious disease testing followed by retesting after a long quarantine period. You can have complete confidence that every dose of frozen sperm sold by CLI and its affiliates meets this rigorous safety standard.

Another important safety consideration is minimizing the risk of transmission of a genetic disease to the child. We have pioneered for many years in genetic disease prevention. Our Cryobank is the only major bank which has full-time medical geneticists and genetic counselors on its staff to carefully screen potential donors for any family history or clinical manifestations of genetic illnesses. Furthermore, all donor candidates undergo the most extensive battery of genetic tests of any sperm bank, and all results are reviewed by our own genetics professionals. While the risk of genetic disease transmission can never be completely excluded, you can be confident that acquiring sperm from CLI guarantees that this serious donor risk factor is reduced to the lowest level available anywhere.

There is much misunderstanding about the importance of inheritance in determining the kind of child which will result from the contribution of its biological father. Each egg and sperm contains half the genes of the respective parent, and thus the child shares half its genes with each parent – but only half. There is no way to determine which genetic attributes will be inherited by a specific individual until after conception, when in special cases genetic testing on the embryo, fetus, or child can provide useful information. Thus children to some extent resemble their parents, but the resemblance is far from complete. The genetic connection to siblings also involves sharing half of one’s genes. Siblings typically are far from identical in most characteristics – but they nevertheless tend to resemble one another more than would two randomly selected, unrelated people.

How much does genetic inheritance really matter in determining what kind of person one becomes? Optimizing the environment, broadly defined to include good nutrition, parental love, excellent educational opportunities, and more will of course help each child reach its full potential. But there is extensive evidence that this potential is heavily influenced by inheritance. The best proof comes from long-term studies of identical twins – who are genetically identical – but who have been separated near the time of birth and thereafter reared apart. A definitive summary of research on identical twins reared apart has recently been compiled by Nancy L. Segal, Ph.D., in her book “Born Together – Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study”. The fundamental conclusion from decades of research is that the life patterns, accomplishments, intelligence, and appearance of identical twin pairs, who in many cases never met again until very advanced ages, are amazingly similar. So genetics matters a great deal in determining who we are and what we will become in childhood and adult life. Most scientists now recognize that intelligence is at least 50% determined by inheritance, and many would place that number closer to 70%. Such traits as musical ability, artistic talent, athletic aptitude, and many more are also partly genetic.

For this reason, we recommend that even allowing for the variability in inheritance of specific genes from biological parents, significant thought be given to choosing a sperm donor who has the qualities that one might like to see in one’s child. There is no guarantee that a specific quality will indeed be expressed in the child, but there is a greater likelihood of it occurring than if this is not factored into the decision about which donor to use. This is why our Cryobank donor pool is very carefully selected not only to exclude detectable propensities to adverse traits but very importantly to include positive attributes widely desired by many parents. We exclude donors with histories or evidence of alcohol or drug abuse, negative behavioral characteristics, manic depressive illness or schizophrenia, and potentially heritable physical limitations. We utilize donors who are college students or who may have advanced degrees (including doctoral degrees) providing evidence of substantial intelligence. Detailed information about the talents, interests, attributes, and appearance of our donors is available, and specific additional information is available to you upon request. Our goal is to ensure that you are able to choose from an exceptionally large number of sperm donors who are high quality people.

Lastly, it is important to note that the large majority of donor candidates who meet all the above standards for infectious and genetic safety and who have admirable characteristics are nevertheless rejected as donors at CLI. It is an unexplained biological fact that the sperm of most men does not freeze well. Thus while fresh sperm from most men easily initiates pregnancies, only a small minority produce sperm which can be frozen, stored, and thawed before use and still retain the exceptional viability and vitality needed to produce pregnancies at a high rate.

In the final analysis, when you choose sperm from one of our donors you are selecting among potential biological fathers who have been very, very carefully interviewed, screened, and tested to meet all the necessary requirements for being an outstanding sperm donor. Less than 1% of all donor applicants are successfully accepted as donors at CLI. We have found these donors through considerable effort based on an understanding of the strong importance of the various issues discussed in this article. We wish you good luck in your choice of the best donor for you.

CLI BlogWe are here to help, and if any additional information on any of our donors is important to you we shall do our utmost to provide it. Just call 800-466-2796. We are confident you will find what you need at Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc.

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What is Infertility?

From the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) fact sheet on Defining Infertility.

What is infertility?

Infertility is “the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.” This means that a couple is not able to become pregnant after a year of trying. However, for women aged 35 and older, inability to conceive after 6 months is generally considered infertility.

How common is it?

Infertility affects 10%-15% of couples. This makes it one of the most common diseases for people between the ages of 20 and 45. In addition, the longer a woman tries to get pregnant without conceiving, the lower are her chances to get pregnant without medical treatment. Most (85%) couples with normal fertility will conceive within a year of trying. If a couple doesn’t conceive in the first year, their chance of conceiving gets lower each month. This happens more quickly as the woman gets older.

What can cause infertility?

Age: A woman’s age can have a big effect on her ability to have a baby, especially as she enters her 30s and 40s. For a healthy woman in her 20s or early 30s, the chances of conceiving each month is 25%-30%. But by the time a woman is 40 years old, the chances are 10% or less.

Ovulation Problems

If a woman doesn’t ovulate (release an egg) about once a month, she may have trouble getting pregnant. Problems like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disease, and other hormonal disorders can affect ovulation and lead to infertility. Women who don’t have regular menstrual periods often don’t ovulate. Women who are overweight or underweight are more likely to have problems with ovulation than women of normal body weight. These women might want to see a doctor who specializes in fertility (reproductive endocrinologist) in the first year of trying to get pregnant.

Damaged or Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Fallopian tubes are the tubes attached to the uterus where the sperm and egg usually meet. Blocked or damaged tubes can cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus). The chances of having blocked tubes are higher in women who have or have had endometriosis, surgery in the pelvis, or sexually transmitted infections (like gonorrhea or chlamydia). Women who are concerned about the health of their tubes should discuss this with their doctor early in the process of trying to get pregnant.

CLI Blog smallASRM is an excellent resource for reproductive facts. Please check out their patient resources website at http://www.reproductivefacts.org/.

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FAQs about Specimen Freezing, Storing & Shipping

How are specimens stored?

All semen specimens are stored at -196o C in liquid nitrogen tanks equipped with automatic fill devices and alarm systems. CLI also provides liquid nitrogen transport tanks for shipping patient specimens to their physician or health care provider when requested for use.

How long can you store frozen sperm?

Cryopreserved specimens, when properly stored, will remain viable for an indefinite amount of time. Pregnancies have been reported for cases in which the sperm has been stored for 20 years prior to thawing and insemination.

Is the freezing process harmful to the sperm cells?

Approximately 50% or more of the sperm cells survive the freezing/thawing process. The fertilization capability of the surviving sperm cells is not jeopardized during the freezing/thawing process.

How are the sperm specimens shipped?

All of our specimens are shipped in liquid nitrogen vapor tanks via FedEx, local courier, or local patient pick up. The liquid nitrogen vapor tank is inside of a hard outer case for FedEx orders and a cardboard box for local orders.  The inner canister (vapor tank) is fastened using a cable tie to prevent tampering. Shipping papers are contained inside the outer case which contains a packing slip with the following information about your order: your health care provider’s name and address, your name and address, your donor number and specimen preparation, number of vials, and post thaw count and motility for each units. Also included are a summary of records detailing the donor testing and a statement of donor eligibility, specimen thawing instructions, return instructions and prepaid return labels.

Do you ship sperm specimens on dry ice?

No, Fairfax Cryobank stores all of its specimens in liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of -196 degrees centigrade. Dry ice has a temperature of -78.5 degrees centigrade that is far below the temperature in which we store specimens and can result in a partial thaw process that is detrimental to the quality of the samples. For this reason CLI does not ship samples on dry ice.

How long are the specimens maintained frozen in the shipping tanks?

Our standard shipping tanks have a guarantee of 7 days. Upon request and for an additional fee we can send your specimens in a 2 week tank in which the vials are guaranteed frozen for 14 days.

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