Sperm Donation and Sex Selection

Sperm donation makes it possible for couples that have male fertility problems to conceive using sperm from a donor. The sperm is collected from donors that are screened before they donate, and then couples may buy sperm vials that can be used during an artificial insemination procedure. Some couples would also like to select the gender of the child. Sex selection is possible in a number of banks in the US, but this procedure is considered illegal in several countries including the UK.

Sperm Donation

Sperm donation is a popular procedure that is used to assist artificial insemination procedures. The sperm will come from donors that are screened prior to donation. The donors have to be in good health and must not be infected with the HIV virus or have any genetic predisposition to different diseases. The sperm is frozen and stored.

The couples who choose sperm banks or agencies may have the choice of knowing the donor or simply opt for an anonymous donor. The couple may have preferences regarding the race or the appearance of the donor or may also want to choose the sex of their future child.

Sex Selection

Sex selection is a procedure that can be done before or after the conception of the baby and is chosen by certain couples that would like either a boy or a girl.

The sex selection before the conception of the baby may be made by picking the sperm based on its chromosome information.

Gender Selection in Sperm Banks

There are a few sperm banks that will allow couples to select the gender of the child for an additional fee. This can be done as the sperm will be screened and there will be chromosome information about the sperm.

However, this may not guarantee that the child will be of the selected gender, but there are high chances that the child will be a boy or a girl, as the couple has selected.

Sperm Chromosome Information Retrieval and Selection Methods

The chromosome information of the sperm may be retrieved immediately after the sperm is collected through the swim up method. This method is performed by allowing the sperm to stay in the tube for 30 minutes, interval during which the Y chromosomes are supposed to swim up towards the top of the recipient. The X chromosomes are heavier and should settle at the bottom of the recipient. The sperm will be then separated.

There is another method that may be used to distinguish between X and Y chromosomes in the sperm. This is known as the Percoll Method. It is similar to the swim up method, but the sperm will be placed inside a centrifuge which will mix the sperm before this is allowed to settle.

Flow cytometry (FCM) is also a method to differentiate between the X and Y chromosomes in the sperm. FCM will release the sperm into a fluid and passing the fluid through a detection machine that will detect the Xs and the Ys.

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