Yes, we are tough on screening sperm donors

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Having a donor child is one of the safest ways to have a child. Even so, we must always embrace the fact that we are dealing with nature – and therefore our own imperfect genes.

Nordic Cryobank, who handles European Sperm Bank’s sperm donor related matters, was yesterday fully acquitted in a pivotal court case held before the Danish Eastern High Court. 


Nordic Cryobank was accused of not screening a specific donor for a very rare disease and the case went to court – despite full support and acknowledgement of Nordic Cryobank’s procedures from both the Danish Board of Health and the Danish Ministry of Justice’s Forensic Medicine Council.

But why write about this in this blog? 
Well, because the nature of the court case touches upon the inherent basics of making a baby – both under ‘natural’ circumstances and with sperm from a donor: can we ever be 100 percent sure that our coming child does not have a disease?

​First of all, it is important to state that having a child with donor sperm is safe. Actually even more safe than through ‘normal’ reproduction due to the extensive screening and medical examinations that all our sperm donors go through. 

Second, it is equally important that we realise, that we all have little faults in our genes; that there simply is no such thing as a perfect man or a perfect woman – and that we therefore, when we opt for having children, always must embrace the natural fact that there is a risk, even if ever so slight.

But even though it is extremely rare that sperm donors turn out to be the cause of a condition in a donor child, we of course take it on us be extra careful and extremely vigilant when we screen our sperm donors. 

Because even if we from nature know that it is not possible to completely remove all imperfections, we know that we are able to rule out most serious diseases and conditions through testing and thorough screening. 

So, in fewer words, yes, we are tough on screening our sperm donors.

As always, if you have any questions whatsoever on our sperm donors, our screening processes and other donor-related issues, you can find an abundance of information on our website or you can call or email us at any time.

//posted by Adam, ​communications advisor to European Sperm Bank

Age is not the only factor – Improve your fertility

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By Nanna Stigel, nutritionist and fertility expert.

In these times and most recently the last weeks, the Danish media has reported on the fact that infertility has become somewhat of a “national disease”, and again age was to blame as the great fertility killer. Not without reason.
But there is are a lot you can do to strengthen your fertility.

Age is the major factor, but it is not the only one
It is worrying to give all women over the age of 35 the impression that it is no longer possible for them to become pregnant without infertility treatment. Not only does it put a great amount of stress on them, which in itself may have a negative affect the fertility, it also ignores the fact that there are many things that you can do to boost your fertility!


​Fertility is a complex field to study. Almost every part of one’s body and lifestyle should – in my opinion – be taken into consideration: diet, general lifestyle, medical history, potential lack of nutrition, environmental impact and stress level.
It all matters. The essential point is that many of these factors that affect fertility can be changed to the better.

Start by helping yourself
Here is a list of some thing you should consider if you want to improve fertility:

  1. Eat fertile, clean and unprocessed food. In combination, clean food stabilises blood sugar and are full of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. Eat as organic as possible.
  2. Exercise balanced. Excessive work-out or not working out at all is a no-go. My favorite is fertility yoga which can be done at home or with a trained yoga teacher. Find the type of work-out that works for you and don’t overdo it.
  3. Avoid fertility-stealers.  These include alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, endocrine disruptions and pesticides.
  4. Important daily supplements. Zinc, d-vitamin, selenium, folate as well as B12 and B6 are good for you.
  5. Identify the obstacles. Try to identify the imbalance which may be casuing your infertility; this refers to e.g. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, overweight and obesity as well as underweight.

If you have already been declared “unwillingly childless” or infertile, there is still a possibility that unregulated balances in your body can be a major reason. Be aware of any lack of certain nutritions, hormonal imbalances, undiscovered food allergies or intolerances or maybe even general problems with your digestive system. 

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About the author
Nanna Ewald Stigel, M.A and nutritional therapist. She has her own practice and teaches
fertility at the CET Center in Copenhagen. She is also a trained fertility yoga teacher,
​Foresight Practioner and specialises in holistic fertility treatment.

Curious for more information? 
If you are familiar with the Danish language, you can visit Nanna Stigel at her website nannastigel.dk or blivgravid.nu.
Don’t speak Danish? Then you’re welcome to connect Nanna Stigel directly by email


Can you please give me a baby?

PictureRikke and her son (photo: Carsten Bundgaard)

Many women have babies on their own. Rikke Mønster from Copenhagen is one of them, and she shares her journey from getting the idea to giving birth with us right here.

“My name is Rikke. I am 42 and live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It all started at a friend’s birthday party 6 years ago, when one of the other guests, whom I had known since the 5th grade suddenly said that she’d chosen to be a single mother and have a baby with the help of a sperm donor.
Without thinking, I heard myself say: “Me too!” This was in August of 2010 and by September 2011, I gave birth to my wonderful boy.


Can you please give me a baby?
I had no idea where to start, so I called my doctor and asked him if he could please give me a baby. The line went quiet – I could almost see my poor doctor desperately trying to make sense of what I had just said. Quickly, I explained to him what I meant, and we talked about how to approach this. He had never before had a patient who wished to be inseminated, but a week later he asked me to come by for a few tests. After that, he referred me to the fertility unit at a Herlev hospital near Copenhagen, where they performed more tests, which were not all that comfortable.  

What to choose?
During the process, I talked a lot with my friend, who initially planted the idea in my head. We discussed how to choose a sperm donor: What criteria to look for? Whether he should be an open or non-contact donor?
My friend chose an open donor, but I was not sure. I did not know when I was supposed to tell my child that he or she could get in touch with the donor: If I waited, would I be lying? If I told her or him from the start, would he or she spend too much time thinking and worrying about it? And if my child wanted to meet the donor, what if he was dead? Or lived too close by? 
I did not know how to answer all those questions and I did not know how I would handle these situations. And I believe that you have to make the decision that is right for you – so I chose a non-contact donor. 

At the clinic, I was asked if I had any preferences regarding e.g. height, hair colour, so they could order an appropriate sperm donor from the sperm bank
I chose a sperm donor with very regular features, but with darker hair and eyes, hoping that he would level out my very pale skin, hoping that my child would not be as sensible to sunlight as me – I cannot even look at the weather report without getting a sun burn. 

Fingers crossed
Before my first insemination in September, the clinic had asked me to give myself hormone injections, which I had done. But when the day came, my eggs were gone, and all I could do was go home and start over. I made a new appointment in late November without the hormone injections and I crossed fingers and toes that it would work this time, so I would not have go home and wait again.
This time, my eggs were fine and the insemination went well. The doctor told me, that if the insemination did not take, we would try again with hormones in January. I told him not to worry about it, because I was already pregnant. I just knew it!

And I was!! I had my wonderful and very pale skinned baby boy the following September, and I could not be happier!”

Want more?
 If you want, you can read more articles about Rikke (in Danish) in Mama.dk and Eurowoman.dk

Remember:
At European Sperm Bank we are thinking about the future – the future of you and your child. If, like Rikke, you have doubts about any decision along the way, you can always call ur or send an e-mail. We are right here!

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

What is MOT?

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If you are already in fertility treatment you most certainly have heard about MOT.
MOT is short for “Motile Total”, which is the way to express how many sperm cells are healthy and moving in a forward direction. 

MOT is counted in millions per milliliter. This means that MOT20 equals 20 million healthy sperm cells per milliliter.


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The donor sperm is frozen in straws. A straw is a tiny tube with sperm inside. ​Straws are made specifically for safe cryo storage of human sperm in liquid nitrogen and nitrogen vapour. Each straw of donor sperm from European Sperm Bank used for insemination contains 0,5 milliliters.

​It happens on a daily basis that people call us and ask what MOT our donors have. The answer is simple: To ensure the best quality, all our units (both ICI and IUI) are MOT20+, meaning that we ensure a minimum of 10 million healthy sperm cells per straw. This is our way to ensure, that you have the best conditions to achieve a pregnancy.


​​Is this super sperm from super donors?
Our sperm donors are regular, healthy men with an extraordinary good sperm quality. Only 5-7 % of all our donor applicants are accepted into the program after a through screening. They may look ordinary, but what makes them stand out, is their sperm quality and their wish to help those who need it. For us, that makes them super!

Read more about MOT


//posted by Lilian, Nurse and Donor Coordinator at European Sperm Bank