Sperm (ejaculate) is a body fluid that has a viscous structure, a light gray, milky hue and a characteristic odor.
The composition of semen includes directly spermatozoa and seminal fluid, which ensures their mobility.
Sperm is a substance secreted only by the representatives of the stronger sex, i.e. men and male animals.
The composition of sperm and the features of its synthesis
For the first time, the formation of sperm in the male genital organs begins in adolescence, during puberty. At first, its amount is small, but over the years it increases, reaching a maximum concentration by middle age. In old age, the amount of ejaculate decreases again, but the man still remains fertile.
When sexual intercourse is completed, a small amount of ejaculate is released – about three grams. The number of sperm in such a dose of ejaculate can be from 20 to 80 million (the longer a man has not ejaculated, the more sperm accumulate in it), but this is only 3% of the total ejaculate.
The rest of the semen is the seminal fluid necessary for the free movement of sperm through the male and female genital tract.
Also, seminal fluid contains additional substances and trace elements. These include various acids, cholesterol, DNA, B vitamins, urea, ions, etc. All these components make sperm a very useful and healing product, used not only for conception.
The main components of sperm and their characteristics
The basis of sperm is sperm or spermatozoa. It is thanks to them that the function of procreation is performed. In addition to fertilizing the egg, sperm also have another equally important function – they carry and store hereditary information. Moreover, sperm, like eggs, have a half set of chromosomes, only 23, unlike all other cells of the body, consisting of a complete set (46 chromosomes). One of these chromosomes is responsible for the sex of the unborn child, which means that the sex of the baby depends on which spermatozoon with which sex chromosome first reaches the egg.
On the basis of spermatozoa research, theories of planning the sex of the child are being built today. Since “male” sperm are more active, but have a shorter lifespan, to conceive a boy, you should actively have sex during the period of ovulation.
And in order to conceive a girl, it is better to have sexual intercourse a few days before the release of the egg from the follicle. Female sperm live longer, but they are less mobile. If sexual intercourse took place 2-3 days before ovulation, “female” sperm will have time to “get” to the fallopian tubes without losing their vitality.
But in order for the spermatozoa to be able to perform their main function, they must not only be healthy and complete, but also move freely.
Such movement is provided by the seminal fluid, which must have a complete and balanced composition of acids, peptides, trace elements, and also have a certain level of acidity. If this composition is violated, fertilization may not occur.
There are several factors that prevent a man from reproducing healthy and high-grade offspring. A person may have problems with potency, maturation of spermatozoa or a decrease in their activity.
Often, due to an imbalance in the seminal fluid, fertilization does not occur or the child has a chance to be born with pathologies. In this case, couples can seek medical help to eliminate these factors.
If the treatment fails and the man is still diagnosed with infertility, couples resort to artificial insemination and sperm donor services.
What is sperm donation
Today, in large institutions and clinics dealing with reproductive issues , there are special programs aimed at conceiving a child from donors.
This helps to become parents to those people and couples who, for a number of reasons, are not able to cope with this process on their own.
Thanks to artificial insemination, thousands of families and single women have been able to hug their long-awaited baby, cope with genetic diseases or other potentially dangerous ailments that could be inherited.
In order to conceive a child artificially, two conditions must be met – a couple with problems with conception should go to the clinic, and a healthy man should become a sperm donor.
You can become a donor not only in special centers, but also in other medical laboratories, government agencies and clinics, the main activity of which is aimed at treating the reasons for the absence of pregnancy.
In such facilities, semen is not only collected, but also stored in accordance with strict rules and regulations. The collected liquid forms the so-called “sperm bank” – these are special cryostorages in which male germ cells are stored in a certain way. The best and most prestigious repositories are human sperm banks located in the United States of America and Denmark.
fertility clinics in every European country, and which specialists to contact is the personal choice of a person who wants to become a donor or a woman who wants to conceive a baby.
After the sperm is collected, it goes through a two-stage freezing procedure. Not much seminal fluid is needed for storage – just one milliliter. Different containers are used for storage: these can be test tubes, special straws or plastic bags. All containers are absolutely sterile and hermetically sealed, which ensures the correct storage conditions and high quality of the ejaculate.
Once the male germ cells are frozen, the seminal container is dipped into a special container containing liquid nitrogen. This container is called a Dewar vessel . Further, the sperm spends six months in this container until the quarantine period has passed.
After six months, the liquid can be used for artificial insemination. Before becoming a sperm donor, a man must undergo a series of medical examinations and pass tests that confirm that he is absolutely healthy and can give good offspring.
Most often, a man undergoes such tests and examinations at his own expense, but for the delivery of seminal fluid he receives a monetary reward.
Who can use donor material
Each person has their own reason why he or she cannot become parents. Then such men and women turn to reproductive centers , which can help to cope with this problem.
Most often, single women who want to become mothers resort to the services of such clinics, but do not have a husband, a permanent sexual partner, or simply a “worthy candidate” for the position of the father of their child. Using the services of donors, you can be sure that a healthy man capable of producing good offspring will become the father of the baby.
The next category of people applying to these institutions are men who want to become a sperm donor and receive a monetary reward for this. Couples need the services of reproductive specialists, in which one of the partners has problems with conception, ejaculation (in men) or is simply infertile.
In such clinics and centers, you can undergo a full range of medical examinations that will help determine the causes that lead to infertility in the future, especially if men and women have had characteristic diseases of the reproductive system or surgical operations.
There are situations when, with good potency and ejaculation, pregnancy does not occur, then IVF can also be indicated. If for some reason the partner cannot be present at the clinic on the day on which the fertilization procedure is scheduled, he can donate sperm in advance.
Donor sperm is used by those couples in whose genetic code there are certain violations that lead to serious illnesses and developmental abnormalities in the unborn baby. The use of someone else’s biomaterial helps to solve this problem.
Requirements for donors of seminal fluid
Not every man can become a sperm donor. Only healthy men aged 18 to 35 are allowed to donate biomaterial. These representatives of the stronger sex should not have unhealthy habits: the use of drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc.
In many clinics, there is one more requirement – a man should not belong to representatives of sexual minorities, since there is a theory that certain genes are responsible for homosexuality.
After a man has made a decision to become a donor, he submits an application for the delivery of biomaterial and receives a list of tests and examinations that he needs to undergo. The mandatory list of medical tests includes testing for sexually transmitted infections, human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis and hepatitis. You also need to be examined by a psychiatrist and take a karyotype test (genetic study). The future donor submits a spermogram , based on the results of which it is possible to draw a conclusion about the number of healthy and full-fledged sperm in the seminal fluid of a man.
Unlike a normal patient, sperm donors should have higher sperm counts. So, the volume of seminal fluid released should be at least two ml during ejaculation, and the number of sperm in it should be at least 80 million (whereas in an ordinary person, the number of spermatozoa is considered to be from 25 to 35 million).
Moreover, the number of active and motile spermatozoa should be at least 60% of their total number. If these requirements are met, after defrosting the seminal fluid, at least half of the spermatozoa will remain alive and active.
With satisfactory results of the spermogram and other tests, a man can become a donor and donate biomaterial. But in six months, the donor will need to undergo a second medical examination, and when the biomaterial is thawed, a final decision will be made on its use in IVF procedures.
How to donate biomaterial
If a man decides to become a donor, in addition to taking tests, a man must conduct some preparation for the biomaterial sampling procedure. For three days, the candidate should refrain from sexual intercourse, including masturbation, and follow a diet.
You need to donate the material directly at the clinic. There, in a certain room, which has a separate entrance, a man provokes ejaculation by masturbation. To help the donor, there is special literature or a video in the room that has an exciting effect on the donor. After the procedure, you can use the washbasin and a clean towel.
Also, before donating sperm, it is not recommended to visit places where you can get exposure to high temperatures: a bath, a sauna, take hot baths, sunbathe on the beach.
In some clinics, donors can bring personal literature or use the services of an assistant. During ejaculation, the seminal fluid is collected in a sterile container, on the outside of which there is a special code – a marking containing information about the donor. You can donate biomaterial more than once, but at least six months must pass between the donation procedures. A man who decides to become a donor signs an agreement with a medical institution, where personal data about the man is recorded, as well as the requirements for the frequency of biomaterial donation, the cost of one portion and the lifestyle rules that he must follow.
Also, such an agreement provides complete anonymity to the donor. If the sperm of a certain person is selected for the artificial insemination procedure, the client can get acquainted with the data on the donor without receiving information about his name and surname, as well as his place of residence. The data to be disclosed include the donor’s lifestyle, achievements and hobbies, features of character and appearance, zodiac sign, shoe size.
Information about the blood type and Rh factor, nationality, height and weight of the donor is subject to disclosure.
In these centers, there is the possibility of semen reserve: if the client has chosen one candidate, he can reserve several portions of his seminal fluid. Also among the clinics of reproduction there is a rule for the exchange of available biomaterial.