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New sperm bank seeking donors

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

SPERM donors wanted.

The Trinidad and Tobago IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) and Fertility Centre is in the process of setting up this country's first sperm bank.

Young men aged 18 to 39 are now being sought to build up the bank's sperm deposit, Melissa Pereira, coordinator for the Trinidad and Tobago IVF and Fertility Centre, told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday.

Potential donors will undergo a stringent process to determine their eligibility, Pereira said.

The process begins with prospective candidates being asked to call the donor hotline at 333-9489.

An initial interview will be conducted over the telephone, following which prospective donors will undergo a basic screening which will include questions relating to their age, weight and whether they smoke and consume alcohol, Pereira said.

Once the potential candidates successfully pass the initial screening, they will be forwarded an official donor application form which contains more detailed questions about the potential donor's medical history, she said.

If an applicant successfully passes this stage, he will then undergo a screening process, which will include analysis of their semen and blood tests, Pereira said.

A sample of the potential donor's semen will also be placed in a quarantine bank.

If the applicant is successful, he will then meet with the centre's doctor for a medical assessment.

A meeting will also be scheduled with the clinic's counsellor for a psychological assessment of the prospective donor.

When all these stages are passed, then the applicant will be deemed a donor and can make a deposit to the bank.

The entire process is expected to take some six months, Pereira said.

Donors will be paid for their sperm.

The centre, however, is not yet revealing the exact amount of compensation for donors.

"We do not want to divulge the figure for compensation as yet. We want donors to participate for altruistic reasons," Pereira said.

"The entire process takes time because we want donors to think things through and know that this is a serious decision," she said.

Sperm banks will be set up at the centre's facilities at Rookery Nook in Maraval, and also at the Medical Associates private hospital in St Joseph.

The centre is currently engaged in a campaign to entice potential donors with advertisements in both the print and electronic media.

"Sperm donation: we know you have it in you" is the slogan adopted for the campaign.

Interested individuals may e-mail the centre at info@trinidadivf.com for further information.

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