NEWS
08/29/2011 02:34 EDT | Updated 10/29/2011 05:12 EDT

Sperm Donation: Only Use Reliable Sources, Warns Health Canada

OTTAWA - Health Canada is warning that donor semen for conception should be obtained through reliable sources. Otherwise, there could be safety issues.

It says semen obtained through questionable means, such as through transactions arranged on the Internet, may not have been properly screened and tested.

The infectious diseases that could be transmitted to the mother and any child who is born include HIV-AIDs, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Canadians need to be cautious about websites, including those advertising the availability of "fresh" semen that hasn't been processed and frozen, because claims that the donors have been properly screened and tested may not be true.

Health Canada says strict controls are in place for obtaining donor semen, and would-be parents who are considering it for assisted conception should talk to their health-care professional.

Regulations on the importation, processing and distribution of donor semen require a quarantine of at least six months while donor screening and testing occurs, to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Health Canada says it maintains a list of semen processors and importers that are subject to regular inspections.

In addition, it says that men who wish to donate semen can visit the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada website for more information.