Donor Conceived Services

Why are we involved?

Each year, approximately 50,000 women in the United States undergo a medical procedure to place the living cells of a foreign donor inside their body. These cells carry with them the potential to transmit infectious disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, mental retardation—and also the potential to produce a vibrant, happy and healthy child. These cells are spermatozoa, and the women who receive them undergo donor insemination. This procedure has tremendous potential to impact the lives of these women, both positively and negatively. That being the case, one would expect that the testing, record keeping, and quality control procedures required for donor semen would be as rigorous and regulated as for any medical test or device. They are not. There is no official record of births by donor conception. There are no limits or restrictions on the qualification of donors. Donor semen is not even tested to confirm that the sperm used in the insemination actually came from the donor that the woman selected. Donor conceived children have no way to access their own personal family medical history—or any other part of their donor-parent ancestry.

Comprehensive changes in medical practice, health regulation and legislation are urgently needed. In the meantime, CaBRI is working to build support for the donor conception community in a number of ways.

Donor Y Project

Matching donor conceived males with a semen donor. The sons of a semen donor will all share an identical Y-chromosome with him, and with each other.

Through the Donor Y Project CaBRI will compare the DNA of a donor conceived male with other DNA samples in our database, searching for a genetic link between related males. Analysis and comparison of 37 Short Tandem Repeats (STR markers) on the Y-chromosome of a donor conceived male and a semen donor can provide evidence of paternity, DNA acquired from the client can be directly compared with known donors, as well as, other male clients in our database. Through this process, CaBRI can:

  • Provide the client with their numerical 37 Y-STR values.
  • Add this data to the Donor Y-Project database for comparison with other data.
  • Attempt to match a donor conceived male with a known semen donor.
  • Attempt to match a donor conceived male with biological half-brothers.
  • Provide a list of probable surnames for the biological father.
  • Report any matches directly to the client upon the written consent of all parties.

In addition, Y-STR values can be uploaded into national registries containing hundreds of thousands of Y-STR sequences, allowing the client to potentially discover a close relative of the donor, the donor himself, and/or a general orientation as to deep paternal ancestry (geographic ancestry). With Y-STR and Haplogroup results obtained from CaBRI, it may be possible to search other databases for genealogy information.

Our database is continually growing so even if you do not initially obtain any matches, don’t be discouraged.

To join our Donor Y-Project database, please complete our Donor Gamete Application form and explore our fees for services.

Donor X Project

Matching donor conceived females with a semen donor. The daughters of a semen donor will all share one identical X-chromosome with him, and one of their two X-chromosomes with each other.

Through the Donor X Project CaBRI will compare the DNA of a donor conceived female with other DNA samples in our database to identify genetic relationships. Although an analysis and comparison of STR markers on the X-chromosome of a donor conceived female can help establish evidence of strong genetic relationships between individuals, determining genetic relationships between our female clients is more difficult than it is for males. Ideally, proper testing using a DNA sample from the biological mother, a close male relative (such as a brother), and the donor conceived daughter can help deduce marker values for the semen donor. Through this process, CaBRI can:

  • Provide the client with their numerical X-STR values.
  • Add this data to the Donor X-Project database for comparison with other data.
  • Attempt to match a donor conceived female with a known semen donor.
  • Attempt to match a donor conceived female with biological half-siblings.
  • Report any matches directly to the client upon the written consent of all parties.

Our database is continually growing so even if you do not initially obtain any matches, don’t be discouraged. Note: No other geneaology service provides a database of X-chromosomes and their STR values, so matching with relatives outside CaBRI is not likely.

To join our Donor X-Project database, please complete our Donor Gamete Application form and explore our fees for services.

Donor Participation

If you are a semen donor, we encourage you to join our Donor X and Donor Y projects. Through these projects, CaBRI analyzes and compares the STR markers on the X-chromosome of a donor conceived female and the STR markers on the Y-chromosome of a donor conceived male with those of a semen donor. This comparison can provide evidence of a strong genetic relationship between the donor and a biological child. Through this process, CaBRI can:

  • Provide you with your X-STR data as numerical values.
  • Provide you with your Y-STR data as numerical values.
  • Place this data into the Donor X- and Y-project databases.
  • Report any matches directly to you upon the written consent of all parties.

Our databases are continually growing so even if you do not initially obtain any matches, don’t be discouraged.

To join our Donor X- and Y-Project databases please complete our Donor Application form and explore our fees for services.

Testing Semen Samples

Empty Semen Vials

If you have your empty semen vial, there is usually enough residual DNA remaining to conduct genetic testing. These samples can be used to obtain direct information regarding both X- and Y-STR values. If a DNA sample can be acquired, CaBRI can:

  • Provide the client with their numerical X- and Y-STR values.
  • Place this data directly into our Donor X- and Y-STR project databases.
  • Directly correlate these values to any offspring listed in our database.
  • Report any matches directly to the client upon the written consent of all parties.
  • Re-test and confirm disease antigens in cases of suspected transmission of communicable disease.
  • Confirm genetic tests purported to have been run by the sperm bank.
  • Provide custom analysis of genes or markers of interest.

To join our Donor X- and Y-Project databases please complete our Empty Vial Application form.

Viable Semen Samples

Although CaBRI can test viable semen samples, this process will render them non-viable, where they can no longer be used for artificial insemination procedures. These samples can be used to obtain direct information regarding both X- and Y-STR values.

Testing for Half-sibling Relationships

CaBRI testing and analysis allows us to compare the genetic results within our database in an attempt to establish half-sibling relationships. Testing for male half-sibling relationships is not difficult, thus, a comparison of Y-STR values can provide evidence of a genetic relationship between half-brothers. Although the testing of females is more complex, we can still use X-STR values to potentially determine half-sibling relationships between sisters.

Please contact us to see if this is a suitable option for you.

Each situation is unique, and we want to ensure that the correct testing is done. In order to best serve your individual needs or if you have any questions please contact us.