- Are your offices open and operating as usual?
- Are you screening donors for COVID-19?
- What if a donor has recent COVID-19 exposure and isn’t showing signs of infection?
- Can COVID-19 be transmitted through donor sperm?
- Is it safe to get pregnant during the pandemic?
- What precautions are you taking with your staff to ensure that the environment is safe?
- Are there any interruptions in shipping within the U.S. due to COVID-19?
- Can I ship vials to my home for an at-home insemination?
- Do I need to sign for my vial shipment?
- Will I still be able to pick up my specimen?
- What if my favorite donor sells out before my insemination?
- Can you cancel my shipment?
- Is international shipment affected with delays or restrictions?
- Will I be able to receive a refund if the coronavirus results in no shipment to the country where I am having my treatment?
- I am thinking of using/am already working with a Directed Donor who is in the process of donating. Will he still be able to donate now?
Are your offices open and operating as usual?
Yes, our offices are open and we are doing everything possible to maintain business as usual for our clients. Please note the following changes. Our vial pickup option in Los Angeles is currently unavailable. Hours at our branch locations have changed to 8:00am to 4:00pm and as always, we require you to schedule your pickup at least 1 business day in advance.
Are you screening donors for COVID-19?
Yes. As the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged as a global health threat, the CDC and American Association of Tissue banks (AATB) issued recommendations for donor screening. We immediately implemented these recommendations, which initially comprised screening for symptoms, relevant travel history and potential social exposures. In late March, we paused sperm donor collections altogether. As we resume the collection of sperm donations, we have implemented additional laboratory screening for SARS-CoV-2 (the viral agent causing COVID-19) on all donors. In addition to monitoring temperature, symptoms, and potential exposures, donors will receive frequent and recurrent laboratory testing for the virus while participating in our program. It’s important to note that this type of testing is not recommended or required by any regulatory or accrediting body, however we believe these extra precautions will help us maintain a safe environment for staff, donors, and clients.
View our video: "How is California Cryobank Screening Donors for the Coronavirus?”
What if a donor has recent COVID-19 exposure and isn’t showing signs of infection?
While thorough screening cannot guarantee a recently infected and asymptomatic donor is detected prior to entering our laboratory, we do require all persons in our facilities wear face covering as they have been demonstrated to significantly mitigate asymptomatic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With regard to risk associated with donor sperm vials produced by an asymptomatic but infected individual, there are two considerations. First is the fact that all vials resulting from donations are routinely quarantined for a minimum of six months prior to becoming available for clinical use, in accordance with FDA requirements. Donors are routinely repeatedly screened for an interim medical and social history and for the presence of several infectious disease agents. The other important consideration is the significance of SARS-CoV-2 in donor insemination. See below for a discussion on whether COVID-19 can be spread through donor sperm.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted through donor sperm?
It’s important to note that there are a lot of things about this virus that the science community is still learning. With that said, we currently understand that the primary way people are infected is through respiratory droplets, especially those that are aerosolized from the nose and mouth and spread from one person to another in close proximity. There was some concern raised about potential sexual transmission after publication of a small study out of China that identified the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the semen of men who were currently ill with or recently recovered from COVID-19. However, there are many reasons that simply identifying this virus in the sperm of symptomatic infected men does not directly imply risk to recipients of donor insemination. In its most recent update from July 2020, the FDA notes that “respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by implantation, infusion, or transfer of human cells or tissue”. Donor semen is included in this categorization of human cells and tissues. The FDA also notes that “to date, there have been no reported cases of transmission of COVID-19 via these products”. Please speak to your physician if you have further questions about donor insemination and COVID-19.
View our video: “Can I Get Coronavirus from Donor Sperm?”
Is it safe to get pregnant during the pandemic?
The medical community is still learning about this virus, including the implications to pregnant women. The right time to pursue a pregnancy is a very personal decision that may be best discussed with your healthcare provider who can help you consider all of the relevant factors including your age, health, and individual risk factors.
While you’re deciding or waiting for the right time to attempt pregnancy, you can ensure vials from your favorite donor are available for future use through our Family Today & Family Tomorrow program. You can purchase your vials now and store them securely at our facility so that they are available when you’re ready. We also provide Vial Exchange & Vial Buyback options for additional flexibility.
What precautions are you taking with your staff to ensure that the environment is safe?
Many of our employees are continuing to work remotely so that the essential staff in our facilities can work at safe distances while we continue to provide uninterrupted services to our clients. We have established temperature and health screening of all persons entering our workspaces and we have also provided personal protective equipment to our teams to wear in our facilities.
Are there any interruptions in shipping within the U.S. due to COVID-19?
No, we are shipping vials within the U.S. as usual. Before you schedule a shipment to a clinic, it’s always important to make sure they will be available to receive the specimen. We also recommend scheduling your shipment to arrive at least 48 hours before your insemination in case of any weather or mechanical delays with FedEx.
Can I ship vials to my home for an at-home insemination?
As long as your A1 form from your medical provider allows home shipments OR you completed the H1 form, you can schedule a vial shipment to your home. (Only available for U.S. shipments.)
Do I need to sign for my vial shipment?
Currently, FedEx may not require a signature in order to keep their clients and team members safe.
Will I still be able to pick up my specimen?
While specimen pickup is currently unavailable at our Los Angeles facility, our pickup process remains the same at our other locations. As long as your A1 form from your medical provider allows pickups OR you signed an H1 form, you can schedule a pickup. We do require that you schedule the pickup at least 1 business day before your pickup date to ensure that we can have your tank prepared in time. If you plan to pick up vials at our Cambridge, New York, or Palo Alto location, and do not currently have vials stored there, you must first schedule a transfer of the vials to that branch (this transfer may take up to 10 days).
What if my favorite donor sells out before my insemination?
You can purchase vials now and store them with us as long as you need to. We provide 30 days of free storage and offer longer storage term options. Our Family Today & Family Tomorrow programs provide 1-3 years of free storage with the purchase of 4 or more vials.
Can you cancel my shipment?
We are able to cancel your shipment if the vials have not left our facility. Please call Client Services at 866-927-9622 if you need to cancel your shipment. We can provide you with 30 days of free storage so you can store your vials until you are ready to schedule another shipment.
Is international shipment affected with delays or restrictions?
Information may change and it is different for each international location. Please contact Client Services at +1-310-443-5244 to discuss shipment to your location.
Will I be able to receive a refund if the coronavirus results in no shipment to the country where I am having my treatment?
We can provide you with 30 days of free storage so you can store your vials until shipment is available to your country again. Longer storage options are also available.
I am thinking of using/am already working with a Directed Donor who is in the process of donating. Will he still be able to donate now?
We understand there can be a time-sensitive nature to directed donation, and we will work with clients and their donors individually to facilitate a planned directed donation. Please call 866-477-3762 to discuss your options further.