Glossary

Andrology
The study of male fertility/infertility.

Alpha and beta thalassemia
Heritable, abnormal conditions of hemoglobin synthesis. These conditions occur in both the alpha and beta chains and are found most frequently in Asian and Mediterranean populations, respectively.

Artificial insemination
A procedure performed under a physician's direction whereby a prepared semen sample is placed into the uterus or cervix in an attempt to establish a pregnancy. Most commonly, a woman's sexually active partner or donor semen is used.

Audio interview
An audio recording of the donor's response to various questions. The recording allows potential recipients to hear the donor's voice and his reactions and responses to the questions.

Client depositor
A male who freezes sperm for his own use in the future. A client depositor is not a donor.

Cryopreservation
The act of freezing and thawing.

Cryoprotectant
An additive to a processed semen sample which enhances the survival rate of the cells during cryopreservation. The most common cryoprotectant added to human semen is glycerol.

Cryoprotectant buffer
An additive to a processed semen sample which enhances the cell's ability to survive cryopreservation. The buffer "coats" the cells and protects them during cryopreservation and also acts as an energy source for the cells.

Cystic fibrosis
A hereditary condition in which the body produces an excess of thick mucus affecting the respiratory system and pancreas. Cystic fibrosis is the most common recessive genetic condition in Caucasian populations.

Cytomegalovirus
A virus in the same family of viruses as the herpes virus. Once exposed to CMV, the virus is always harbored in the body, either in an active or a dormant state. Symptoms, which are similar to a bad case of the flu or bronchitis- type symptoms, are often mild and overlooked in healthy individuals. Donors are tested for active or contagious states of the virus while participating in the program. If detected, samples are not released for sale. Physicians differ in opinions about the significance of CMV, therefore, recipients should consult their physician before proceeding with insemination.

Directed donor
A donor who is known to the recipient and who directs his semen for use by a particular recipient.

ICI
Intra-Cervical Insemination. An artificial insemination procedure whereby the processed semen sample is deposited at the base of the cervix. The premise is that cells will swim through the cervix and into the uterus. Sperm specimens containing seminal fluid can be inseminated intra- cervically because the cervix acts as a natural filter, removing the seminal fluid, which is seen as foreign to the uterine environment.

ICSI
Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. An assisted reproductive technology procedure in which the superovulation and egg retrieval portion of an IVF procedure is performed first. Rather than allowing fertilization to occur by combining sperm and eggs in a petri dish as in IVF, a single sperm cell is injected into each egg to result in fertilization. ICSI is often used for males with compromised motility, which may prevent the sperm cell from penetrating an egg on it's own. Resulting embryos are cultured to a certain cell stage and then transferred as in an IVF procedure.

In your Own Words essay
A one page response to 4 essay questions required of all donors. We photocopy the page to allow potential recipients to see the donor's handwriting, spelling, etc. if those things are important in your decision-making process.

IUI
Intra-Uterine Insemination. An artificial insemination procedure whereby the processed semen sample is deposited directly into the uterus. Specimens used for IUI cannot contain seminal fluid and therefore must undergo a wash process to remove it either prior to cryopreservation or prior to the insemination.

IVF
In Vitro Fertilization. An assisted reproductive technology procedure in which the female is superovulated in order to produce multiple eggs in a single cycle. The eggs are retrieved just prior to natural ovulation and are fertilized by adding the male's sperm into the same petri dish in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are cultured until they reach a certain cell stage and then a number of the best embryos are transferred back into the uterus. Remaining embryos not transferred can be frozen for future cycles.

Karyotype
An analysis of the chromosomes.

Liquid nitrogen
The environment in which cryopreserved specimens are stored and shipped. The liquid phase of nitrogen is -196°C. Cryopreserved specimens are stored at this temperature in the laboratory. The vapor phase of nitrogen has a slightly higher temperature. Shipping tanks used to ship and deliver specimens maintain vapor temperature since the vapor phase facilitates shipping.

Long Term Storage
Storage for one year or longer at Cryobiology.

Medical health history
A three generation family health history of a donor. Typically includes the donor and his siblings, the donor's parents, aunts and uncles, and the donor's grandparents. The medical health history may contain information about other family members as well if it is known.

NAT
Nucleic Acid Test-a test to detect the genetic material of a virus within the body. The advantage of NAT over traditional antibody tests is not having to wait for the body to produce antibodies to the virus prior to detection; NAT provides results much sooner after infection.

Profile
A two page summary of the donor. The first page is a physical description of a donor including personality observations. The second page is an abbreviated medical health history. The profiles are created by Cryobiology staff.

Seminal fluid
Semen without the sperm cells. The fluid from accessory sex glands helps transport the sperm cells through the reproductive tract and provides some support to sperm cells. Seminal fluid is removed prior to intra-uterine inseminations.

Seroconversion
The act of converting from negative to positive on a blood test. Sickle cell anemia - a heritable condition of the hemoglobin whereby the red blood cells take on a sickling shape instead of the characteristic round shape. The sickling shape prevents the red blood cell from carrying oxygen adequately. Sickle cell anemia is most prevalent in African American populations.

Silhouette
A side view (profile) of a donor in black and white format. The silhouette is designed to provide an outline of the donor's facial features without sacrificing his anonymity.

Short Term Storage
Storage for no longer than three months at Cryobiology.

Tay Sachs
A fatal metabolic disorder, hereditary in nature, which predominantly occurs in populations of Jewish descent, French Canadian, or Cajun ancestry.

Vial
The container in which the semen sample is cryopreserved and stored. Each Cryobiology vial is labeled with the sperm bank name, the donor number and the date the semen sample was collected.