AIM: The British Andrology Society recommends screening semen donors for sexually transmitted infections to minimise the risk of pathogen transmission to the mother and fetus. The aim was to review recent findings of semen donor screening and, if appropriate, recommend changes to the screening protocol. SUBJECTS: 175 consecutive men attending for STD screening between January 1992 and December 1995 who had been preselected by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as suitable semen donors. METHODS: Retrospective review of case notes and group comparison of demographic and sexual history data. RESULTS: 11 men (6%) had evidence of infection, excluding CMV seropositivity, at their first STD screen. After semen donation, 109 men (63%) were rescreened and, of these, 12% had positive findings. Positive findings at initial screening were predicted by a history of more than one partner in the preceding 6 months (OR 7.11, 95% CI 1.66-30.4) but it did not predict rescreening findings. Other factors such as age, marital status, employment status or past STDs were not predictive for either screen. DISCUSSION: Less than 20% of initial volunteers meet the full criteria of high quality post-thaw semen, no transmissible genetic disorders, and no transmissible pathogens. Sexual history may predict but would not alone preclude all positive STD screening findings. It is essential that sequential STD screening of donors continues and that genitourinary physicians should be involved in this process. Validation of newer diagnostic techniques as screening tests in this setting is required.
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