Cryos International Enforces Strict Donor Policies in Line with FDA Zika Virus Guidelines

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The world’s largest sperm bank aims to reduce the risk of the mosquito-borne virus and microcephaly birth conditions.

Because our product is used for reproduction, we must take every precaution to assure we are providing semen that is safe for both the user and any children that result from it.”

Cryos International, the world’s largest international sperm bank, initiated proactive policies to prevent the possible transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus through sperm donations. Although not conclusively proven, with the virus believed to cause microcephaly – a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by undersized heads that result in brain deformities – in children born to infected mothers, Cryos is ensuring it has incorporated the guidelines set by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Cryos instituted its polices to prevent the spread of Zika with donors a month prior to the FDA publishing guidelines. The FDA recommendations are aimed towards reducing the risk of Zika virus transmissions through donated human cells, tissues and cellular and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps), which includes semen and oocytes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s unknown how long the virus remains present in the semen of men who have had Zika. The consensus among scientists and doctors is to require a six-month deferral period for donors to prevent contamination.

There are currently no commercially available screening tests for Zika, making the only safety measure deferment. Prospective sperm donors that have traveled to areas endemic with Zika (determined by the CDC) within six months prior to making a donation with Cryos will be deferred for six months. Ineligibility to donate is assumed if males were diagnosed with the virus or in an area with active virus transmission.

“Because our product is used for reproduction, we must take every precaution to assure we are providing semen that is safe for both the user and any children that result from it,” said Corey Burke, Tissue Bank Director for Cryos International. Burke’s background in microbiology and embryology/andrology, coupled with his assistance in developing diagnostic testing for the West Nile virus, gives him a unique understanding of Zika as well as the possible spread of it to the mosquito population in Florida.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika an international health emergency in February 2016 as it has now spread to 36 countries and territories, mostly in the Americas. WHO has also reported that four out of five people infected with the virus have no symptoms.

States in the Southern U.S., including Cryos’ U.S headquarters in Orlando, Florida, could potentially see the virus become an endemic as the summer months approach and mosquitos start to swarm. The impact of the worst-case scenario has the potential to affect all tissue donations worldwide including blood, organ, sperm and eggs.

Cryos will remain vigilant when it comes to Zika and alter screening procedures should the severity of the situation heighten and/or new guidelines be released.

For questions regarding Cryos’ donation and screening processes, contact our headquarters at 407-230-1175.

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About Cryos International

As the world’s largest sperm bank, Cryos International is the leader in third party reproduction and personalized insemination services. Delivering to more than 80 countries, Cryos aims to ensure a wide selection of high-quality, extensively screened donor sperm from all races, ethnicities and phenotypes for tailored fertility treatments. An extensive network of clients and medical institutions worldwide has helped Cryos achieve the highest number of pregnancies in the world assisted by donor sperm. Through medical partnerships, evolving research and highly customizable insemination, Cryos continues to improve and expand its global services to assist infertile families in achieving successful, full-term pregnancies.

For more information about Cryos International, visit usa.cryosinternational.com.

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Media Contact
Corey Burke
Tissue Bank Director
Cryos International – USA, LLC
407-230-1175
cb(at)cryosinternational(dot)com

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