What is CMV?

CMV, cytomegalovirus, is a member of the herpesvirus family and is highly prevalent worldwide. You can become infected with CMV through bodily fluids, including saliva, urine, blood, seminal fluid, and breast milk. The most common transmission modes are through close contact with infected individuals or exposure to bodily fluids. It is important to note that CMV can be present in an individual's body without causing any symptoms or illness, making detecting and preventing transmission challenging.

cmv virus

How Common is CMV?

The CDC states that nearly 1 in 3 children have already been infected with CMV by age 5, and by the age of 40, over half of the population is infected. The prevalence of CMV in sperm donors varies depending on the screened population. Studies have shown that CMV infection rates among sperm donors range from 30% to 70%. However, it is essential to note that the presence of CMV does not necessarily indicate active infection or the potential for transmission. Donor screening protocols typically include testing for CMV antibodies, which can help determine if the donor has contacted the virus in the past.

Symptoms of CMV Infection

CMV infection can manifest differently in individuals depending on their immune system and overall health. Many people infected with CMV may not experience symptoms or only have mild symptoms that resolve independently. However, those with weakened immune systems, such as individuals with HIV/AIDS or undergoing organ transplantation, may develop severe complications. These can include pneumonia, hepatitis, retinitis (inflammation of the retina), and neurological disorders. Awareness of these symptoms and seeking medical attention if necessary is crucial.

Becoming Infected With CMV

Primary CMV infection occurs in people who have never been exposed to the CMV virus before. Once a person becomes infected with CMV, the virus remains alive but dormant inside their body for the rest of their life. Recurrent CMV infection is when a dormant virus becomes active again. CMV infection is usually harmless and rarely causes illness. However, primary CMV infection can cause more severe problems for pregnant women than recurrent CMV infection.

cmv in human cells
Cytomegalovirus

CMV in human cells.

Diagnosis and Treatment of CMV Infection

Diagnosing CMV infection involves various methods, including blood tests to detect the presence of CMV antibodies or viral DNA. Other tests like urine or saliva samples may also confirm active infection. Treatment options for CMV infection depend on the severity of symptoms and the individual's immune status. A healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medications to manage the condition and reduce the risk of complications.

Prevention of CMV Transmission in Sperm Donation

Preventing CMV transmission in sperm donation involves following proper protocols and procedures. Donor screening for CMV antibodies is essential in identifying potential donors who may pose a higher risk of transmission. Additionally, implementing strict guidelines for handling and processing donated sperm can help minimize the risk of contamination. Cryopreservation techniques, such as freezing and quarantine periods, can also be employed to ensure that donated sperm is free from infectious agents before use.

CMV Protocols At Cryobank America

The FDA requires CMV testing on all men who intend to donate sperm. A positive result, however, doesn't necessarily mean that a man will be ineligible to donate. Cryobank America will obtain semen samples from potential donors and then quarantine those specimens for at least six months. During that time, the donor may have had CMV antibody levels tested several times. If the antibody tests indicate the possibility of a CMV infection close to the time of the sperm donation, the donor will not be allowed to donate their specimens. If the testing demonstrates inconclusive results, the donor will not be permitted to donate. However, if a donor tests positive for CMV IgG only, indicating a past infection, he will be eligible to contribute. These samples appear in the Cryobank America donor database as CMV-positive.

Can Washed Donor Sperm Transmit CMV?

No, clinically washed sperm is typically free from CMV (Cytomegalovirus) transmission. The sperm-washing process separates sperm from the seminal fluid, which reduces the risk of transmitting infections such as CMV. However, no medical procedure can guarantee 100% elimination of all viruses or infections. You should always consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and information.

Considering Pregnancy Through Donor Sperm?

Women considering pregnancy with donor sperm should have CMV antibody testing as part of their IDT. Those with a past infection are at low risk of transmitting CMV infection to a fetus and are at little to no risk if they decide to use a CMV-positive donor.

Women never exposed to CMV should consider using a CMV-negative donor. Even though the risk from a CMV-positive donor is low, it is impossible to determine whether there will be a risk for infection.

Cryobank America's donor catalog has a CMV search filter for positive and negative sperm donors. To find a CMV-negative sperm donor, select negative under the CMV option!

CMV Resources

For additional information on CMV, this link is especially helpful:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cmv/symptoms-causes/syc-20355358

If you have any questions about CMV, please email us at [email protected] or call 817-945-8708; we will be happy to help!

Choosing IUI, ICSI, or At-Home Insemination Over IVF: 4 Factors You Should Know

Exploring different fertility treatment options requires a deep understanding of various factors, ranging from medical to financial, to personal preferences. While In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is undoubtedly one of the most recognized fertility treatments, other methods like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and at-home insemination have their unique appeal and benefits. But what drives the decision to choose one over the other? Here, we delve into the reasons.

1. Choosing IVF For Fertility Health and Specific Challenges

The first and foremost consideration is the specific fertility challenge a couple or individual is facing. While IVF is robust and addresses a wide array of fertility issues, some challenges may be addressed more directly with other treatments.

Male Infertility Issues

ICSI, a specialized form of IVF, has emerged as a game-changer for couples dealing with male infertility. By directly injecting a single healthy sperm into an egg, it bypasses challenges like low sperm count or poor sperm mobility. Thus, for those who have identified male infertility as the primary obstacle, ICSI might be a more direct solution than traditional IVF.

Uncomplicated Infertility Or Use Of Donor Sperm

For women with open fallopian tubes, regular ovulation, and no apparent severe infertility issues, IUI provides a less invasive approach. It's particularly popular among single women or lesbian couples using donor sperm.

2. Choosing IUI Or At-Home Insemination Due To Financial Considerations

Fertility treatments can be expensive, and not everyone has the luxury of unlimited resources or comprehensive insurance coverage.

Which Procedure Is Less Expensive, IUI or IVF?

Generally, IUI is less expensive than IVF or ICSI. For those who are on a tighter budget, starting with IUI might be a feasible first step. If several IUI cycles don't result in pregnancy, they might then consider investing in IVF or ICSI.

Cumulative Costs — What's Really More Expensive, IUI or IVF?

It's also essential to consider cumulative costs. While IUI per cycle might be cheaper, if multiple cycles are needed, the costs can add up. In contrast, IVF, though pricier upfront, might offer a higher success rate per cycle. The bottom line will be determined by your overall fertility health, donor or partner compatibility, and timing insemination correctly by precisely tracking your ovulation cycle.

Many cryobanks offer financial services such as payment plans and financing. Cryobank America has partnered with Future Family to offer patients affordable financing options.

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3. Choosing IUI, IVF, or At-Home Insemination For Personal Preferences and Comfort

Medical procedures, even if they're routine from a clinical perspective, are deeply personal experiences.

Invasiveness and Comfort — IUI

IUI stands distinct with its simplicity. By directly introducing sperm into the uterus, it bypasses many of the steps intrinsic to IVF, such as egg retrieval and external fertilization. This straightforwardness can be less daunting for those who are apprehensive about medical procedures. The very nature of IUI, being less invasive, can also mean reduced physical discomfort, fewer side effects, and a shorter recovery period.

For many, starting with IUI is a gentle introduction to fertility treatments. The rationale often revolves around giving the less invasive method a try first, hoping it might lead to successful conception without the need for more complex procedures.

Natural Conception

Fertility treatments, for all their medical advancements, can sometimes feel clinical and detached from the intimate experience of conception. This feeling can be a significant determinant in the choices couples make. There's an inherent appeal in procedures that mimic or come close to the process of natural conception.

IUI, especially when executed without the aid of fertility drugs, offers an experience that's remarkably close to natural conception. The process aligns with the body's natural ovulation cycle, and the sperm is introduced directly into the uterus without any external fertilization. This method provides couples with a sense of familiarity and naturalness, making the journey feel less 'medical' and more intimate.

At-Home Insemination

The appeal of at-home insemination lies in its intimacy and privacy. For those who find clinical settings stressful or impersonal, at-home insemination offers a more comfortable and familiar environment. This method is also more cost-effective than clinical procedures, though it may have a lower success rate and lacks the oversight and expertise of a medical setting.

4. Treatment Duration and Timelines

For some, the time it takes from starting treatment to achieving pregnancy is a significant factor.

Which Procedure Is Quicker, IUI or IVF?

IUI stands out as a relatively quicker procedure when juxtaposed against IVF (in vitro fertilization). The simplicity of IUI, which involves directly introducing sperm into the uterus, eliminates several steps intrinsic to the IVF process, such as egg retrieval and lab fertilization. For those already navigating the emotionally charged waters of fertility challenges, the shorter treatment duration of IUI can be a breath of fresh air. It offers hope without the extended commitment, making it an attractive choice for those wary of prolonged medical interventions.

Does IUI or IVF Have A Higher Success Rate?

Time considerations in fertility treatments aren't just about the procedure's speed. It's also about effectiveness across multiple cycles. Here's where the dynamics become intricate. IVF, despite its lengthier process, often touts a higher success rate per cycle when compared to IUI. This statistic can translate to fewer overall treatment cycles, potentially shortening the entire duration from the start of treatment to conception.

On the flip side, the non-invasiveness, simplicity, and lower immediate costs of IUI can lead some to opt for multiple IUI cycles before considering the switch to IVF. The thought process here hinges on hope: the hope that the next IUI cycle might be a successful one, coupled with the procedure's relative simplicity.

Comparing IVF, ICSI, and IUI: Understanding Your Options in Fertility Treatments

Embarking on the path to parenthood, many couples and individuals find themselves at the crossroads of fertility treatments. The journey, while filled with hope, often presents a maze of medical terms, techniques, and decisions. The options — IVF, ICSI, and IUI — though different, all aim to assist in the realization of the dream of having a child. Delving deeper into each method helps demystify the process and sheds light on the complications involved.

Please make sure to also contact a suitable health professional. While this article is your information guide, it is not to be used as a substitute for medical opinion or healthcare treatment. 

IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization)

IVF involves stimulating the ovaries using fertility drugs to produce mature eggs. These eggs are then retrieved and fertilized in a lab with sperm from a partner or a donor. The resultant embryo is monitored for signs of fertilization, and the best-quality embryo is transferred to the uterus.

Advantages of IVF

IVF is a comprehensive treatment that can address both male and female infertility factors. Through IVF, mature eggs are retrieved and fertilized in a laboratory setting, and the best-quality embryos are chosen for transfer, increasing the chances of success. The process allows for advanced embryo selection techniques, such as time-lapse monitoring and Preimplantation Genetic Screening. This ensures only embryos with the highest potential are selected. IVF provides the flexibility to use either a partner's or a donor's sperm, giving diverse options for family planning. Additionally, if more than one high-quality embryo results from the cycle, the extra embryos can be frozen for future use.

When is IVF advised?

IVF is typically recommended for those with fallopian tube damage, blockages, or in cases of unexplained infertility. It's also a viable option in mild cases of male infertility.

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), on the other hand, is a refined version of IVF. Instead of allowing sperm to fertilize the egg naturally in a dish, ICSI involves the direct injection of a single, chosen sperm into the egg. This technique proves invaluable, especially in cases where male infertility is a concern. By bypassing many natural challenges, ICSI offers a chance even when sperm count is low or mobility is compromised.

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Advantages of ICSI

ICSI is a specialized form of IVF where a single, healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg. This direct approach maximizes the chance of fertilization, especially in cases of male infertility. Since only the best quality sperm is selected and used, it ensures the highest potential for successful fertilization. ICSI is particularly beneficial when there are significant sperm problems, such as a low sperm count, poor sperm mobility, or high levels of DNA damage in the sperm. Even when sperm needs to be surgically retrieved, ICSI can still be applied. By addressing male fertility issues directly, ICSI bypasses many obstacles that can prevent natural fertilization.

When is ICSI advised?

ICSI is commonly prescribed for those with male fertility problems such as low sperm count, poor sperm mobility, or high levels of DNA damage in sperm. If male fertility isn't the primary issue, IVF is usually the suggested method.

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) stands apart from the aforementioned methods. It is less invasive and mirrors the process of natural conception more closely. In this procedure, prepared sperm is directly introduced into the uterus, timed with ovulation, to facilitate fertilization. For many, IUI serves as a starting point in their fertility journey, especially when the primary concern is not related to sperm quality or quantity.

Advantages of IUI

IUI is a straightforward, non-invasive procedure without the need for anesthesia. It's generally more affordable than advanced fertility treatments such as IVF or ICSI. The entire IUI process can be completed within minutes, making it a quick and hassle-free option. The sperm "washing" process ensures that only the best and healthiest sperm are used for insemination. The timing of the insemination is carefully synchronized with the woman's ovulation to increase the chances of success. IUI can effectively address a range of infertility issues, from unexplained infertility to mild male factor problems. It's also a preferred method when using donor sperm, offering a simpler path for diverse family planning. Unlike some other treatments, there's no need for egg retrieval or surgical intervention, making it less physically demanding.

When is IUI advised?

IUI is an option for patients requiring donor sperm. To succeed, it requires clear fallopian tubes, a healthy sperm count, and a mature egg. In cases of irregular ovulation, fertility drugs may be combined with IUI.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

Your unique fertility situation will determine the best treatment. A comprehensive assessment considering your medical history, age, and response to previous treatments is necessary. For some, IUI might be the first step. However, if significant sperm disorders are detected, IVF or ICSI might be more suitable.

It's essential to understand that your fertility journey is individual. The goal is to achieve pregnancy in the most efficient and effective manner. Always ensure that you are part of the decision-making process, aware of the costs, and fully informed about the treatment path ahead.

vial types cryobank america

Different Vial Types:

If you have been curious about using sperm donors to help start your family, you may have looked at the prices of vials and noticed several different types available. What is an IUI, ICI, A.R.T., and IVF vial? This blog will let you know the differences between each one so that it can guide you in figuring out which vial is best for you.

IUI Premium Vials

IUI (Intrauterine insemination) vials undergo a "washing" procedure utilizing gradient separation methods, resulting in only the sperm and stabilizing media, making it safe for the uterus.

At Cryobank America, we guarantee 25 Million cells per milliliter (25M/ml). Each IUI vial is sold in a half-milliliter (0.5ml) unit, giving you 12.5M/ml of motile sperm cells per premium IUI vial. IUI specimens can be safely placed directly into the uterus by your treating physician because there are no "round" cells or other "junk" in them that causes cramping. These units are also ideal for at-home inseminations, where they'll be placed near the top of the vagina and cervix.

ICI Premium Vials

ICI (intracervical insemination) vials are considered "unwashed" since they have not undergone gradient separation steps, which remove the non-motile sperm cells, round cells, and other junk found in the ejaculate.

At Cryobank America, we guarantee 17 Million cells per milliliter (17M/ml). Each vial sold comprises one milliliter (1ml). ICI units are typically used for at-home insemination since these specimens cannot be placed into the uterus due to severe cramping. Some fertility clinics prefer to wash their patient's specimens in-house (usually at an additional cost to the patient); therefore, these units contain one milliliter of a specimen compared to IUI units, which are sold in half milliliter units (0.5ml). We recommend our clients purchase IUI units since they can work for both in-clinic procedures and at-home inseminations and have the highest concentration of motile sperm cells, increasing the chances of successful insemination.

IUI A.R.T. & ICI A.R.T.

A.R.T., or artificial reproductive technology, vials are lower quantity units. At Cryobank America, we guarantee 3-12 Million per half a milliliter (and 6-24 M/ml) for IUI ART and 6-16 M/ml for ICI ART units. These vials cost less since they contain fewer progressively motile sperm cells.

IUI/IVF & ICI/IVF (For IVF/ICSI)

Lastly, our IUI/IVF undergoes our wash process and is guaranteed at 0.5-2.5 Million per half (0.5) milliliter (1-5 M/ml). Our ICI/IVF vials are unwashed, guaranteeing 1-5 Million per (1) milliliter. We recommend these units for clients utilizing in-vitro fertilization or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedures, where only a few sperm are needed.

If you still have questions concerning vial types and differences between the classes, don't hesitate to contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable Cryobank America staff members today!

Please email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 817-945-8708

All pricing can be found at https://cryobankamerica.com/pricing/