Study Finds That African Americans Are Only Small Percentage of Sperm Donors

Commercial sperm banks in the United States lack racially and ethnically diverse donors, potentially limiting family-planning options for patients in traditionally underserved populations, according to a new study led by Lauren Gibbs, a resident in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The study was presented at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Gibbs and her colleagues compared the racial and ethnic makeup of sperm donors from online and self-reported profiles at 14 of the largest donor banks in the United States for March and April of 2023. Historical data were pulled from two large, national banks. The investigators compared these data to census estimates from 2021 for men between the ages of 18 and 44 years.

Donors who identified as Hispanic (10.9 percent) or Black (3.3 percent) were significantly underrepresented as compared to the U.S. population. Hispanics are 22 percent of the population and Blacks are 13.3 percent. Asian donors were overrepresented, making up 21.9 percent of the donors but only 6.5 percent of the U.S. population.

Longitudinal data from the two national donor banks did not indicate any significant increase or decrease in donation trends across the 5-year period from 2018 to 2022, highlighting the persisting issue of representation disparities. Dr. Gibbs said strategies need to be developed to increase recruitment of donors from underrepresented groups. Increasing the diversity of the donor pool will ultimately support family-building options for all patients, according to Dr. Gibbs.

The full study, “Lack of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Cryopreserved Donor Sperm in the United States,” was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. It may be accessed here.

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