As (future) parents, we will do anything to protect our children and make sure they are healthy and safe. The urge to protect starts early on, and when going through fertility treatment, the concerns might begin even before a child is conceived.
At Cryos, we want to give you peace of mind and the best possible chances for becoming a parent to a healthy child. By thoroughly testing and screening all donor candidates, we put a lot of resources into minimizing the risk related to the use of donor eggs or sperm (see more about egg donor screening or sperm donor screening). But the risk of a child inheriting a genetic disease is not isolated to the donor. The genes of the genetic parent providing the other half of the genes of course play a part too. By also comparing these genes to the genes of your favorite donor, you will get even more assurance regarding the genes that are passed on to your child. That is why we offer Genetic Matching.
What is Genetic Matching?
Genetic Matching is an optional add-on when choosing a donor at Cryos. By using our Genetic Matching services, you can find out whether the genes of you (or your partner) and your favorite donor are a good match before you begin your fertility treatment. If the test shows that it is not a good match and that you face an increased risk of passing on diseases to children if you proceed with the chosen donor, you can, free of charge, choose a new donor to be matched up against.
Below you can learn more about why and how to order Genetic Matching.
Why do genetic testing before a pregnancy?
Even though you feel healthy and well, the fact is that all human beings are carriers of an unknown number of recessive gene variants (mutations) that might be passed on to our children. Most people do not know what they are carriers of and will never be affected by it.
A child conceived with donor sperm or eggs will inherit half of its genes from the donor and half of its genes from the genetic parent providing sperm or an egg for the conception. If both the donor and the genetic parent carry a variation in the same gene, there is an increased risk of the child developing a disease. This risk is the same for all children.
At Cryos, we perform an extensive screening of all donor candidates in which we assess their general condition as well as the medical and genetic history of both donor and his/her family members in three generations. We also perform a genetic carrier test, looking for the most common genetic variants causing:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hemoglobinopathies (including Alfa thalassemia, Beta thalassemia, and Sickle cell)
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Tay Sachs
- Non-syndromic deafness (GJB2)
as these are among the most frequent hereditary diseases.
However, the donor screening does not take the genes provided by the genetic parent (or second donor if double donation) into account. In other words, despite our thorough screening, there is still a small risk of a child inheriting a disease, and this risk will be higher if both the donor and the genetic parent carry a variation in the same gene.
If you want to know the risk and be able to act on it before you begin fertility treatment, Genetic Matching is a good opportunity for you. With this test, we will match the donor’s genes up against the genetic parent’s and let you know whether they are genetically compatible.
In the video below, you can learn more about Genetic Matching and what it means to be a carrier of a recessive disease.
Different Genetic Matching services – including match guarantee
At Cryos, we offer different Genetic Matching services depending on your situation and needs. If your initial choice of donor turns out to be a no-match, you can choose a new donor who we will match up against the genetic parent’s genes. We will continue this process until you have a match with a donor.
To avoid that your favorite donor is sold out while you wait for the Genetic Matching result, we highly recommend that you place an order of at least 3 straws at the same time as ordering Genetic Matching. Just make sure to choose the latest possible shipping date, so your order will not be shipped before you have the test result. You will get the result within 6 weeks, and if it is a no-match, you can terminate your order and get a refund.
Single Gene Matching – Get to know if the donor carries a variant in the same gene as you
The Single Gene Matching solution is for those who already know that the genetic parent is a carrier of a recessive genetic disease and want to be sure that the donor you choose is not a carrier of a mutation in the same gene. In most cases, you will know about the mutation from a genetic screening performed by your doctor or fertility clinic.
To perform this type of matching, we need you to provide documentation of the carrier status of the genetic parent and let us know which gene(s) to look at. With Single Gene Matching, we offer to test up to 3 genes.
Panel Matching – Matching of more than 300 recessive genes
The Panel Matching solution is for people who would like to get a broad and general matching for genetic diseases with recessive inheritance. With Genetic Panel Matching, we will match more than 300 of the genetic parent’s recessive genes up against the genes of the donor you have chosen.
To do this, all we need is for the genetic parent to provide a saliva sample that can be done at home. We will send a test kit by mail.
Double Donor Matching - If you need both donor eggs and donor sperm
Double Donor Matching is only relevant if you are having fertility treatment with both donor eggs and donor sperm from Cryos (double donation). Please make sure to select an egg and a sperm donor who are both ready for Genetic Matching (you can select Genetic Matching as a filter when searching for donors).
When choosing Double Donor Matching, all you have to do is to purchase this service and let us know which two donors you want us to match – and then we will do the rest.
What are the costs of Genetic Matching?
Genetic Matching is an optional add-on when ordering donor sperm or eggs from Cryos. The price of this service depends on which type of Genetic Matching you choose. Besides the added costs, all that is required is either a saliva sample or documentation of the genetic parent’s known carrier status, depending on which service you choose.
Is Genetic Matching relevant for me?
There can be different reasons for using our Genetic Matching services, but the main purpose is for you to get an added sense of security and make you feel more calm and secure about your choice of donor. By using our Genetic Matching services, you will know if using a particular donor increases the risk of having a child with a genetic disease and have the chance to choose another donor instead.
Please note, that it takes about 6 weeks for the test result to come in. If you have already planned your fertility treatment and you need the donor gametes sooner than that, we recommend ordering straws without Genetic Matching.
How to order Genetic Matching of a Cryos donor
- Search for a donor available for Genetic Matching (you can add Genetic Matching as a filter)
- Once you have chosen a donor, go to the donor profile online and add the number of straws you want to order in your cart (we recommend ordering at least 3 straws)
- Then choose which of our Genetic Matching services you want (Single Gene Matching, Panel Matching or Double Donor Matching) and add to the cart
- Continue to checkout and fill out the required information about the genetic parent (or second donor if Double Donor Matching)
If Single Gene Matching: Upload documentation of the known carrier status
If Double Donor Matching: Choose which other donor you want us to match with
- Make sure not to request delivery until the match result comes in (this can take up to 6 weeks)
- Add payment details and finalize your order
- Only for Panel Matching: Once we receive your payment, we will send a test kit and instructions by mail so the genetic parent can make a saliva sample. When the sample is ready, please send it to our cooperating partners, using the accompanying packaging and shipping label, or to Cryos who will then forward it for you.
Within approximately 6 weeks, our Customer Care team will contact you with the result to let you know whether the donor is a match or not. You will also receive documentation of the test result via email.
What does the Genetic Matching result mean?
Whichever Genetic Matching services you choose, the result will either be ‘a match’ or ‘a no-match’.
- If the donor is a no-match
If your chosen donor turns out to be a ‘no-match,’ you can, free of charge, choose a new donor to be matched.
- If the donor is a match
If you receive a match, it means that the genetic parent and the donor do not carry any of the same variants within the tested genes, and you can go ahead and plan your treatment or home insemination with this donor. If you reserved straws while ordering Genetic Matching, you can log in to your Cryos account and request delivery.
Can genetic testing prevent diseases in children?
Even though we conduct a matching between the genetic parent and your chosen donor and look for recessive diseases, it is unfortunately impossible for us to eliminate the risk of the child developing a genetic disease. There will always be a small residual risk, as not all genes will be examined, and new or unknown mutations cannot always be identified using matching either.
Ready to find a donor with Genetic Matching?
In our free donor search, you can easily see which donors are available for Genetic Matching. Start by creating an account and use the filters to find your match. If you have questions regarding Genetic Matching, you might find the answer below. Otherwise, we are here to help you – just contact our Customer Care Team via email, chat or book a call.