Screening of chlamydia trachomatis in non-partner donors: situation of stored donations and proposal for periodic screening

Published:December 08, 2021DOI:



      Lack of guidance on the frequency of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) screening in non-partner donors has led to the heterogeneity of testing protocols. The risk for CT infection of CT-unscreened historic sperm donations is now questioned. We conducted a study to check for CT in CT unscreened sperm donations stored in the sperm bank at the Ghent University Hospital (Belgium). We also propose a CT screening protocol to harmonize CT screening, for which we provide a cost evaluation.


      Retrospective study conducted in sperm donations performed during period 2009–2019 from healthy non-partner donors for whom at least one straw was available. A straw was selected from the still available donations that had not been tested for CT in urine at the time of donation. These sperm samples were screened for CT by nucleic acid amplification (NAT).


      40 donors were included in the analysis. The 210 analysed straws tested negative for CT. A CT screening protocol following the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) protocol for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) –i.e. NAT CT screening on donor eligibility, and first and last donation, provided these occur within 90 days- is advantageous from a cost perspective vs. screening of all samples (∼75% reduction).


      The results of our study demonstrate a negligible risk for CT infection in recipients when using historical sperm samples stored at our sperm bank. We support CT screening following the ECDC protocol for other STDs, implying a significant reduction in workload/cost vs. screening of all samples.


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      Stijn Van Landeghem is a pharmacist, currently graduating a specialist training in laboratory medicine. He works in the department of Microbiology in the Clinical Laboratory of the Ghent Hospital, Belgium.
      Key message
      Periodic testing of first-void urine for Chlamydia trachomatis in non-partner semen donations –on donor eligibility and first and last donation- is sufficient to guarantee a negligible risk of CT infection in recipients, provided donations occur within 90 days, and it is significantly more cost-effective than testing at every semen donation.