Cannabis Science

Can You Donate Sperm If You Smoke Weed?

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If you’re thinking about donating sperm, you have started researching the whole process and what you need to avoid. There are many myths floating around the internet about what you should do or shouldn’t do before you walk in for your appointment. You may have heard that you’ll have to put down your bong before donating sperm, but is that true? Can you donate sperm if you smoke weed? Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Unsplash  

If You Smoke Weed Can You Donate Sperm?

The good news is that you’re allowed to smoke weed and donate sperm. We couldn’t find any information that a sperm bank would turn away a stoner for using weed. San Diego Sperm Bank says that they don’t turn away stoners but caution them about how weed can affect their sperm. 

Yes, weed may affect your sperm by:

  • Lowering sperm concentration
  • Affecting Total sperm count
  • Causing Poor sperm morphology
  • Developing of abnormally shaped sperm

However, weed could possibly be the reason your sperm gets rejected at the sperm bank. That’s because a low sperm count can disqualify you. According to The Fertility Center of California (FCC), Sperm Bank Inc, if you have a low sperm count, you can’t be a sperm donor. They said, “During your first appointment at FCC, a semen analysis will be performed. Low sperm count, also known as oligospermia, or no sperm count, also known as azoospermia, will disqualify you as a donor.”

You may be wondering about the proof that weed can decrease sperm count. A 2015 study, looked at Danish people between the ages of 18-28, the ages you’re able to donate sperm, and found that using weed use was associated with decreased sperm count. The study shows that “Regular marijuana smoking more than once per week was associated with a 28% lower sperm concentration.”

However, not all studies link low sperm count to weed use. A 2019 study found the opposite of what we know. The study says, “Men who had ever smoked marijuana had significantly higher sperm concentration than men who had never smoked marijuana.”

At the same time, the study has limitations that are important to highlight, such as:

  • The sample is fairly small
  • Doesn’t reflect the general population  
  • Marijuana use is self-reported so may be inaccurate

How Many Times Can I Donate Sperm?

Sperm banks often require you to commit to regular donations over a period of time. Sperm Bank says, “Fully qualified sperm donors are expected to donate at least once per week. However, we encourage our fully qualified donors to visit the office 2-3 times per week.”

Columbia Fertility says, “Men who pass the rigorous screening process must donate up to several times per week at that sperm bank.” 

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If you’re unsure about how many times you’ll require to donate sperm, check with the sperm bank you planned on using. 

In addition to that, as long as you’re still eligible, you should be able to donate sperm many times. 

What Can Disqualify You From Donating Sperm? 

There are a number of things that can disqualify you from donating your sperm. Always check the list of requirements from the specific sperm bank you want to donate. The Fertility Center of California requires you to:

  • Be between 18-28
  • Free from STDs
  • Free from certain genetic conditions or medical issues
  • Have a high sperm count
  • Have a suitable recent travel history 

Sperm Donation Tips 

Even though you may be eligible to donate sperm, there are some activities that can help you be a superb sperm donor. These tips will help you maintain healthy sperm. These tips include the following.

Limit Smoking

In order to provide healthy sperm, you need to have healthy habits. Of course, not everyone is the same and some cigarette smokers and stoners have been able to donate sperm successfully. 

However, some sperm banks find that using certain drugs can affect sperm health. Semovo, sperm donation specialists say, “Things such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs can all affect your sperm health, which we’ll see in your sample. It’ll mean your sample for that donation won’t be suitable for freezing, and we’ll need you to continue to donate to us for longer until we have a good enough supply of your sperm.”

While Semovo didn’t mention marijuana, we know that marijuana use is often associated with lower sperm count. Therefore, one recommendation is to watch your marijuana use, especially if you were told your sperm count is concerning. Doron Stember, MD, assistant professor of urology at the Icahn School at Mount Sinai told Parents.com, “The impact of marijuana on sperm seems to be dose-dependent. The more marijuana used, the more likely a man is to have sperm problems,” 

Be a Sperm Donor also said that marijuana may cause a drop in sperm quality. They said, “smoking marijuana will lead to an increase in your body’s production of estrogen, which causes a drop in testosterone levels which will lead to a drop in semen quality.”

Adjust Your Sexual Habits

Since you’ll have to donate sperm regularly and are constantly screened for STDs, it makes sense to make certain adjustments. For example, you’ll have to be able to practice abstinence a couple of days before you go to donate sperm. Semovo requires its donors to refrain from ejaculation 48 hours before they donate sperm to ensure an optimal sperm count. 

In addition to that, since STDs disqualify you from donating sperm, practicing safe sex just makes sense.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for having healthy testosterone levels. 

According to Be a Sperm Donor, “Sleep deprivation will also cause a drop in your testosterone levels leading to poor semen quality.”

Reducing your weed intake and getting enough sleep at the same time, may seem impossible. For example, some people rely on weed to sleep. For others, decreasing their weed usage may cause withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia. Fortunately, there are other ways you can address your sleep issues. In addition to that, some stoners don’t need weed to sleep and others may not experience insomnia after reducing their weed intake.

Takeaway

Can you donate sperm if you smoke weed? Yes. Sperm donation centers do not typically turn away stoners for simply being stoners. However, using weed can affect the quality and quantity of sperm which could make you ineligible for sperm donation. 

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About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].

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