Sema4 Announces Collaboration with California Cryobank to Improve and Expand Genetic Screening for Sperm Donors
Stamford, CT — October 17, 2017 — Sema4, a Mount Sinai venture providing advanced genomic testing, and California Cryobank (Cryobank), the worldwide leader in frozen donor sperm and egg banking, today announced a collaboration to bring comprehensive genetic screening to new Cryobank sperm donors via its DNA Advantage™ Program utilizing the Sema4 Expanded Carrier Screen. By offering reciprocal testing for sperm donor recipients, the Sema4 Expanded Carrier Screen provides a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the risk of passing any of 281 inherited diseases onto a child via a simple blood sample. Both Sema4’s and Cryobank’s genetic counseling teams will be available to help donors and prospective parents understand screening results, and provide compassionate guidance on future reproductive options.
Through the DNA Advantage™ Program, Cryobank will gain access to Sema4’s comprehensive capabilities in reproductive health testing, which, in addition to superior carrier screening, include DNA extraction and storage for a number of sample types and karyotyping. The companies will work together to develop new tools and processes to support the fertility process, such as enhancing the online portal for ordering and test results review. Sema4 has already screened many of Cryobank’s sperm donors, several of whom have been selected by patients seeking donors with expanded genetic testing.
“Interest in preconception care and genetic risk testing is growing as potential parents, and those who help serve their needs, seek to better understand the risk of passing a genetic disorder along to a child. With so many devastating hereditary diseases, people are often looking for assurance that a child will not inherit risk for the same disease from both parents,” said Sema4 Chief Executive Officer Eric Schadt, PhD. “We are very pleased to work with Cryobank, which is taking the lead in offering comprehensive genetic risk screening to the reproductive community as part of its mission to help people conceive healthy babies. By encouraging parallel screening for both donors and recipients, we will be better able to help reduce the risk for donor-conceived offspring to inherit one of these genetic diseases.”
“At California Cryobank, our stringent donor qualification — which includes strict specimen quality standards, psychological screening, a three-generation family medical history review, and genetic and infectious disease screening — allows less than 1% of all applicants to qualify as sperm donors,” said Dr. Jaime Shamonki, Cryobank’s Executive Medical Director. “It is important to us that our genetic testing partners share our vision for the increasing importance of genetics data to donor-conceived children. We chose Sema4 for their comprehensive excellence: with scientific leadership, expertise in genetics, broad testing and sample options, and advanced analytics, they serve as a true ‘one-stop shop’ for reproductive health testing. We look forward to working closely with the Sema4 team to improve the entire fertility process.”About California Cryobank
Founded in 1977, California Cryobank provides frozen donor sperm and donor egg services, reproductive tissue storage, and cord blood and cord tissue banking (through subsidiary FamilyCord). Cryobank is registered with the FDA, accredited by the AATB and AABB, and licensed by the states of California and New York. Cryobank is a portfolio company of two healthcare-focused private investment firms, Longitude Capital and NovaQuest Capital Management.About Sema4
Sema4 is a next-generation health information company, spun out of the Mount Sinai Health System, that provides advanced genomic testing and merges big data analytics with clinical diagnostics. Our team creates practical tools that help patients, clinicians, and researchers better diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. We are striving to construct a more comprehensive picture of health by integrating three key elements: a wealth of clinical experience that informs the answers that patients and providers are seeking, the world-class academic research that illuminates new directions, and the pioneering information science that puts all the pieces together.