Finding a donor in private sperm banks

These days there are several ways to obtain donor sperm, including purchasing samples from private sperm banks. However, considering the huge number of these institutions available, searching for a sperm donor can feel overwhelming. You may be wondering which criteria to use when selecting a sperm bank and how to find the perfect sperm donor. In this guide, you’ll find all the information that you need in order to help you make this important decision.

How much does it cost to buy sperm from a sperm bank?

The price that you’ll pay for a vial of sperm will vary from bank to bank. This will also differ in accordance with your preferences. The price will fluctuate depending on whether you opt for an anonymous or a non-anonymous donor, as well as whether you choose a basic or extended profile. The quality of sperm is also significant when it comes to cost. Unsurprisingly, vials with higher motility sperm are more expensive than those with low motility.

The price of sperm also differs according to the type of vial required for the method of fertility treatment chosen. For example, if you undergo IUI you will need washed sperm, whereas if you undergo ICI, you’ll require unwashed sperm. Other costs to consider when you are looking for a sperm donor are registration fees, as well as the purchase of additional information such as photographs or audio recordings of the donor. On top of that, don’t forget to factor in the cost of your fertility treatment (artificial insemination or IVF). Bear in mind that the number of cycles you will need to successfully conceive will also affect the price, however this is something which unfortunately you cannot predict.


males hand holding plastic jar sperm


How to choose the sperm bank

Considered one of the world’s biggest bank, Cryos, which is based in Denmark, exports vials of sperm to more than a hundred countries around the world. Prices differ from profile to profile, and the higher the sperm motility, the higher the price. A non-anonymous donor is also more expensive than an anonymous donor. Moreover, purified or washed sperm, required to perform IUI (intrauterine insemination), is more expensive than raw sperm, needed for ICI (intracervical insemination).

As an example, a non-anonymous donor with an extended profile can cost you anywhere from $261 (for an ICI-unwashed vial with low motility) to $609 (for high motility sperm). For an IUI-ready vial with the same donor, you will spend anywhere from $285 (for a low motility vial) all the way up to $896 (for high motility). For an anonymous donor with an extended profile, this is $216 (for an IUI-ready and low motility vial) or $611 (for high motility).

At the Sperm Bank of California, the registration fee costs $100 for a standard registration, or $200 for an express same day registration. As for the price of a vial, expect to pay around $700-775 for unwashed sperm from a non-anonymous donor, as opposed to $780-855 for a washed vial. The bank offers a 5% discount if you purchase six or more vials at one time.

For both open identity donor sperm and anonymous donor sperm, Seattle Sperm Bank charges $690 for an IUI-ready (washed) vial or ICI-unwashed vial.
If you opt for an anonymous donor with Fairfax Cryobank, you will pay $775 for an ICI-unwashed sperm vial and $865 for an IUI-washed sperm vial. This is $560 for an IVF-unwashed vial. For a non-anonymous donor, it will cost you $895 for an ICI vial, $995 for an IUI vial, and $730 for IVF.

At Xytex, prices depend also on the type of profile, whether the donor is a select donor, xyLimited, exclusive or xyGene. A vial of a donor with identity disclosure (non-anonymous) will cost you from $640 to $1035 for washed sperm, from $535 to $900 for unwashed sperm, and from $375 to $550 for ICSI (IVF). If you are looking for an anonymous donor, prices vary from $515 to $900 for washed sperm, from $405 to $775 for unwashed sperm, and from $260 to $345 for ICSI.

At Manhattan CryoBank, an anonymous unwashed vial costs $440 and a washed one $520. For ID disclosure donors, an unwashed vial costs $560. Washed sperm is $640.
At California Cryobank, an anonymous donor’s vial costs $795 for ICI and IUI and $325 for IVF (only sold in pairs). If you opt for an open donor, a vial for ICI or IUI is $945, and for IVF $325.

How are donors recruited?

There are many sperm banks in the USA and picking one can seem complicated. One way to help you decide, is having a look at how they recruit their donors. It’s important to note that the eligibility of donors, as well as the recruitment process, varies from bank to bank. However, certain requirements are common to all.

These mandatory requirements for recruitment include:
• Being 18-44 years old. Some banks only select donors aged between 19-38, others between 20-39;
• Providing a family medical history;
• Being capable of producing at least 4 to 8 samples per month (some banks only accept donors who live nearby);
• Donating for at least 6-12 months;
• Being healthy;
• Being at least 5’7” or 5’9” tall (depending on the bank concerned)
• Being legally allowed to work in the US
• Pursuing (or having already completed) a college degree
As requirements vary from bank to bank, we recommend that you check their websites directly.

Although many men apply to become a donor, just a handful will be recruited. If a man wants to donate, they first need to apply by filling out a questionnaire, whether online, via a phone call or in a face-to-face meeting. This will help the bank to decide whether they are eligible or not. If the candidate is accepted, they will be asked to visit the clinic to undergo a series of screening evaluations. The quality of their sperm, as well as its motility and ability to survive the freezing process, are tested. The candidate is then screened for infectious and genetic diseases.

If all of the tests are successful, the candidate signs a contract that commits him to donate for a set period of time (generally for at least 6-12 months). They will also decide whether they want to be an anonymous or non-anonymous donor. It’s important to know that adults conceived via a donation can have access to a non-anonymous (or open) donor’s identifying information once they reach the age of 18.

Are sperm donors paid?

Yes, sperm donors recruited by sperm banks are paid or compensated for their donation, and to cover certain expenses such as transportation and medical testing. The amount of the compensation that they will receive varies according to the sperm bank.
At Cryos USA, the amount of compensation is calculated based on the quality and volume of the sperm. Non-anonymous sperm donors with an extended profile are paid extra.
At NWCryobank, a donor who donates 2-3 times a week can earn up to $1,000 per month. At Phoenix Sperm Bank, donors receive $70 for each approved donation. The Sperm Bank of California pays their donors $125 per vial. Most of their donors earn $400 to $600 per month. They can earn an additional $100 by providing a childhood picture. At Xytex, donors can earn as much as $1,800 a month.

How to choose a sperm bank

The first thing to do when you search for a sperm donor is to have a look at each sperm banks’ individual website. To help you make your choice, it’s best to read the reviews written by the recipients, as well as the accreditations. It’s a very important decision, so you need to make sure that you are choosing a trustworthy bank. Before registering, you can also check the number of donors available and compare prices between banks.
Additionally, some people feel reassured knowing that they will have access to guidance or counselling. This might not necessarily be the case for you. However, it’s always reassuring to know that there is someone ready to answer your questions and give you advice when you need it. Make sure that the sperm bank you choose offers counselling and call service.

Choosing a sperm donor, step by step

To purchase donor sperm from a sperm bank, you may have to register or set up an online account first. On certain sperm banks’ websites, you can browse their online catalog without registering, which allows you to judge whether or not to commit.
When it comes to selecting a donor, each recipient has their own set of criteria. Some look for a donor that shares the same hair and eye color as them. For others, the level of their potential donor’s education is a priority. The kind of information that is usually provided includes the donor type (anonymous or non-anonymous), ethnicity, hair color, eye color, skin tone, blood type, religion, education, profession, interests and even their astrological sign or favorite pet!

You have the choice between anonymous and non-anonymous donors. Contrary to ID disclosure donors, anonymous donors have asked not to have their identifying information revealed to recipients or adult children. If you opt for an open donor or ID disclosure, you’ll have to complete and sign an agreement.
Another important thing to consider before starting your search is which type of fertility treatment you will undergo in order to become pregnant. It’s best to seek advice from your specialist. The type of sperm that you’ll need to purchase will depend on whether you are having IUI, IVF or ICI. Unwashed samples are used for ICI, at-home inseminations and IVF, whereas washed samples are used for intrauterine insemination.

To help you choose your donor, you can narrow down your search and request more information from them. This might include the number of successful pregnancies they have facilitated, an audio interview with them or even some childhood pictures. You might not find someone who corresponds to your criteria straight away, so it’s important to keep searching and to recheck the catalog regularly.

How can I use donor sperm?

Once you have chosen your donor, it’s time to proceed to the checkout. Please note that one vial means one attempt at IVF or artificial insemination. Although no one can know exactly how many vials will be needed before pregnancy occurs, in general, the more cycles you undergo, the higher the chances of conceiving. Therefore, many recipients consider buying several vials in order to maximize their odds of getting pregnant.

You can order your vials online or over the phone and have the sample delivered to a place of your choice, or stored at the bank for collection at a later date. If you have decided to perform the insemination yourself in your own home, you can have the samples delivered directly to your address. If you are undergoing IUI or IVF with donor sperm, it’s best to have the sample delivered to the clinic. Additionally, you can calculate and plan to have the vial arrive a few days before the insemination.
Shipping fees will vary depending on where you live, the way samples are conditioned during the shipment (nitrogen tank or dry ice) and whether you want the delivery to be express, standard or overnight. It’s important to know that a nitrogen tank will keep sperm frozen for seven days. However, with a dry ice container this is reduced to around 3 days.

Shipping fees also vary from bank to bank. For instance, at Fairfax Cryobank, it will cost you $205 for a 2-day delivery and $230-250 for overnight within the USA. If you order sperm overseas, expect to pay additional fees for duty and tax.

How can I store donor sperm?

If you are planning to buy several vials for later use, you might consider storage. With some banks, the first few months or first year of storage is free of charge if you buy a certain number of vials.

At the Seattle Sperm Bank, you can store your vials in a cryobank for future inseminations. This is $100 for a month of storage, $200 for 2-6 months, $350 for 1 year and $500 for 2 years. California Cryobank charges $285 for 6 months, $485 for 1 year and $1,085 for 3 years.

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