Every year, thousands of American singles and couples start their family thanks to sperm donation. Although some prefer to opt for a private donor in order to have a baby, many choose to purchase sperm from sperm banks. Some do so because they think it’s a safer option, others simply because they feel more comfortable with the anonymity that a sperm bank provides.
If you are planning to select a sperm donor from a sperm bank, here is what you should know about the sperm bank process.
How are sperm donors recruited?
There are many sperm banks in the USA and each of them has their own requirements and standards regarding their donors. Additionally, the price and the ins and outs of the recruitment process often varies, from one to the other. However, there are certain things that are common to all of these banks.
If a man decides to donate, whether he does so to earn a little extra money or simply because he wants to help a couple to have a child, he first needs to apply. It’s important to know that not every man who wants to be a donor has the right to donate. Only a few potential candidates are eventually accepted.
The first step for those who wish to become a donor is to fill out a questionnaire, whether online, during a meeting or via a phone call. Selection criteria varies from bank to bank.
If the questionnaire is validated, the next step for the candidate is to undergo a series of medical tests. The quality of his sperm and its ability to survive the freezing process is tested first. The potential donor may have to deposit several samples.Once the sample is approved, the candidate must then decide whether they want to be an anonymous or an open donor. An anonymous donor won’t have their identity revealed to the donor-conceived children. Open donors accept that the children will have the right to know their identity when they reach the age of 18.
Most sperm banks require their candidates to be screened for genetic conditions, infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases. Their medical history is also verified. Some banks also check their candidate’s mental health and criminal records. Sometimes, potential donors must undertake personality tests.
Once any health issues have been ruled out, the donor is finally accepted. The amount of compensation varies from bank to bank, but donors can expect to be compensated up to $100 per sample.
The number of specimens that a donor must produce depends on the bank. The donor may be asked to sign a contract to agree to produce a certain amount of samples, for instance, 1 or 2 per week for at least six months. In most cases, sperm donors donate for at least one or two years. The samples are then stored to be used later by women or couples.
What are the requirements for sperm donors?
If you want to donate your sperm or you’re looking for a sperm donor, it’s important to know that most sperm banks thoroughly select their donors. They all have a long list of requirements.
In most cases, sperm banks look for candidates who:
• are aged between 18 to 44. Some banks only select donors aged between 19-38;
• were not adopted;
• don’t have a family history of genetic conditions;
• can produce at least 4 to 8 samples per month;
• can donate for at least 6 months;
• are healthy.
Some banks have even stricter criteria and only accept donors who have been to the most prestigious universities, have a high degree or a respected profession.
How to choose your sperm donor
If you want to get pregnant with a sperm donor, whether this is because you are in a same-sex couple, are a single woman, or because the male partner of your couple has fertility issues such as azoospermia (absence of sperm in the semen) or a condition such as HIV, you may be considering purchasing sperm from a sperm bank. Selecting a sperm donor can be a long and expensive process.
Although most sperm banks test their donors for genetic conditions, this is not an obligation. Therefore, when you select a sperm bank, it’s essential that you take a long look at their standards and criteria for selecting a donor.
It’s best to do some research online before committing to a sperm bank, in order to verify whether they are reliable and trustworthy. Check the customer testimonies, as well as the bank’s website, and make sure to read their recruitment process thoroughly.
Once this is done, you can start to look for donors. These days, many sperm banks have an online catalogue where you can view donors’ profiles. You can sometimes pay a little extra to get more information, such as photographs, interviews or essays.
People looking for a sperm donor have their own set of criteria. It’s a very personal decision. Some will look for a tall man with brown hair and blue eyes. Others will place more importance on the potential donor’s level of education or their interests. There are many criteria to consider, including height, weight, eye color, ethnicity, profession, hobbies, degrees, education, personality, health history, whether they are an anonymous or open donor, etc. It’s up to you. However, a good tip is to choose the kind of person you could marry.
How can I receive sperm?
Once you’ve selected your donor, it’s time to purchase the sample and have it delivered. Depending on the sperm bank, you can either order online or by phone.
Specimens are usually delivered within 48 – 72 hours. Samples are shipped in liquid nitrogen, in order to maintain the required temperature for the duration of shipment. Samples can either be sent directly to your home or to the fertility clinic. If you order sperm overseas, expect to pay additional fees for duty and tax.
How can I get pregnant with donor sperm?
Once you’ve received the sample, what comes next will depend on your fertility, your age and your preferences. You can either have donor insemination performed at home or in a fertility clinic, or undergo in vitro fertilization with donor sperm and/or donor eggs. If you’re considering one of these options to conceive, ask your GP, gynecologist or fertility doctor for their advice.
What are the alternatives to sperm banks?
Purchasing sperm from a sperm bank can be expensive, especially when you also have to pay for fertility treatments. To cut the costs, one potential solution is to select a private donor. Some people are lucky enough to find someone within their social circle (for instance, a friend) who is willing to donate their sperm in order to help them start their family. However, if you don’t know anyone who is willing to do this for you, you can also search for sperm donors online, via social media or a specialized website connecting sperm donors with aspiring parents, such as CoParents.com.
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