10 Steps to Take Before Ordering Sperm

August 05, 2022

Guest Blogger, Christina Barnes, MSN, CPNP, helps break down the necessary steps to take before ordering donor sperm.

Have you decided to start growing your family with donor sperm? The journey to parenthood can be overwhelming, and the process of trying to conceive with donor sperm can feel quite complicated. In order to help guide you through, here is a list of 10 steps to take before ordering donor sperm:

  1. Know Your Vial Type

Sperm samples come in washed or unwashed vials, and which preparation you use will depend on the type of procedure you’re having. Washed specimens are used for intrauterine insemination (IUI), while unwashed specimens are used for intracervical insemination (ICI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). For more on sperm vial type, check out A Simple Guide to Choosing Your Sperm Vial

  1. Determine How Many Vials of Sperm You Need

The best way to figure this out is to speak with your medical provider about your specific needs, given your fertility and planned treatments. Generally, one vial equals one try, and it may take more than one try to become pregnant. You may choose to order more if you want additional children in the future (see #8 below). For more on knowing how many vials to order, check out How Many Vials of Donor Sperm Will I Need? 

  1. Know Where To Ship The Vials

Verify the shipping address with your medical provider if your vials will be sent to a clinic. If you want the vials shipped to your home address for home insemination, the cryobank will need authorization from your medical provider. 

  1. Know When The Vials Need to Arrive

Speak with your medical provider about when they need the sperm vials relative to your cycle or procedure. Some clinics want the sperm on site before starting a cycle, while others may be fine with getting the sperm a few days before your procedure. Fairfax Cryobank allows you to order the sperm with a later shipping date within 30 days to ensure you get the donor you want. If your procedure date is more than 30 days away, you can still order the vials and place them in storage. See Fairfax Cryobank’s Ordering & Shipping FAQs for more detailed information.

  1. Ensure Your Physician Has an Account with Fairfax Cryobank

Your medical provider will need an account with Fairfax Cryobank so that you can order vials. If your provider has received shipments from Fairfax Cryobank in the past for other patients, they have an account. They need to set up an account through customer service if they don’t already have one. If you’re unsure whether your provider has an account, you can contact customer service directly to check. 

  1. Confirm Genetic Suitability

Make sure your sperm donor will be a good genetic match for your egg source, either you or an egg donor. If you are a carrier for a genetic disease, you’ll want to make sure your donor is not a carrier for that same disease. Your medical provider may recommend that you have genetic testing done before selecting a donor. Genetic testing can take some time to complete, especially if you’re testing for rare diseases, so plan for that accordingly. For more information on genetic suitability with sperm donors, visit Fairfax Cryobank’s Genetic FAQs.

  1. Choose ID or non-ID Donor

Understand the difference between ID donors and non-ID donors, and decide whether it’s important to you to have a certain donor type. ID donors have agreed to share contact information with offspring when the offspring reaches the age of 18. Non-ID donors do not share identifying information with offspring at any point. Learn more about the ID Donor Program and what it means for your family. 

  1. Buy Enough Sperm for Future Attempts

Each donor has a limited supply of vials, and it’s not uncommon for donors to sell out. If you want to make sure you have enough sperm for more children in the future, it’s a good idea to buy the vials now and save them for future use. You can even buy the vials and keep them stored at Fairfax Cryobank. If you decide later that you don’t want the vials, Fairfax Cryobank will buy the vials back at 50 percent of the original cost as long as they haven’t left the facility. For more on this service, see Vial Buy Back

  1. Be Prepared to Pay in Full

In general, sperm banks do not accept insurance, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay in full when you submit your order. Fairfax Cryobank will provide receipts so that you can submit the expenses to your insurance. Every insurance company has different policies for reimbursement, so if you’re planning on do this, check with your insurance company before you order so that you’re financially prepared. 

  1. Check CMV status

Ask your medical provider whether your donor needs to be CMV negative. If you’re CMV negative and inseminating through ICI or IUI, you’ll likely need a CMV negative donor. The donor’s CMV status may be less important for IVF, but you’ll need to verify this with your provider before ordering. CMV and donor sperm can be confusing, so visit CMV and Pregnancy to understand how donor CMV status affects pregnancy. 

When you feel ready to get started with ordering donor sperm, or if you have any questions, please contact Client Services at 800-338-8407.

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