What are The Steps I Need to Follow if I am Ready to Use Donor Sperm?

October 14, 2013

Blog written by Fairfax Cryobank Laboratory Director, Michelle Ottey, PhD. 

What are the steps I need to follow if I am ready to use Donor Sperm?

1. Select a physician who can manage your medical care

Typically these are obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) or infertility specialists like Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs).  Once you have selected a physician, you will meet with him/her to access your overall health issues involving a future pregnancy, the procedures that are best suited for your reproductive needs, and the timing of any attempts using donor insemination (DI). If DI is the approach chosen, you are ready to start the sperm donor selection process.

 2. Choose your Donor

Choosing the ideal sperm donor from a sperm bank typically takes several weeks or more as you review all your options. Your physician may have some recommended sperm banks for you to consider.  Sperm Banks are often called `Cryobanks’ because they store frozen (cryopreserved) specimens. Donor lists at the largest sperm banks are online and allow you to sort them based on your preferences. Many also provide personalized services that make the selection process easier.

Donors have detailed family and personal medical histories for your review. They undergo extensive screening including thorough medical examinations and testing for genetic diseases and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.  The FDA regulates the donor screening process and all sperm banks must comply and pass regular inspections.  Testing standards between sperm banks differ, as some do more than the FDA requires so you may want to investigate this before choosing a sperm bank. Many sperm banks say they accept less than 1% of those who apply as they set high standards for semen quality, healthy family and medical history and infectious and genetic disease testing.

For the donors that make it through the screening process, extensive donor information is available online. Not only can you select a donor based on physical characteristics and ethnic background, you may be able to listen to audio interviews, look at childhood and adult photographs, match the donor to photos of loved ones, read personality profiles and essays, and even learn what a sperm bank’s staff thinks of the donors they work with every day. Personal profiles include education, talents and many other unique aspects of the donor.  Medical histories review health issues for the donor and his extended family. Donors who have been available for at least six months often have a history of a proven pregnancy.

3. Purchase Donor Sperm

If you would like to have more than one child, you can purchase more than you will need for your first attempts and store with the Cryobank.  This ensures that you will have vials for future pregnancies even if the Cryobank sells out of your donor choice.  If you store on site at the Cryobank, there are often buy back options for vials you do not use. The Cryobank will work with you and the clinic to arrange shipping to the clinic so that the donor sperm is there when you are ready for your insemination.  Alternatively, some Cryobanks facilitate home delivery with Physician authorization.  If you prefer home delivery and home insemination, it is important to understand the relevant parentage laws in your home state.

Fairfax Cryobank Blog

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