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The Sperm Bank Route

The Sperm Bank Route

Many single women and lesbian couples purchase sperm from a sperm bank for artificial insemination. This may be an option for you if you have not got a friend to donate sperm to you or you cannot find a suitable match on an introductory website such as Co-ParentMatch.com.  In these circumstances accessing a sperm bank is a great option.

It is estimated that approximately 30% of couples have an infertility problem that is due to the male partner. There have been many advances in recent years in the treatment of male factor infertility, yet there are a number of couples for which these treatments are either inappropriate, or unsuccessful.

Microscopic image of sperm swimming towards egg

What is a Sperm Bank?

Sperm banks are specific clinics where sperm donors provide semen specimens, for Andrology professionals to perform medical procedures for freezing and storing the semen until it is used for artificial insemination.

Sperm banks are also known as Cryobanks. There are estimated to be approximately 150 sperm banks in the United State alone. Often sperm banks are clustered around universities where many young men live who are considered to be intelligent and virile. As a result, as many as 90 percent of all sperm donors are college students.

Sperm donors in the USA can receive from $30 to $90 for each semen sample. The fee in the the UK has recently been increased to around £30 per donation. A sperm donor must pass strict screening procedures and thereafter the donation process is simple.

Is there a sperm bank near me? What is the sperm donor pay?

If you would like to recommend a sperm bank or fertility clinic to add to this page please contact us.

The Sperm Donation Process at a Sperm Bank

The donation process itself involves walking into a private room, which usually has pornography freely available in the form of DVD’s and magazines, and the donor then masturbates into a sterile container. The sperm sample is collected, sealed in vials and frozen with liquid nitrogen. The frozen semen is stored at -321 degrees F. Sperm must be frozen and stored for a minimum six-month period to ensure against the presence of disease. After this sixth month quarantine period the semen sample may be thawed when needed and used in artificial insemination.

There is no shortage of sperm banks worldwide and all of them will differ in their prices and their availability of donors. All sperm banks will have thorough regulations they must adhere to with regards to donor screening and procedures involved in the preparation of sperm for aided fertility.

US Cryobanks

The services provided for sperm donation at a Cryobank include:

  • Semen analyses
  • Semen preparation for fertility procedures
  • Private Sperm Storage

Cryobanks offer a range of reproductive services for those who need help getting pregnant. They can help straight couples, single women, and same-sex couples to become pregnant.

Sperm donation at a Cryobank

Sperm donors are thoroughly screened before being accepted on to the sperm bank donor program. Only a very small percentage of applicants are accepted in the selection process.

Sperm donors are subjected to thorough medical and genetic screening. Donors also have their background and family medical history examined.

Known Sperm Donor Services at a Sperm Bank

Here you can select a known sperm donor from Co-ParentMatch.com and get your fertility treatment through a sperm bank.

Using a Known Donor at a Cryobank

If you know somebody who you wish to be your sperm donor or you have met a donor on Co-ParentMatch.com you can take your donor along to a cryobank where he will have a screening process as would an anonymous donor.

The screening process can take 6-12 months during and your donor will have a consultation, semen analysis and an optional test freeze.

You known donor will complete a physical exam. Known donors are then required to have an initial blood test and retained semen specimen.

The blood test covers general health such as cholesterol, hemoglobin, etc. and infectious disease.

A complete semen analysis, including a post freeze analysis, is performed on the semen specimen.

Your donor will also have a consultation about his family and medical history and genetic testing will be discussed with the donor. Some genetic tests may be required and others will be optional.

Your donor will then be required to make additional semen specimens by appointment.

The standard quarantine period for semen specimens is six months. Following the quarantine period, your donor must complete a final blood test in order to release the sperm specimens.

You can then either pick up the vials at the Cryobank or the sperm bank will have them shipped out.

Cryobank Services

Cryobanks enable you to:

  • Have semen analysed
  • Store sperm
  • Access fertility treatment with your known donor

 

Choosing a Sperm Donor from a Cryobank

Choosing to use donor sperm for artificial insemination can bring a whole host of emotions. Sperm donors will have audio interviews and staff impressions to help you choose a donor off the sperm bank list. If you choose a donor from Co-ParentMatch.com you will get to meet that person face to face.

Cryobanks also offers private semen, egg and embryo storage.

Choosing the right sperm bank with one of the most important steps in your life is a big decision.

Choosing a sperm donor is a massive decision and once you have found the right donor you want to be sure of finding a good fertility centre for your treatment.

Sperm donors at a Cryobank must pass fit a certain criteria including:

  • Height - Must be at least 5'9" or taller
  • Age - Between 19-38 years old
  • Education - Attending a 4-year University or holding a Bachelor's or Advanced Degree
  • Health - Must be in good health
  • Immigration- Legally allowed to work in the US

Everyone has a different method for selecting a sperm donor and you will all use your own personal combination of search preferences.

If you are looking to select a sperm donor who has a physical resemblance to your partner of family members then you can use a matching service at the Cryobank. The consultants will compare your photograph with the sperm donors they deal with.

The Cryobank will analyze family medical histories of their sperm donor applicants in order to consider any genetic issues that may effect children born as a result of using the donor sperm.

Prices for buying your sperm at a Cryobank

A hand holding cash notes

Purchasing donor sperm from the Cryobank - here’s what you can expect to pay:

  • View child photos of sperm donors $145
  • Intracervical Insemination $490
  • Intrauterine Insemination $615
  • View facial feature reports, donor conversations, Keirsey reports $250
  • Semen storage $260 to $2,550 (depedning on number of years)
  • Shipping Costs vary

If you are using an anonymous donor you can collect the semen vials in person which helps to avoid expensive shipping costs.

Having a second child with a Cryobank

If you decide to have another child with your sperm donor you may already have some vials frozen at your sperm bank or fertility clinic. If your original donor is no longer available there are likely to be significant additional fees to order further sperm.

Cryobanks will help families in every part of the process of choosing a sperm donor and helping you conceive.

Once you have found your donor and become pregnant sperm banks will often keep you informed with any updates on your donor. You will be joining donor families from around the world and may find that your child has siblings. There are sibling networks available for children born from sperm donors and this maybe something you wish to explore.  

Children born through donor insemination are a blessing to their parents who have often planned this for many years. Their arrival brings much gratitude and love.

Donor children may ask information about their conception. They may have questions about their biological parents or their siblings. Your sperm bank can help with this through a sibling registry system.
If you choose to take part in sibling registry you will have access to information about births of potential siblings including profiles and email contact.

Many couples go through the heartache of being informed by their sperm bank that their donor is no longer available and no further vials of sperm can be used to create a sibling for your child.

Sperm banks offer a vial buy back scheme where by if you purchase more vials than you need and do not use them the sperm bank will buy these vials back at 50% of the cost which is some compensation.

This type of scheme will help to keep your options open should you consider having further pregnancies from your sperm donor.

Cryobanks also offers the flexibility of exchanging your vials for any other sperm donor should you wish to swap donors.

Sperm Banks in the UK

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authorityis the UK's independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research.

The HFEA licenses fertility clinics and centres carrying out in vitro fertilisation(IVF), other assisted conception procedures and human embryo research.

How Anonymity works with the HFEA register

The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) keeps a confidential register of information about donors, patients and treatments. The register was set up on 1st August 1991 and contains information concerning children conceived from licensed treatments from that date onwards.

From 2008 people aged 16+ contemplating marriage, or those over 18 who ask the HFEA, will be told whether or not they were born as a result of licensed assisted conception treatment and if so, whether they are related to the person they want to marry. As the law now stands (ie, as at April 2008) for children conceived before April 1st 2005 that is the only information that will be disclosed by the HFEA.

From 1st April 2005, the HFEA has, however, required all gamete donors to provide identifying information. This information will enable the HFEA to inform a donor in the future of any enquiries made by a child that has been born following a donation when that child reaches the age of 18. The HFEA will not disclose any information without first contacting the donor.

Donor-conceived siblings can contact each other with the help of the HFEA

Donor conceived people will be able to get in touch with others who share the same donor, their genetic siblings, through a new service launched by the HumanFertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in April 2010.

Around 2,000 people are born each year as a result of the donation of sperm, eggs or embryos. Since the launch of the HFEA in August 1991 around 36,000 donor conceived people have been born following treatment at a HFEA licensed centre.

Anyone conceived through donor conception treatment, and who has turned 18 years old, will be able to join Donor Sibling Link (DSL) , to find out if there are other people who share the same donor. If there are, they will be able to choose to exchange their contact details if they wish to.

DSL will only put people in touch with each other if they consent to sharing their contact information. Only donor-conceived siblings will be able to share information, it will not be available to others including their own parents or other family members. Donor conceived people will also be able to opt out at any point.

Prof Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said:

"Donor conceived people all have their own individual views on this. Many I know put huge value on knowing they have donor conceived siblings. Sharing your experiences with someone in the same position as you can be very worthwhile and people will have their own reasons for wanting to make contact. The great thing is they now have the opportunity to do so, and the choice will be theirs".

Olivia Montuschi, co-founder of the Donor Conception Network said:

“Our experience has shown that donor conceived young people are much more interested in half siblings than they are in their donor. We think that this is a wonderful service to help those people get in touch with each other.”

 

Support Organisations for Sperm Donors

  Australia Canada Europe New Zealand UK USA
Donor Sibling Registry
The Donor Sibling Registry is a website and non-profit US organisation serving donor offspring, sperm donors, egg donors and other donor conceived people.
         
Donor Conception Network
A UK charity committed to supporting donor conceived families.
         
National Gamete Donation Trust
A UK charity dedicated to recruiting and supporting egg and sperm donors.
         
Fertility Network UK
A leading UK charity which provides support with all aspects of fertility treatment.
         
HFEA
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is the UK's independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research.
         

Take me to:

A sperm donor looking at laptop smiling

Can I become a sperm donor at a sperm bank?

Donated sperm stocks are low so if you are a healthy male, aged between 18 and 45, you may be eligible to donate sperm.

The following men should not apply to become donors:

  • Intravenous drug users
  • If you live in an area with high HIV rate and you have had unprotected sex
  • If you have had unprotected sex with multiple partners in the last six months
  • If you are adopted and do not know the medical history of your biological parents.

Will I get paid for my sperm donation?

Sperm donors may have reasonable expenses reimbursed, including travel and loss of earnings.

Sperm donor anonymity 

In many countries the law allows individuals who are donor-conceived to access information about their sperm donor for medical, social and emotional reasons.

Donors must register information for example physical characteristics and medical background and identifying information such as full name and date of birth.

Recipients of donor sperm are allowed access to non-identifying information only and those conceived with donor sperm can also request the non-identifying informationfrom the age of 16 and the identifying information from the age of 18.

The donor will be notified before any information is released.

Legal responsibility of sperm donors at sperm banks

Sperm donors donating through licensed clinics have NO legal or financial responsibility for any child conceived using their sperm, even if the donor-conceived individual contacts you.

What is the procedure at a sperm bank?

You will be required to produce identification and you willbe asked to complete a questionnaire about your personal and family medical history.

You will then be asked to produce a sperm sample in a private room. Sperm banks usually recommend that you abstain from sex or masturbation for three days before your appointment in order to produce the best possible sample.

Your sperm sample will then be analyzed to check for sperm count, motility and normal shape and form.

If your sample is suitable you will then have to have blood and urine tests to screen for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Further tests on your blood and urine include:

  • ABO-Rh Blood typing
  • HIV
  • HTLV I/II
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody
  • Hepatitis C Viral Antibody
  • Syphilis (RPR)
  • CMV lgG/lgM
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

Once you are accepted as a donor you can make donations when ever you want and a commitment to making regular donations is important as sperm banks like to collect 20-25 samples from each donor.

Every sperm sample must be frozen and held in quarantine for six months. After this period of time you will be asked to visit the sperm bank again for further blood and urine tests.

Choosing Your Donor from a Sperm Bank

Choosing a sperm donor through Co-ParentMatch.com means you will get to meet your donor in person. You can then decide if they have the characteristics, looks and personality that you would like to pass on to your baby. Choosing a donor from a sperm bank means that you will have to make your selection based on baby photos and written personal information provided by the sperm bank staff and possibly the donor himself.

Take me to:

Find a Reputable Sperm Bank

Investigate a number of sperm banks before making your final choice. Do your homework by visiting sperm bank web sites and looking at their stats. Check the sperm bank you are using is licensed and accredited.

Medical Testing

Sperm banks are required to screen all donors to check they are disease free. Screening includes tests for HIV, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as genetic problems. Sperm banks will do a thorough evaluation of donors’ medical history. Frozen sperm will be quarantined for 6 months and the donor will then be re-tested after this period of time to ensure he is still disease free.

Lady lying down looking for sperm donor on a laptop

Where are the donors recruited from?

Ask your sperm bank if they recruit a certain type of donor such as students or tradesmen. Some sperm banks focus their recruitment in specific geographical locations.

Why should I look at the CMV Status of my sperm donor?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus which is part of the herpes family of viruses. Once you are infected with CMV it will remain inactive in your body for the rest of your life. CMV causes few symptoms in most people.

CMV can be spread through sperm donation and there is no cure. It is one of the most common viral infections and around 50% of adults may have the virus.

Congenital CMV is an infection which can develop whena woman is pregnant and infects the unborn baby so it is important to look at your sperm donor’s medical information and if the sperm bank you are using declares if their donors carry the CMV virus.

Donor Confidentiality

What is an open ID donor? - Open ID donors are also known as ID release donors.  In the USA and some European countries these are donors who have agreed to be contacted by their adult offspring when the child reaches 18 years of age.

Laws around open ID donors and anonymity of donors varies greatly in different countries so be sure to check with your individual sperm bank on their anonymity policies.

Donor Profiles

View donor profiles on the sperm bank websites. Some sperm banks will charge you to access donor profiles. Look at the donors physical characteristics, race, ethnic background, educational background, occupation, general health, and hobbies and interests. Some sperm banks will provide baby photos of the donor.

Personal characteristics

Search by personal characteristics such as skin colour, hair colour and eye colour. Some sperm banks will show baby photos and on others they may also show toddler, adolescent and adult photos. Often if the donor is an open ID donor there will be a good selection of photos to view.

Number of Pregnancies

Once you have found the donor you want based on looks and personal characteristics find out how many pregnancies the donor has previously produced. Ask what countries those pregnancies have been in.

Washed or Unwashed Sperm

If you are going for IUI then you will need to order washed sperm unless your individual clinic has facilities to wash the sperm for you.

'Washed' sperm means the sperm is separated from the semen.

Washing or spinning the sperm is a laboratory technique for separating sperm from semen and separating non-motile sperm from motile sperm.

The ejaculate is mixed with a washing medium followed by centrifugation (spun at high speed). The sperm rich fraction left at the end of this spinning process is mixed with more washing medium and the process repeated 2-3 times until only the highest quality sperm remain. This is then placed into a test tube ready for insemination.

Motile Sperm - Pre-thaw and post thaw

Due to regulations sperm most be frozen for at least 6 months so there is a question as to how well a man’s sperm will react to that freezing and thawing process. Sperm samples vary in the amount of motile sperm that will survive the thaw. Sperm banks interpret these figures differently so be carefully when you purchase sperm from a sperm bank that the motility level you are purchasing is pre-thaw or post thaw.

Sperm Motility Analysis

Post thaw numbers will always be lower than pre-thaw numbers because some sperm die during the freezing/thawing process so if one bank is selling pre-thaw 20% motility and one is selling 20% post thaw motility for the same price buy the post-thaw as you know that figure includes those sperm that have dies and that is the good sperm you are left with.

How many children is a sperm bank donor allowed to conceive?

Most sperm banks have a limit of 10 successful pregnancies for their donors and they also have limits on the number of donor sperm samples that are eligible for release in certain countries. This is to prevent interbreeding with half brothers and sisters who you may not know are related to you when the children are older. When selecting your donor check their sperm is eligible for release in your country of residence.

Related Articles:

Legal Facts

Sperm Donation

Artificial Insemination

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