Sperm Shopping


If you did not already freeze embryos, it is time to go sperm shopping!  Much like the rest of the fertility journey, the sperm search process is more complicated — and longer — than you might think. 
Do you have a known donor? 
Or, do you want to use an Anonymous Donor? 
What FDA testing is required for sperm donors? 
How do you choose the perfect match? 
And, it you are using a sperm bank its easy to become a ‘sperm-zilla’ as the search parameters (like Match.com) are numerous — from height, hair color, eye color, ethnic origin, education to celebrity look-alike and SAT scores. 
Sperm Shopping

Sperm donors are classified into 5 types each with its own legal, financial and regulatory distinctions:


Known Donor:  Someone you know is willing to give his sperm for home insemination only (not applicable to frozen eggs)
Directed Donor:  Someone you know who is willing to give sperm for clinic insemination
Co-parenting Donor:  Someone you know who is willing to assume parenting responsibilities (financial and logistical)
Open Identity Donor: Sperm bank donor who is willing to be contacted when child reaches a certain age (typically 18)
Anonymous Donor:  Sperm bank donor who wants to remain anonymous and can never be contacted by child
Sperm Banks: What testing is required?
Although regulation of the sperm bank industry is the US is surprisingly loose, the  FDA does require banks to adhere to protocols to prevent disease transmission. 
All sperm bank donors, including Open Identity Donors, must:
  • Test for sexually transmitted diseases
  • CMV (Cytomegalovirus) testing — alignment to your (or egg donors) CMV status
  • Quarantine samples for six months
  • Pass physical exam including screening for genetic illnesses
  • Provide personal and family medical history to screen for hereditary diseases (note: these are verbal intakes requiring no paperwork support and rely solely on the honesty of the donor and diligence of sperm bank)
Should I choose an Anonymous or Open Donor?
For many women, this is a tough one.  How can you predict the future wants and needs of your child?  Is choosing an Anonymous Donor a selfish choice?  Will an Open Donor prove too complicated for your child? 
Think long and hard about this one.  Talk to your friends, family and a lawyer.  You need to look at all sides of the equation and determine which is best for you and your child — now and in the future.
How much does donor sperm cost?
Again, it depends on what type of donor you are using. 
In the US, expect to pay Anonymous and Open Donors approximately $700-900 per vial and about $250 for shipping.
How many vials should I order?
While one vial is typically adequate, your clinic may request two vials as a precaution.  If you do order two vials and only use one, you can store the extra vial, but you will need to pay a storage fee.
Also, some sperm donors are popular and their sperm sell outs quickly.  If you plan on having siblings for your child, you may want to consider ordering additional vials of the same sperm.