How to Find the Right Sperm Donor
While many women love to shop, most don’t see themselves shopping for a sperm donor in the future. However, depending on your infertility diagnosis, you may find yourself shopping online for the man who fits the best “ideal” of what you and/or your partner are looking for in your child’s DNA make-up.
Sperm donors are also integral in the building of modern LGBTQ+ families. Even gay couples may choose to use a sperm donor if there are male infertility factors at work or if they want to maintain a neutral ground – rather than having to choose one partner’s sperm over the others.
Tips For Choosing the Right Sperm Donor
Here are some things to consider as you decide how to choose the sperm donor for IUI or IVF.
Investigate the sperm bank
Not all sperm banks are created equal. It is worth it to thoroughly vet the sperm bank you choose. Currently, there is very minimal to zero regulation of these agencies. Your fertility clinic is a wise source of referrals as they will only do business with the best, most reputable and reliable clinics.
You will also want to check in with the sperm bank to determine:
- How much information they release – or keep track of. In most cases, the more the better so you can learn as much as you can about the donor. This includes the bank’s ability to communicate with the sperm donor over time in case an issue comes up with a child’s health – in which case the donor’s medical history or family history might be able to answer certain questions.
- Whether they track outcomes. Just as you want to know a fertility clinic’s live birth rates for IVF, it’s nice to have an idea of the live birth rates for the sperm bank. Obviously, you want to choose a bank with relatively high success rates as this is an indicator of better sperm quality and cryogenic practices.
- Do they set sibling limits? ASRM recommends no more than 25 offspring per population of 800,000. Even so some sperm banks set higher limits anyway – upwards or 50 or 150 offspring per donor. You may want to ask what your prospective clinics’ limits are.
- Important health information. It is also critical that you choose a bank that has tested for STD’s, and where donors have gone through genetic testing to rule out the possibility that they are carriers for particular common genetic or chromosomal disorders. Comprehensive information pertaining to the donor’s personal and family medical history is also very important for you to access.
Once you feel comfortable with your choice of sperm bank, you can get on with the business of selecting the individual donor.
Choose only two or three important search criteria to start
These days, most donor searches can be done online. We recommend beginning your search with only one, two or – maybe – three important search criteria. If you get too specific right from the get-go, you might rule out men who were actually the “just right” donor for you. By choosing core elements (perhaps the same ethnic mix as you and your husband, or a shorter man if you both are shorter, etc. etc.) you broaden the scope of the donors you’ll sort through from there.
View their photos – current and past
Many sperm banks have a range of photos of the donors – beginning with baby and childhood and continuing to the present. If you are interested in having a child that seems to fit in the middle somewhere – looking at these photos will help you identify features, proportions or expressions that seem similar or familiar between both the two of you and/or your extended family members.
Some sperm banks even offer photo matching services, where you send in a few photos of yourselves, as well as photos of what you imagine your future child might look like, and the staff will work to find as close of a match as possible.
What are your personality types?
Any parents with 100% biological children will be happy to tell you that the personality type of your child is more of a crap shoot than it is predicted by how you and your partner are by nature. That being said, if you have the opportunity to learn more about the donor’s personality, why not take it?
Some donor banks have incredibly detailed information about their donor’s strengths, weaknesses, talents, hobbies, and even their behavioral traits – including detailed essays written by the donors themselves. Some sperm banks will even include the results of the donor’s Keirsey personality tests if that is meaningful to you as you go through the selection process.
Are you considering the use of donor sperm to make your parenting dreams come true? Contact us here at RRC and we’ll be happy to direct you to some of the most reputable and successful donor banks in the nation.
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.