How to Choose a Sperm Donor

Couple

For heterosexual couples who are unable to conceive using the partner’s sperm, for women same-sex couples, or a single woman who desires to give birth to a child, sperm donation is an effective and safe option.

 

The pace to start is finding a good sperm bank. Your physician will be able to recommend one to you, or you may already know someone who has used one. You can also find out more information online from the American Infertility Association. You don’t necessarily have to look for a local sperm bank, because frozen sperm can be shipped safely anywhere throughout the United States.

 

Before you make your final choice do some background research into a number of different sperm banks so you can be sure of choosing the right one for you. Check out their websites and contact them for brochures and further written information. Make sure that the sperm banks you are considering are licensed and accredited. Medical professionals agree that the most reputable licensing programs are the New York State Department of Health and The American Association of Tissue Banks.     

 

Find out about medical testing within each facility. Sperm banks have a legal obligation to test all donors for genetic defects as well as hepatitis, HIV and other sexually transmittable diseases. They also make a thorough evaluation of every donor’s medical history. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that all sperm donations be frozen and placed in quarantine for six months after the initial HIV test. After the six month period a second HIV test is performed, to make sure that the sperm donor and his samples are healthy.

 

Here are some questions you should ask individual sperm banks when you are leaning how they operate.

 

·         How many sperm donors do they work with?

·         What age donors does the bank recruit?

·         What are the backgrounds of the donors?

·         In what way and at what time do donors give up their legal rights to a child conceived using their donated sperm?

·         How does the sperm bank maintain confidentiality?

 

When you have decided on a suitable clinic you will be ready to make a request for donor profiles. The facility should send you information about their donors’ age, race, ethnic background, physical traits, general health, education, occupational history, interests and hobbies. Many sperm banks will also provide photos of donors as a child and as an adult.

Once you have chosen a donor who’s profile and characteristics are most suited to you, ask for information on how often his sperm has been used in a successful pregnancy. There is a recommended limit which is intended to reduce the chances of a donor’s offspring ever meeting each other and conceiving children. The usual limit is ten.

FAQ For Sperm Donors

Leland in Profile

Becoming a sperm donor many not be as simple as you might think. There is usually a strict screening process to go through, to ensure the highest standard of service for the recipient. Here are some questions you may be wondering about sperm donation.

 

How do I become a sperm donor?

You begin the process by filling in our online application form.

 

Are there any basic requirements to becoming a CCB sperm donor?

Yes, there are a number of basic requirements to become a potential donor. You must be at least 5’ 9” tall and between the ages of 19 and 38. You must either be attending a university or have already earned a Bachelor’s or more advanced degree. You must be legally allowed employment in the United States. Meeting these basic requirements is just the first step on the road to becoming a potential sperm donor.

 

What happens if I meet the basic requirements?

After meeting the basic requirements you may be asked to take the next step, which is our screening process. It is this stage that will ultimately qualify you for our sperm donor program. 

 

What about my medical history?

You must be in good health. If you make it through to our screening process, we will require you to take a full physical examination, which will include a blood and semen test, genetic screening, screening for infectious diseases, an assessment of your family history and may also involve other evaluations. You may be required to take a follow-up examination after three or six months.

 

What things might disqualify me from becoming a sperm donor?

You may be disqualified from the program due to your family or medical history, if you have a low sperm count or your semen has poor motility, or if you test positive for genetic disorders or infectious diseases.

 

How long will it take me to become a qualified sperm donor?

It will take 3 months or more to complete the full screening process.

 

How often do I have to come to the sperm bank?

You must be prepared to make visits to the sperm bank 1-3 ties each week for at least six months, sometimes longer.

 

Will I get paid for my sperm donation?

The CCB pays $100 for each sperm donation. You may also receive bonuses for additional items such as photos or yourself as a baby or adult. You may also receive more money if you agree to become an “open donor.” This means that you agree to allow your offspring to contact you and get medical information when they become 18.

 

What if I have any other questions?

The fully qualified staff at the CCB will be there with you through every step of the screening process and the procedure of making a sperm donation. They will carefully and fully explain every stage and they will be more than happy to answer any specific question you have throughout the procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and sperm donors.

Bonding With your Newborn

First Day in the Open World

The non-verbal attachment bond between a newborn and its primary caregiver is a wonderful thing. A secure attachment bond involves emotional responses to your baby’s  sounds, gestures and movements. This relationship is vital in order for the child to feel safe and secure and for successful emotional, physical and social development. The unspoken bond will affect how your child will communicate, interact and form relationships for the rest of her life.

 

Though many people may think so, your baby is not attached to you simply because you gave birth to her. When an infant is developing in the womb, it has a nervous system that is completely independent from the mother. What makes you feel good is not necessarily the same thing that makes your baby feel good. This is why it’s important that you are sensitive to your infant’s emotional and behavioral cues so that you will learn to understand her individual needs.

 

Bonding between a mother and her baby happens instinctively. But secure attachment doesn’t happen automatically, no matter how much you love your child. It is an ongoing process which requires you to be able to manage your stress levels and to soothe and calm your infant when she is distressed.

 

Sometimes you may feel upset because you do not understand your baby’s needs all the time. Don’t panic, this is neither possible nor necessary. The important thing is that you are aware of moments when there is disconnection between you and your infant and you fix it as soon as you can. This will strengthen your relationship.

 

Don’t worry that your baby will be spoiled  if you respond to all her needs. The more responsive you are, the more secure she will feel. A regular response to your baby’s cues will create feelings of trust and security. Infants only form a secure attachment bond with one person, and that is the person who spends most time caring for them. However, they can develop loving connections with all of their caregivers.

 

A secure attachment with your infant is a two-way, constantly interactive process, in which you and your child simultaneously read each other’s cues. Even in the first moment of her life, your baby begins to notice your non-verbal cues, such as your gestures, your emotions and your tone of voice. She will respond with her own signals, like cooing, crying and imitating your facial expressions.

 

When your infant develops a secure attachment bond, it means she is able to:

 

·         develop fulfilling relationships throughout their life

·         keep their emotions balanced

·         feel self-confident

·         enjoy social activities

·         have the strength to recover from loss and disappointment

·         share their feelings and emotions

·         be able to ask for help or support

·         trust others

 

Creating a secure attachment with your newborn  means learning her cues. Watch her facial expression, notice how she touches and likes to be touched, familiarize yourself with the sounds she makes, and you and your infant will develop a lasting secure attachment.

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and cord blood.

Choosing Surrogate Parenting

Playing with light

In the United States, infertility affects more than seven million people. An estimated 12 percent of women who are childbearing age are infertile. This is one reason why a couple may consider surrogate parenting.

 

Choosing surrogate parenting is a big decision to make. It is also very expensive, but many parents are prepared to pay the price for the chance to have a child who is related to them genetically.

 

Northeast Assisted Fertility Group (NAFG) advises intended parents to prepare a budget of $100,000 to $120,000 to complete a surrogacy agreement. This total fee includes compensation for the surrogate parent, possible fees if a sperm donor is needed, in vitro fertilization procedures, counseling for the surrogate and the intended parents, expenses for the surrogate mother prior to the pregnancy (including lost salary, attorney fees and life insurance costs), medical expenses, attorney fees and travel expenses. If the surrogate mother does not have a health insurance policy, the intended parents are required to obtain one for her to cover her pregnancy.

 

People choose surrogacy for many different reasons. Some have a genetic defect that they do not wish to pass on to their children, others have a history of repeat miscarriages or are unable to carry a pregnancy to full-term. Gay male couples may also choose a surrogate parent if they prefer to have a genetic link to their children.

 

Surrogate mothers are usually between age 21 and 42 years old and have previously had a child. There are many reasons women choose to be surrogate mothers, aside from the financial advantages. Some choose surrogacy because they want to help an infertile couple realize the joy of parenting.

 

The surrogacy process begins with a consultation between the intended parents, their attorney, a psychologist, and the staff at the clinic facilitating the surrogacy. Once the intended parents have chosen a program, they are matched with a surrogate. The intended parents typically undergo a psychological evaluation and tests for sexually transmittable diseases. The financial aspects of the program are arranged with their attorney and an escrow account is set up to pay for the surrogate’s compensation and expenses.

 

Intended parents are shown profiles of potential surrogates from which to choose. When all parties agree the appropriate documents are signed with the help of an attorney, and medical procedures can begin.

 

U.S. laws on surrogacy vary from state to state. Some states who allow surrogacy only permit uncompensated agreements and others do not allow same-sex couples or unmarried couples from entering a surrogacy program. In certain states, intended parents can file a pre-birth order with the court when the pregnancy occurs—this allows for their names to be put on the baby’s birth certificate. In other states the surrogate’s name is put on the birth certificate and the intended mother must proceed with a step-mother adoption process in order to be recognized as the legal mother and have her name placed on the birth certificate.

 

 

 

 

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and Fertile-Future.

Cord Blood Banking FAQ

Children

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are currently considered to be one of the best ways to protect the health of your child now and in the future. Many parents choose to collect and store cord blood so they can rest assured that should their child suffer illness, even in their adult life, they may be treated with these stem cells. Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about cord blood banking.

 

What are the advantages of banking cord blood?

This procedure offers a safe and controversy-free means of acquiring stem cells for the future treatment of many diseases. Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells. This type of stem cell has the ability to generate specialized blood cells that can be used to treat disease and replace a wide array of cells.

 

What types of disease can be treated with cord blood stem cells?

There are currently more than 80 diseases that can be treated this way. These include sickle cell anemia, amyloidosis, osteoporosis and several types of leukemia.

 

How is cord blood collected?

The cord blood will be collected immediately after your child’s umbilical cord has been cut. It is drawn into a collection bag. FamilyCord will provide you will a complete collection kit for your healthcare provider to use.

 

Does the procedure involve any risk to me or my child?

Cord blood collection is completely safe for you and your baby. There will be no need to change your planned birth process. Your healthcare provider will collect the cord blood as soon as your baby’s umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. If you are having a C-section delivery, this is not a problem. Your FamilyCord collection kit contains a sterile C-section kit. The collection process takes around 8-10 minutes.

 

Is the amount of cord blood collected important?

It is important; the greater the quantity of blood, the greater the number of stem cells. This also improved the medical outcomes when the cells are needed for transplantation.  

 

Where will my stem cells be stored?

After collection the collection kit will be returned to you or a family member. All it takes is one phone call and out professional medical courier will collect it from the hospital. It will be taken to and stored in FamilyCord’s secure storage laboratory in Los Angeles, California. The facility is designed especially with safety and protection in mind.

 

What happens when I need my cord blood sample?

If your sample is ever needed, FamilyCord will liaise with your doctor to arrange confirmatory testing, release, and transportation of your baby’s stem cells to a designated hospital.

 

How much experience does FamilyCord have with cord blood banking?

FamilyCord has 15 years of experience storing cord blood. The company is FDA registered, AABB accredited, and CLIA certified. FamilyCord is owned and operated by physicians and we have a qualified stem-cell transplant physician serving as one of our medical directors. FamilyCord has received a rating of “A+” by the Better Business Bureau.

Diet During Pregnancy

low carb

Eating healthily during pregnancy is important for your heath and the normal development of your growing child. Even if you already have a balanced diet you will need to tweak it a little when you become pregnant so that you have more of the nutrients that keep your strong and full of energy and will help your child grow.

 

What to Add

Generally pregnant women require more protein. This is because protein is made up of amino acids that lay the foundation for all your body’s cells and those of your baby. It’s vital that you get enough protein during your pregnancy, particularly through the second and third trimesters because this is when you baby is developing at a faster rate and your organs and breasts are increasing in size to accommodate your child’s needs. Pregnant women need about 70 grams of protein each day, in comparison to women who are not pregnant, who require around 45 grams daily.

 

Folic acid is another important nutrient that is vital during pregnancy because it reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defects—defects of the spinal cord and brain—such as spina bifida or anencephaly. Medical experts recommend that women take 400 micrograms each day while you are trying to conceive and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is due to the fact that neural tube defects develop during the first 28 days of pregnancy. Folic acid may be taken as a supplement. Natural sources of folic acid include beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.

 

Another important nutrients for pregnant women are iron and calcium. Iron is needed for the transportation of oxygen to the mother’s and baby’s tissues and organs. Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron in their daily diet, whereas non-pregnant women need only 18 milligrams. Natural sources of iron include spinach, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, molasses and lentils.

 

Calcium is essential for the healthy development of the child’s bones and teeth and it also protects the mother’s bone density. Pregnant women require 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Calcium can be obtained from milk, oatmeal, almonds, collard greens and sesame seeds

 

What to Avoid

Pregnant women should avoid uncooked seafood such as sushi, sashimi and oysters in order to avoid contracting an infection from the parasites that live in raw fish. Moms-to-be should also cut out unpasteurized milk and cheeses made from it, such as Camembert and Brie, or blue-veined cheeses like Stilton and Gorgonzola because they carry a risk of bacterial infection from listeria, which can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Alcohol and cigarettes are obvious no-no’s, and should also keep caffeine to a minimum, as studies show that women who consume in excess of 200 milligrams of caffeine each day are more likely to suffer a miscarriage than those who consume less.

 

 

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and cord blood banking.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Baden mit Bauch

For most women exercise during pregnancy has many benefits, but it is important that you discuss your exercise plans with your physician so that she can advise you on any specific recommendations, such as the types of exercise suitable for your level of fitness and the stage of your pregnancy.

 

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise has numerous benefits for both you and your baby. It can help you boost your overall well-being, your energy and sense of physical control. Light exercise will release your body’s endorphins, which make you feel good. It will also help to strengthen your body and tone your muscles so that carrying your growing baby won’t be such a strain on your back, legs and joints. Other benefits include:

 

·         improving your circulation

·         reducing constipation

·         giving your skin a healthy glow

·         relieving stress and anxiety

·         helping you sleep better

·         reducing the risk of complications during birth

·         helping you manage the pain of childbirth

·         helping you regain your pre-pregnancy figure more easily

 

Exercising Safely

The amount of exercise that is safe for you during your pregnancy will depend on a number of factors such as:

 

·         when you start exercising

·         how active you were before your pregnancy

·         what stage you are at in your pregnancy

·         the condition of your general health

 

If you were not very active before your pregnancy and you’re just starting out with a new exercise regime, start slowly and build up gradually. Talk to your doctor about exercising while you’re pregnant. Many women enjoy swimming, yoga, Pilates, walking and water aerobics during pregnancy. Try to combine moderate cardio exercises with strengthening exercises. Keep at a steady pace and listen to your body, it will tell you when you’ve had enough exercise. It’s important not to tire yourself and be careful not to get overheated as this could cause problems for your growing baby. Stop exercising if you feel:

 

·         dizziness

·         fatigue

·         your heart pounding

·         shortness of breath

·         pain in your lower back or pelvis

 

Medical experts recommend that, after the first trimester, you avoid performing exercises that involve you lying flat on your back. This is because it can reduce the flow of blood to your uterus. You should also avoid:

 

·         bouncing

·         jumping

·         jarring movements

·         sudden changes of direction

 

Take frequent rest breaks while you are exercising, make sure you drink plenty of water, and avoid exercising in hot temperatures. You should always do some gentle stretching movements to warm up before exercising; this will prevent you from straining muscles. Stretching to cool down after your work out will prevent stiffness. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear that provides good support to your arches and ankles.

 

Exercise is not advisable during pregnancy if you suffer from asthma, arrhythmia, heart disease or diabetes. It may also be harmful to you and your baby if you are experiencing pregnancy-related conditions, such as low placenta, threatened miscarriage, spotting or bleeding, a weak cervix or previous premature births.

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and fertility preservation.

Baby Milestones – The First Six Months

Cheeky Zeke

Though all children develop to some degree at their own individual rate, there are certain development milestones that you should be aware of in the first six months of your child’s life. Here is a rundown.

 

One Month

By the age on one month, your child should be lifting her head when she is lying on her tummy. She will be alert and turning her head towards sounds and responding with cooing sounds. She will also be staring at faces and briefly following moving objects with her eyes. At this age, around 50 percent of babies can see black and white patterns. Children who are developing at an advanced rate will be able to smile and laugh and hold their head at a 45 degree angle.  

 

Two Months

At two months, your child will begin to notice her hands. She will by now be vocalizing—making ooh and ahh sounds—regularly. At this stage about 50 percent of babies will be holding her head up for short periods of time and smiling and laughing. You child is showing advanced skills if she can support her own head steadily, support her own weight on her legs and lift her head and shoulders when lying on her tummy, at this age.

 

Three Months

By this stage, most babies should be able to recognize the sight and sent of their primary caretakers. She should be able to hold her head steady and follow the movements of objects with her eyes. About 50 percent of children at this stage increase their vocalizations to gurgles and squeals and are able to blow bubbles and recognize your voice. More advanced skills for this age include turning towards loud noises, batting at toys and bringing her hands together.

 

Four Months

By now you baba should be able to easily bear her own weight while standing. She will make vocalizations while you are talking to her. About half of kids at this age can grasp hold of toys and roll over from their tummy onto their back. More advanced children can imitate the sounds “dada,” and “baba.” They may also cut their first tooth, in which case they may be ready for solid food.  

 

Five Months

Your baby should now have the ability to distinguish between bright colors. She will enjoy playing with her hands and feet. At this stage about 50 percent of children can recognize their own name, will turn in the direction of new sounds and are able to roll over from front to back. Children who are developing at a faster rate may be able to sit for brief periods without support and put objects into their mouths. Separation anxiety may also begin at six months in more advanced babies.

 

Six Months

At six months, your child should be turning towards voices and sounds and trying to imitate them. She should be able to easily roll over in both directions. Around 60 percent of children are now ready for solid food, can sit without support, put objects into their mouths and pass toys from hand to hand. By now, more advanced children will begin to crawl. They will also be jabbering and combining syllables and dragging objects towards themselves.

 

Corinna Underwood is a freelance health writer who specializes in women’s health, parenting and sperm banks.