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.