The decision to have a baby using a sperm donor is a big one. Whether you are a single woman, a lesbian couple, or are facing male infertility or genetic issues, a sperm donor may be a good option. However, there are some things to consider before making the decision. Here’s what you should consider when choosing a sperm donor.
Known Sperm Donor vs. Sperm Bank
When it comes to getting the sperm donation, you can go about it in two ways: use a donor whom you know or use a sperm bank. When you choose a donor whom you know, it is important to educate yourself on the laws surrounding sperm donation and legal parentage.
Known Sperm Donor. You should consider whether or not you want your child to have a relationship with the sperm donor or not. To ensure that you don’t run into any issues, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in reproductive law. Since you are not going through a sperm bank it would be important that your donor be tested for genetic diseases as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is also vital to keep in mind that not every fertility center will work with a known sperm donor; they may also require you to sign a legal agreement.
Sperm Bank. If you decide that you do not wish for the child to have any contact with the sperm donor, using a sperm bank is likely the best choice for you. In most states anonymous sperm donors do not retain any parental rights of children conceived with their donation. Sperm banks also screen donors for certain diseases.
Finding a Reputable Sperm Bank
Before you choose a sperm bank it is a good idea to speak with your fertility specialist regarding a recommendation. Do your own research as well. You may want to ask the sperm bank several questions, such as:
- How does the sperm bank manage record keeping?
- Will you be notified if a donor reports a medical or genetic issue? How?
- What is the sperm bank’s policy regarding the creation of large sibling groups?
- Does the sperm bank limit the number of donations from a single donor?
While a sperm bank is not required to follow the guidelines recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), it is important to ask whether they do. Under the ASRM’s guidelines donors must be:
- Healthy males
- Aged 18-40
- Established fertility is desired though not required
- Medical evaluation is required
- Psychological evaluation is required
- Social evaluation is required
What is the Donor’s Medical History?
While sperm banks are not required to perform genetic testing of the sperm donor, many will do so anyway, following closely to the ASRM guidelines. The ASRM encourages these banks to test for diseases and conditions such as mental retardation and cystic fibrosis.
While genetic testing is optional, the Food and Drug Administration requires that sperm donors be tested for communicable diseases. Sperm donors must report their own medical history and, usually, their family’s medical history.
Can You Choose Your Sperm Donor’s Characteristics, etc.?
You definitely have the option to choose a sperm donor based upon his appearance. Some people want a child who looks more similar to them and their partner, while others are happy regardless – so long as the baby is health.
Since talents and interests may be linked to genes, you may also choose to pick a donor based upon this information. Many believe that choosing a donor who is intelligent or driven will help to conceive a child who is intelligent or driven. Others may choose a donor based upon his values and how they align with their own.
Can You Use the Same Sperm Donor Again?
For some people it is important that their children have the same sperm donor. If you are interested in having more than one child and fall into this camp, you will want to find out whether this donor has donated more than one vial of sperm. Some elect to purchase more vials than needed for IUI or IVF attempts. These individuals also pay to have the sperm stored at a sperm bank.
Are You Considering a Sperm Donor?
If you are ready to consider a sperm donor or simply want to learn more, The Cooper Institute can help. Under the direction of Dr. Jerome Check, a published author and reproductive endocrinology and infertility physician with 50 years of experience, we proudly provide medical reproductive expertise to families and individuals who need them – without creating the financial injury that many fertility clinics often do. Utilizing innovative and personalized protocols, we can help you with your reproductive solutions. To speak with a professional at The Cooper Institute, give us a call at (856) 751-5575 today.