The 411 on Using a Sperm Donor

When you think of the words “sperm donor,” do you think of a college kid selling his swimmers to make a quick buck? Or do you think of a daunting process of sifting through thousands of candidates to select your perfect match? The process of using a sperm donor is not something that many people openly discuss. Here, we’ll break down some of the basic info.

What Is Sperm Donation?

Sperm donation, in its most basic form, is when a man donates sperm to help a woman conceive. The donation process is pretty simple, with samples obtained via masturbation or surgical extraction. Once the semen is collected, it’s put in a centrifuge to isolate the most viable sperm. The sperm is either immediately used or frozen (“banked”) for future use through several different methods: intrauterine (IUI) insemination, intracervical (ICI) insemination, or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Typically, a complete family history is conducted along with semen health analysis, blood typing, and testing for infectious diseases or genetic mutations.

Why Use a Sperm Donor?

The list of reasons can vary. For example, a person without a partner in life, or has a same-sex relationship may use a sperm donor. Couples may also choose this route if they are unable to conceive naturally. Lifestyle choices and personal preferences can weigh into the decision, too.

Is It Safe?

Using a sperm donor is a safe way to get pregnant. However, it’s important that you do your research. A sperm bank can be reputable but may not be the right place for you. Don’t be shy to ask questions. Get a list of legal policies and consent forms and read every word. Ask how they keep records and track sibling practices. Look into the information they collect from donors, including medical conditions. If you need to, contact support groups for additional insight.

How Do You Choose the Right Sperm Donor?

That is a personal choice, and there’s no right or wrong way to decide. When reviewing candidates, pay attention to their personal details and medical histories. Depending on the database, you may be able to learn about things like personality quirks, IQ testing, and even baby pictures. Though your child won’t have everything in common with their genetic father, it’s still something to consider when weighing options.

What Are the First Steps When Using a Sperm Donor?

To start the process, you’ll want to find a physician or fertility clinic to oversee the insemination process. From there, basic fertility testing will ensure you’re a viable candidate. Things can pop up, like undiagnosed ovulation problems that require fertility drugs to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Psychological and legal counseling may also be needed, depending on the case.

How Much Does It Cost?

It depends on the situation, but using a reputable sperm donor generally isn’t cheap. Going in with a clear budget is your best bet. Sperm, on average, costs between $700 to $1200 per vial (one attempt at insemination), but that doesn’t include storage, transportation, medical procedures, testing, and many, many other costs.

Can Your Child Have a Relationship With Their Biological Parent in the Future?

It’s possible. Some donors are fine with meeting their offspring before or after the child turns 18, so make sure you read up on the policies of your fertility clinic and the donor’s wishes.

Have you or someone you know used a sperm donor? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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