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which are the reputable sperm banks? - Page 2

post #21 of 31
we are using the European Sperm Bank in Seattle, WA. They are a known donor bank (VERY important to DP) and by far the most choiced bank we could find! they are very friendly but not so quick to always answer the phone (from what I've gathered).
post #22 of 31



I'm trying to find a bank that lets you search for donor based on picture and education level. Does anyone know if anything like that is possible? I dont care if he remain anonymous or not, I just dont want to keep on buying picture after picture for potential donors just to see that he is definitely not what i'm looking for. Or is this how everyone does it? Should I just set aside a budjet for purchasing whole bunch of photographs?                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, has anyone tried any less traditional ways, like actual european banks based in europe?








post #23 of 31

Dp and I have been using OHSU's bank in Portland, OR (we're about to embark on attempt #3). We're super-duper happy with them.



  • Middle of the road pricing ($480 per iui vial)
  • No extra fees for additional services. Everything they have is on the internet and available to you. The downside is that they don't have lots of extra services. I put this in the pro list because I really don't like the "$20 for this and $35 for that" dynamic with other banks. It makes me feel like it's all about the money for the bank. 
  • Even though they don't have a lot of extras, their staff (Brian!) are more than willing to have conversations (no charge) about their impressions of various donors.  I don't know if this would include describing what they look like, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.  
  • They changed their policy in the last couple of years. All donors are now required to be willing-to-be-known donors.  I was able to ask the staff about their impressions for how enthusiastic each of our possible donors are about being known in the future.  It was great to feel like I had a trusted representative to help me make a good choice for us.


  • Website out-of-date.  Apparently, they have not been able to update it in a long while.  So you have to call to get the most up to date profiles.
  • Small database.  Other banks have many, many more donors.  This wasn't such a big deal to us as we were more concerned about having a good relationship with the bank staff and were able to find a donor we like.  We are using OHSU for the inseminations as well. 
post #24 of 31

I looked at OSHU. They have very few donors, but a lot of info for each

they still dont have pictures though. it seems to me that picture is the most important part


post #25 of 31

Some people really want a photo.  I get that.  But we don't really care about that.  Health history and feeling like we might like the person felt way more important to us.   I think I've always been concerned that if I focused too much on looks that I'd transfer that focus to parenting and I definitely don't want to give my kids the impression that my love depends on what they look like.  Not that those who want photos are doing that.  Again, I get why some would feel it's important.  It's just not for us.

post #26 of 31

I'm not sure which bank to go with right now. I'm considering Cryogenic Lab and Xytex. 


Xytex seems to claims their samples have 25 million motile sperm which is more than the average found in fresh sperm. Does anyone know what the average would be for Cryogenics because Xytex seems kinda pricey. Or for that matter, has anyone here used both these banks? Seem most people have sperm bank loyalty. lol


Another question, has anyone had any experience with having a friend donate and then freezing their sperm? I have a friend who is a possible donor, but he lives in another state and visits rarely, so he can't be on call every time my partner is going to ovulate :P I was wondering if financially it would be cheaper to go that route. There are of course other advantages like the fact I know him and he would be like an uncle to the child which is something I really would like since I have such a small family.

post #27 of 31


Originally Posted by happycalm View Post

Dp and I have been using OHSU's bank in Portland, OR (we're about to embark on attempt #3). We're super-duper happy with them.



We're using OHSU, too. And I know some others who are as well. It kind of makes me wonder about biological half-siblings all over Portland, since the donor list is relatively small. I know after a certain number of pregnancies, the donors are geographically restricted, but still.

post #28 of 31
Originally Posted by Glados View Post

Another question, has anyone had any experience with having a friend donate and then freezing their sperm? I have a friend who is a possible donor, but he lives in another state and visits rarely, so he can't be on call every time my partner is going to ovulate :P I was wondering if financially it would be cheaper to go that route. There are of course other advantages like the fact I know him and he would be like an uncle to the child which is something I really would like since I have such a small family.

I'm pretty familiar with this process as our first donor was a friend.  There is a LOT to say about the things one needs to cover in terms of exploring boundaries and legal issues and all that and if you want info on that, I'm happy to share.  But since your question is about finances and the process, that's what I'll cover.


Basically, banks or fertility clinics refer to this as using a Directed Donor.   They generally follow FDA guidelines and those include:

  • the Directed Donor getting a physical (maybe covered by directed donor's medical insurance and you could cover the copay or deductible, if any).  
  • Directed Donor and recipient or recipient and partner getting counseling from clinic social worker/counselor to make sure they've covered all their basis in terms of expectations/roles/etc. and explored what bumps could come up. This is a guideline for anyone using donated gametes from a known or directed donor.  This generally includes making sure legal advice has also been sought.  We paid maybe $150 per session, one session for me and my partner, one for the donor by himself and another with all of us together.  
  • Directed Donor getting infectious disease testing. This includes but is not limited to STD testing.  Other things they look for: cytomeglovirus (or CMV), TB (I think) and other things that are not STDs.  This testing MUST be done before but not more than 7 days prior to a directed donor making "deposits".  The idea being that the results of the testing can be considered accurate for 7 days and after that time, the donor's infectious disease status could change.  In effect, this means that you can get maybe 3 deposits from your donor each time this testing is done as depositing every day can affect sperm count.  This testing is not cheap.  Some of it might be covered by a donor's insurance but they probably will only cover it every so often.  Multiple deposit windows might result in you paying out of pocket for some of the testing.  If I remember correctly, the testing costs hundreds of dollars and maybe even over $1000.  But some of it might be just a one time thing.  Some things like CMV are not an issue once you have antibodies.  If you test once and have the antibodies, you don't need to test again.  But sometimes you do have to test for the difference between a current infection and evidence of an old infection.  
  • Another issue with the infectious disease testing is timing/location of testing.  We had all of the infectious disease testing done at the clinic/bank rather than the donor's doctor because if you only have a 7 day window, making multiple appts. and making sure the tests get reported to the right place can prove problematic. This could impact insurance coverage of the testing.

Other notes about infectious disease testing.  

  • Most but not all banks/clinics require a 6 month quarantine on the deposits and a redo on the infectious disease testing at the end of the 6 months to make sure there was no illness or disease that was developing but not yet able to be picked up by the first round of tests.  This requirement is apparently not required by the FDA but most clinics do it to cover their butts legally.
  • The quarantine and maybe some/all of the infectious disease testing is done based on the assumption that the recipient of the directed donation has not been exposed to the body fluids of the donor.  What this means is that sexual partners (married or not) do not have the same hoops to jump through.  Now, I am NOT recommending that you be less than truthful to your healthcare providers.  But, if we had known this from the beginning, we would have identified me as a sexual partner of our directed donor.  Can't imagine they would have believed me but I think they would have taken us at face value.  We would have done this because a) we totally trusted our donor and his practice of safe sex b) we would have gotten the same infectious disease testing done  whether they required it or not but on our own timetable without the 7 day window restriction and c) the quarantine sucks and d) some of this would have resulted in cost and hassle savings.  Again, I am not recommending anyone do this themselves.  I have no interest in being on the hook for someone else's risky behaviors.  I just want to share what I know.

Other costs:

  • Sperm Analysis which counts how many and looks at the morphology (shape) and motility of the donor's deposit.  You'll want to know he's got good quality stuff before moving forward.  We included this in his first deposit but that meant some of his deposit was lost to this testing and not included in what was available to us for use. Not sure how much this costs but many banks have their pricing online or could send it to you.
  • Sperm Freezing test.  Can't remember the right name.  This is the test in which they thaw a sample to see how many survive the thawing.  Some guys have great counts but they are not hardy enough to withstand freezing and thawing.  Not sure about cost.
  • Sperm storage. (about $250 per year up to a certain amount)
  • Sperm processing per deposit.  This price is partly about gathering the donation and may have separate fees for ici or iui processing/freezing. Again, not sure about price but you can look it up.  OHSU has their pricing online if you want to use it as a guide.  I'm guessing it's $150-300 per deposit?
  • Shipping fees.  These include a possible deposit on the rental of a container for shipping the deposits.  The bank where he makes the deposits will probably also charge a small fee for processing the shipment ($50-100).  And then the shipping charges for FedEx.
  • Legal fees for reviewing a known donor contract and then for severing parental rights and responsibilities of directed donor and/or second parent adoption processing ($1500-3000 depending on what level of legal support you get/need).  Lots of people skip this step but wow is that a bad idea, IMHO.  A second parent adoption by a partner automatically severs parental rights and responsibilities of directed donor.  I live in OR where my partner can be on the birth certificate from day 1.  This does not preclude the need for such paperwork!  For one, this legal precedent has not been sufficiently tested in court and if we plan to travel outside of OR, my partner's relationship to my biological child may not be recognized.  Partners need a second parent adoption.  When you use an anonymous donor from a sperm bank, you don't need to sever the donors rights/responsibilities but you would still need a second parent adoption for a partner if you have one.


The up-shot of all of this is that it's not cheap to do directed donation.  In fact, for us it was cost-prohibitive because our friend has a lower than ideal count in the first place and you lose a lot of material in the freezing and processing for iui.  Banks save money because they use their own facilities and staff to do the testing so it doesn't cost as much and they only use donors who have very high counts.  This means each deposit could result in multiple vials.  Also, they can have a longer than 7 day window for deposits as long as they are also doing more frequent testing.


Wow. That was long.  Hope it makes sense.  


I've followed a lot of people on another forum who use or plan to use known donors (mostly live not through a bank).  It always surprises me how little preparation they put into exploring the risks and boundaries and expectations of such an arrangement.  Even with the 3 close friends we discussed this with, each relationship resulted in different conversations and took differing amounts of time to work things out.  It scares me when I hear about friends chatting over dinner one night and deciding sperm donation is a good idea and start working on it the next time the intended recipient ovulates.  There is way too much at stake for that, IMHO.


Anyway, let me know if I can help in any other way.  Oh, and my cost estimates are somewhat guesses or recalls of info that might not be fully correct.

Edited by happycalm - 3/1/11 at 11:00pm
post #29 of 31

One more thing about directed donors and getting around the quarantine (and maybe some of the testing timing requirements but I'm not sure):  one of the nurses at one of the clinics we have worked with said that she thought this clinic waived the quarantine for a donor/couple who had done fresh inseminations themselves with a donor prior to the deposits.  This is because the recipient would have been exposed to the donor's body fluids as a result of the fresh inseminations and thus could be considered to be similar to a sexual partner (and thus the concerns about exposing the recipient to the fluids for the first time would not be an issue).  However, my guess is that this was done for a patient with whom the clinic had an established relationship.  I'm assuming that if a random person called this or another clinic and asked for such an exception or waiver, such a request would not be granted.  

post #30 of 31

Wow, thanks for all the information. I think in that case we might just go with "fresh sperm" if he's in town and just get frozen directly from a bank when he's not. I guess it's going to be a matter of timing. Regardless of which sperm ends up working out he was always going to be the family friend that's always around. 

post #31 of 31

We're looking at Cryogenics Laboratories right now. Has anyone else had any experiences with them?

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