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post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 


Edited by Snapdragon - 3/5/14 at 9:23pm
post #2 of 23
Well, my very unromantic story is this- I obsessively read and re-read their profiles, imagined the conversations I'd have with them, had all of my friends read the profiles, tried to picture who I'd most like to sit next to at a dinner party, ranked the top choices in order of "Good Interesting People Who Will Save The World And Create Super Spawn And Are Probably Very Handsome Too," and came up with a list based on that.

And, didn't get pregnant.

Finally, when I got to try number 6, I called the bank (TSBC) and asked for the sperm counts of all of my potential donors. I ditched green-eyed, soccer-playing, multi-lingual, musically gifted, skateboarding, surfing, and poetry-writing teacher of disadvantaged youth (20 million) for the itinerant banjo player who sounded like he had an anger management problem (75 million).

Two weeks later, I was pregnant.

I would not use a bank that won't tell you the counts up front. And, having gotten pregnant twice (one m/c), I can tell you that both times it was with donors with counts over 50 million. My non-pregnant cycles were all with donors in the 25 million range.

I know it's not particularly romantic. But, I have to say, my kid is absolutely perfect, so I'm not complaining.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
I Am trying to understand this sperm count thing- what to ask, what to accept. Please explain! I asked TSBC- or maybe it was a New England Sperm bank- and the lady said somehting baout 10 or 15 million.
Hmm- that is low, right?
I also heard that 70% or so of the sperm die when frozen and thawed. SO is the sperm count I am looking for before that or after that?
also- what is the deal with the sperm banks not giving me the whole ejaculation in a purchased vial?

So- how do I know how to ask how many sperm I am getting?

And I like the sound of the green eyed one- though I see what you mean about the sperm count.
My dh has green eyes andI had always hoped our kids might (mine are hazel)
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Also- somehow I feel sheepish about admitting this- but, uh- if I Am going to get a sperm donor, I feel that it would be nice if he were really good looking! Please don't judge
But how can I tell?
I did call TSBC and the lady was very nice about tellling me some that were good looking.
Oh I don't know!

what about international sperm? Is that a possibility?
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am kindof all over the place with this big decision. One minute I wish we had gotten it together to inseminate this current cycle.
Next minute I am back to thinking- no way- on sperm bank and let's ask dh's uncle.
We asked the uncle's son and he said no but maybe the uncle (in early 50's and handsome and looks some like dh) will say yes?
Is younger sperm better or does sperm froma 30 year old make no difference from sperm from a 50 yr old?

what a process.
Like anything, I guess I will stop when I have found the right one.
post #6 of 23

Well.. my first deciding factors were.. Blood type because I am RH - .. and then CMV status.. which I prefered it to be negative. After that I broke it down into eye color. I looked for blue, green or hazel eyes. The reason being, is that I am TRYING to have a baby with lighter eyes.. in case he comes out looking just like the donor.. maybe at least the eye color would be similar to mine. After I received the choices... I looked at medical history. I looked at his and the history of his family. For example, one donor had lou garregs (sp?) disease in his family. I counted him out right away. There is noone who is perfect.. but I wanted the med history as clean as possible. I only had a baby pic of my donor.. he was cute as a baby.. and I hope his genes mix with mine well enough :-) I think medical history is really the most important thing besides the RH factor for me.

post #7 of 23
since we needed a minority donor, our selection was pretty slim already. we ultimately went with the minority donor we found that had the highest sperm count.

in regards to your question about sperm count, you really have to ask the bank how they are counting to make compare. if they are quoting you 10 or 15 million per vial (.6 mL), i feel that is low. even worse if it's 10 or 15 million per mL.

our donor had at least 50 million per vial (.6mL). the vials that i conceived with were about 65 million per vial and i used two.

if you are having IVF, i guess you could get by with a lower sperm count, but if you are trying to conceive through an ICI or an IUI (especially unmedicated) you will need more. another thing to consider is if any pregnancies have been reported. again, go with the donor with the pregnancies.

as another individual mentioned, i would be leery of any bank that would not release the numbers before your purchase. sperm is too expensive to be wasting your money.
post #8 of 23
It's the post-thaw count that matters. Our donor had over 60 million. Each "donation" by the donor is usually divided into about 5 vials. It's not a lot, but it's enough (especially if the numbers are good).

I've never met or seen an unattractive child who was conceived with donor sperm. I really wouldn't worry about it. But if you ARE worried about it, maybe using an anonymous donor is not the right path for you to take. I never even thought about it, and we didn't have any pictures of our donor at the time of choosing him (though we did know he had LARGE eyes, which I thought was probably a good thing).

We chose by first only looking at donors who had had pregnancies reported, and then by matching the physical characteristics of my wife (totally boring blue eyes and blond hair ). From there we went by the donors' responses to essay questions and their interests. We wanted someone artsy (not someone who majored in economics), and who seemed thoughtful and smart, optimistic and happy. I didn't know about the significance of sperm numbers at the time, and we just happened to luck out with a relatively high-count donor.

post #9 of 23
I would rather have an ugly kid with an ugly donor than no kid at all, and be out thousands of dollars for cute, but useless sperm.

Besides, your kid won't be ugly - I've yet to meet a parent who thinks hir kid is ugly.

You may want to think long and hard about whether anonymous donor sperm is right for you. In retrospect, looking back at some of the decisions I made around sperm, I think that I did have some lingering hesitation about an anonymous donor.

I settled on anonymous after finding out that almost every gay/bi/queer man I knew is either HIV positive, infertile, partnered to someone who is HIV positive, unwilling to give up the goods, or some combination of the above.

Anonymous was definitely a compromise, and I've since lost those lingering doubts since reprioritizing a KD and finding one.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
wow, you bring up an interesting point that I hadn't really considered in that way. but I wanted to clarify to make sure I understood it:
you had lingering doubts aobut an anonymous donor, but couldn't find the right KD so then you found an anonymous that you are happy with and then the lingering doubts went away when you settled on one? Is that right? Or you found a KD?

I have way much hesitation about an anonymous donor. But I can't really see that great of an alternative. So I am trying to just accept the situation.

Are you saying perhaps because I have so much hesitation about anonymous sperm that maybe that indicates that I should find a KD?

thanks, I definatley welcome input in this hard decision.
post #11 of 23
My partner and I currently shopping as well, and decided medical history was at the top of the list as far as importance [we both have lots of cancer in our families, and didn't want to pic a donor that did as well.]

We also agreed on a willing to be known donor [or ID release donor, depending on which bank you're looking at] because we didn't feel it was fair to take the choice of finding out who the "bio dad" was away from our potential kid[s]. [Nothing against those who choose differently, this was just important to us, especially since i've never know my dad.]

And then, the much agreed upon proven track record when it comes to pregnancies and sperm counts.

After that was physical traits [which we wanted to sort of be a blend of us both, since we both want to carry a child eventually] and ethnicity, and then someone who seemed like us in some way personality wise, or in their likes.

Xytex and Fairfax both have it where you can see adult pics of some donors, which we also liked. And we ended up getting lucky and finding a guy who fit all our requirements and is super cute, so now we just have to hope his little swimmers like my eggs!

It is a bit overwhelming at first, and hard to figure out, but if you just give it a little time and don't push or rush, you'll figure out what is best for you. [We talked it over a lot, got the impressions and opinions of friends, then from there slept on it a few nights. When we talked it over again and made our decision we were all smiles, and just knew it was the right choice.]
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know which banks do more genetic testing? thereason we are using a donor is cause my dh has infertility from chromosome things.
I know some chromosome things can cause not infertility but danger to the baby in big ways.

I am unclear about how much genetic testing is done, or if there are sperm banks with better or worse reps regarding that?

Thanks very much
post #13 of 23
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
wow, you bring up an interesting point that I hadn't really considered in that way. but I wanted to clarify to make sure I understood it:
you had lingering doubts aobut an anonymous donor, but couldn't find the right KD so then you found an anonymous that you are happy with and then the lingering doubts went away when you settled on one? Is that right? Or you found a KD?
Ok - Originally, my ex and I had agreed on anonymous sperm, after seeing friends of ours who were trying to use a covert KD - I.e. they knew who the KD was, but they were trying to make sure nobody else would ever know, and we found it odd. They switched to anonymous after a few cycles.

When I started TTC on my own, I really wanted to find a KD. I had a long-standing understanding with an old friend, but when push came to shove, he couldn't do it. Not then, not the way I wanted. He wanted to coparent, and I would love that, but he wanted to coparent ten years from now, maybe fifteen. So, I talked to every guy I knew who I thought was at all suitable, and came up with nada.

I wasn't ready to abandon the KD search, but I was ready to conceive, so I settled on an anonymous donor from my small, local sperm bank in Canada. This compromise allowed me to address one of my biggest concerns, the fact that my child would have 40+ donor half siblings across the US and Canada, because this bank doesn't do such big numbers, and all their donors are local, as well as many of the recipients. So, I did a few cycles with a donor I was happy with.

Looking back, I realize that the whole time I was hoping to still find a KD. I only ever bought one cycle worth of sperm at a time, I kept my eyes and ears to the ground in case a KD should appear.

Once I moved to the US, not pregnant, no baby, and was ready to conceive again, I again looked for a KD. My Canadian sperm bank is no longer available to me. The practices of the US banks are not something I want to get involved with, for the most part, so as long as I'm living in the US, a KD is absolutely the right choice.

Though, ultimately, I'm losing KD in July, likely, and it's possible that if I go through with IUIs or IVF or something that he will no longer be willing, and it's possible that his swimmers are duds. If any of these things happen, I'll look for a new KD, but if that doesn't happen, I will grudgingly return to ordering spermcicles.

For me, a KD is the preferred option, but I just want to have a baby, and if it means anonymous, well that's just the way it is.
post #14 of 23
To answer the original question...

I think a lot of people get hung up on finding the "perfect" donor initially. And I think that is just fine. You are choosing 1/2 the genetic information for your child... who wouldn't want them to be dreamy? But I have to agree with others, that what you want changes with time from the perfect donor to the more practical donor.

My top two criteria initially were that the donor had to be of Polish heritage and NO pet allergies. We also made a history of any asthma, hay fever, any type of allergy in the family history as a disqualifier. I had found a donor that was originally from Poland at TSBC. I was in love!! Cute baby pic, nice profile. I waivered one day and all his vials sold out. Then with Xytex I would only look at Polish donors. DP looked at them all. In the end, I decided it wasn't that important (though still would have loved that to be the case) and our donor is a completely different Heritage than I would have ever thought I would pick.

In the end, no pet allergies or other allergies was still a must. Then honestly, we looked at pics. Then we read profiles. It was more just a feeling of who we liked. Then we called the bank to get an idea of average sperm counts. Then it was a matter of who was available (the next donor we fell in love with quit donating). And we quite like the donor we ended up getting pregnant with. But honestly, once that BFP came, the donor faded to the background for us and this child is OURS and the donor was just the means of getting there.

As far as sperm counts go... you want to look at the number of motile sperm post thaw. So we would often have donors that had 80 mil sperm/ml with a 50-80% post thaw motility rate. Then divide that number in half as we only got 0.5ml and we had our final count. Xytex guaranteed 15 mil motile sperm post thaw per 0.5ml.

And I agree and disagree about picking a donor with a known pregnancy. If the donor has been around awhile without a pregnancy, that is a red flag. But when we chose our donor without a pregnancy, he was very new to the program and he quickly chalked up 3+ pregnancies right out of the gate. But we chose him because he was new to the program and we knew that Xytex required they donate for one full year before releasing any samples so that he would have samples coming out of quarantine for at least another year. That gave us time to try with him in the immediate (only need 2 times) and then allowed us to be assured there would be sperm to purchase for a sibling in the future.

So much to think about, but really just go with your gut.

And in another plug for Xytex, I think they will do specific genetic testing on a donor if you request it. I know they are pretty thourough in the first place, but I have seen some donors listed as being specifically tested for this or that and I assume that is because someone has specifically requested that of the donor.
post #15 of 23
i have to agree, choosing a donor is a pretty daunting task. we initially wanted to use a kd but that fell through because of logistics (he was out of state) and he and his wife being diagnosed with unexplained infertility. we then moved onto sperm banks. initially we looked at xytex because that's who our friends used. then, the non-bio mom mentioned that wouldn't it be cool if our kids had the same donor and we decided to rule xytex out. we eventually used ccb. they don't give out counts until after you've bought the vials but they do have a very expansive selection. they are expensive though.

our criteria began with health. since we both planned to carry, we had a lot of things to think about. dp has alcoholism, hypertension, bipolar disorder and arthritis in her family. i have hypertension and arthritis in mine. any donors with those issues in their family were immediately discarded. next we looked at the donor's major. i'm an it geek, dp is in architecture. we decided we wanted someone in science or computing or engineering and they had to have graduated or be close to completing their degree. everything after that was secondary really. dp is 1/2 filipino so our kids are probably not going to look too much alike anyways - i'm scots/irish with the palest skin and freckles. as it is, our son is a mini-me! but i digress. we were lucky that our donor had pretty decent #s and i got pregnant on try #2. the only issue we've had is that he retired from the program leaving us with only a few tries to have a 1/2 sibling. we have picked a backup donor that is very much like our son's donor and we have 4 vials of him already purchased and in storage should it come to that.

we are very happy with our choice(s) and are hoping that dp is able to get pregnant with the remaining vials we have.

good luck with your choice!

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
I think by biggest fear is that there will be something genetically messed up with the babe that wasn't tested for or caught by the sperm bank.
As for the looks and all- I woud like to try on that level but of course I will adore my baby and find her or him beautiful. But when Ihear stories of- for example, 5 babies born to different moms from the same donor all with severe health defects due to donor's genetics- I get really freaked, y'know?

I know that obviously with sexual conception therer is also always that chance with anyone and that people aren't tested. But anyway- I think I will look into finding whatever genetic testing I can have done once I settle on the donor.

I am also finding that the ones I settle on are usually sold out! Or I will browse through the catalog and the one I like is non identitty- which is a deal breaker.

Anyway- any more stories, experiences and comments very appreciated! Especially if anyone has anything to say regarding the fear of genetic abnormalities from sperm bank donor sperm.

Thanks. MDC is amazing
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am sorting through the sperm banks- I kindof like California Cryobank but I feel so overwhelmed- I am sick of spending hours on the computer sorting through. and with them there seems to be a lot of them sold out, or only available in IUI.

I like TSBC because they seem smaller and more personable. It seems like an easier process to go throgh, less exhausting.

Onward . . .
post #18 of 23
If you like CCB - check out their donor of the month club which gives you a sneak peek a selected donor's baby pics and they have a few months of archives available too.

Also - CCB doesn't advertise this but they have "attractiveness ratings" for all the donors. You can select a list of 5 donor and then give the donor numbers and they will tell you how they were rated based on looks on a scale of 1-10. Most are 6 or 7 and 8 is considered very good looking.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am excited because I am narrowing things down.I still have to wait 5 weeks for my next ovulation as I just ovulated yesterday or so and we were still processing.

The bank I decided to go with was able to tell me over the phone which donors had babies born- which to me translates to healthy babies (or they would have pulled the donor if there were problems) which = peace of mind.

Only thing is, the donor I think I like the best is sortof new so doesn't have babies yet.
So now I am narrowing down between a few- either going with one who has a # of babies but has some less desireable things, or one who is closer to ideal but is still unknown.
post #20 of 23

The donor we used to concieve our daughter didn't have any confirmed pregnancies when we chose him either. I actually for some reason thought that was kind of cool the fact that we would be one of the first to get pregnant by him. We had to switch donors this time around because I am CMV neg and this new donor does not have any reported pregs either. It have become kinda like a bond they both have in some way. I know that if and when I get pregnant that, that baby will be the baby we were suppose to have and thats makes him the right donor for us.
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