Both our kids were conceived with sperm from a bank. At the time we were trying, we really wanted to use an identity-release donor and that idea was just starting to spread, not that many places were doing it. So the total donor pool was not very big. We didn't pick a bank, we picked a donor after reviewing files from several banks. Our first screen was some very basic physical characteristics (DP didn't want a donor that was super tall was one of them), then did a very thorough screen of family health history. We knocked a lot out of contention by trying really hard to avoid duplicating medical problems that run in our families. That part kind of made me nervous since it's what the guys report, but what else is there to go on? Then we went to personal characteristics. Picked a guy with some overlapping interests with us who sounded nice and mentioned that he supports queer families. I should say, we went through this choosing process it seems like a zillion times, but maybe it was more like 4.
I remember calling 3 places, two on the east coast, one of which was Xytex and the other I can't remember, and The Sperm Bank of California in Berkley. I have to say, every contact was a good one. I've had the most contact with TSBC since our success came with one of their donors, and have nothing but positive things to say about them. TSBC is very lesbian positive, and they've been doing identity release a long time. But I never felt uncomfortable with the other 2 banks, which are more mainstream either. I definitely felt like I was dealing with salespeople who wanted to make my experience easy and pleasant, and I have no problem with that at all. There's a ton of information on the web sites, but it was very easy to call and get a question answered every time one came up.
We didn't ever try to have anything shipped to us, did IUI in an MD's office, so I can't answer to your other questions.