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How to Choose a Sperm Bank?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We're in the middle of trying to choose a sperm bank and we're having significant issues. We ruled out NW because they don't do genetic testing and they don't guarantee their numbers (both of which are important to us). We've been looking at Cryogenic and DW has had her heart set on this place because they're affordable and they give you almost all of the pictures, including baby pictures, for free. But we found out today that our RE doesn't recommend using them. His office says they've had issues. Their preferred banks are: Fairfax, Xytex, and Cryobiology.

The former has horrid reviews online, DW thanks the middle one is too commercial, and the latter is too expensive. All of them are too expensive unless we buy their discounted vials. So, now I don't know what to do.


Donor sperm is worth its weight in gold (literally) but, even discounting the money, we're looking at a massive investment of time and emotions. So, how do you choose a bank?

post #2 of 14
I might have already mentioned this to you, but this is who we use....and we normally order the featured donor because they are "buy one get one free".

post #3 of 14

NW does do some genetic testing and while they don't tell you the numbers, if you go to an RE and your count is less than apropriate they have given refunds/replacements. 


I was very happy with my experiences with NW.  Sorry you are ruling them out!

post #4 of 14

I wouldn't count NW out. It's my sperm bank and I've been around for about 1 1/2 years over there. They do guarantee their sperm counts up to a certain point if I'm not mistaken. I would call them and talk to Zac, he is very helpful and informative. Maybe he could clear up any concerns you have with them.

post #5 of 14

NW does guarantee the same count as most other sperm banks 20mil/1ml. They will send you counts with your vial, or you can get counts with your MD. If a post thaw count is less than par, they are known to refund you had you gone to the MD and gotten a count. And they DO do genetic testing, its an FDA requirement. I'm not sure where you got your information...? I've been with them since 2006, and I have 2 daughters via an NW donor. All those years and I've hardly ever seen a vial count issue and ones I did hear (maybe 5 or 6 times?) about they always got a refund. As far as genetic testing, have you seen all the stories out there??? The latest one is specifically about Xytex and a child born to a donor KNOWN to have other DI kids out there whom contracted cystic fibrosis and they still sold the sperm. This is a terminal disease and one the FDA irequires testing for, needless to say there is a big lawsuit happening. Also, those big sperm banks are out there with dozens and dozens of children for one donor because they aren't regulating themselves. I personally don't want my children having 20 or more donor sibs out there. Please do some more research before you rule any one out or in.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I did do plenty of research. NW tests ONLY for cystic fibrosis, as that is the only one the FDA requires. I got the information about genetic testing and not guaranteeing their numbers from their website. Most sperm banks test for multiple genetic diseases, including Tay-Sachs (which is very important, given my ancestry), etc. If Xytex sold sperm from a donor after a child had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, then they should be sued for that, but not necessarily for failing to screen. There are hundreds of mutations that cause cystic fibrosis, and less than a hundred have been identified. And yes, I've read the stories, which is why I want the donor to be screened as much as possible. In the next few years, it should be possible for the banks to just screen his whole genome and run it by a geneticist.

post #7 of 14

I used Fairfax.  I was happy with the screening/info provided.   We only considered donors with a previous pregnancy as a way to address the numbers issues.  Definitely commercial, but also organized and efficient.  I also saw those bad reviews before picking Fairfax.  At the time, when I read reviews, it seemed like it was one person who had a really bad experience and then posted everywhere.  I feel for that person, but with a big bank there is going to be the occasional crappy experience. I have ethical concerns about the whole industry, but decided to just hold my nose and pick one.



post #8 of 14
We love TSBC. They are non-profit, and we feel like that makes them more willing to give us lots of useful information (including telling us when they didn't think a donor was the right choice for us, telling us when a donor wasn't friendly to the lab staff, etc.). They make it easy to connect with other people who have used the same donor if you're interested in that. They have a low limit for number of offspring from each donor AND they follow up with recipients to make sure that they keep that limit. They sent a sweet card and a little gift when our baby was born. They are consistently friendly and helpful. They do more research than any other bank we've seen on donors, donor sperm, donor offspring, etc. We're big fans.
post #9 of 14

NW tests for Tay Sachs, cystic fibrosis, beta thalassemia and sickle cell, at least they did when I purchased from them. They don't test for the millions of other diseases out there and neither do the majority of the other big banks out there.

post #10 of 14

I've heard good things about TSBC

post #11 of 14

Our NW sperm came with a fairly impressive battery of genetic testing, but that may not be the norm.  We were also told that they would refund/replace vials with low counts, but that was never an issue for us.  We ended up going with NW primarily because we needed a red-headed, ID release, CMV-, and Rh- donor.  There aren't a lot of those around, so we looked at lots of banks and finally found the donor we liked at NW.  


That said, we have several friends who have used TSBC and are very happy.  If we hadn't been looking for such a hard to find donor, we probably would have gone with TSBC.  Our friends who have used Xytex and Fairfax have been less pleased.  

post #12 of 14
We used TSBC and I could not be happier. In addition to everything Escher said, I will add that one of the other children born via our donor was diagnosed with a medical issue, and I was incredibly pleased with how the bank handled it. The Executive Director called us herself, sent us loads of research, and talked us through the situation. Our DD is fine (and so is the other child now, after a surgery), but I felt really reassured to know that they practiced such due diligence. Also, they pulled our donor from the ranks immediately because they felt the genetic risk was too high- they estimated it at 5%. However, the geneticist we spoke to felt that the risk was actually more like .5%. My takeaway from that is that TSBC would rather be overly cautious, which I think is great in a sperm bank.

Also, they will tell you the counts of any donor, and they always ship the vials with the highest counts. In my last TTC process I found that numbers made a difference, so this is important to me.

They are not the cheapest. I borrowed money to pay for sperm. I personally don't regret it, but I know that's not the right choice for everyone. Ultimately, only you can decide what's the right fit for your family. Good luck with the decision making!
post #13 of 14

We are using TSBC as well and I LOVE them.. so helpful and really flexible on timing.. for us it was the convience of having them local so I can pick up samples.. 


Wonder if anyone is using or has used our donor?



post #14 of 14


Edited by SouthernMomma - 5/23/12 at 3:54pm
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