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Midwest sperm bank? - Page 10

post #181 of 259

Here is the link to the study I've been reading http://www.familyscholars.org/assets/Donor_FINAL.pdf.  This study compares donor conceived children (both from single mother, heterosexual couple, and lesbian couple families) with adopted children and children raised by both biological parents.  I have not finished reading it yet because it is long and I am also reading information on the DSR site (which I highly recommend doing).  I've done a lot of research on adoption over the last few years and those studies and first hand experiences are paving the way for studying children conceived through donor insemination.  Hiding the truth of their conception, not having access to information, and closed adoptions are detrimental to the well being of adopted children.  Studies on donor children are just now starting to happen and they are finding that the children themselves want to know about their roots, where half of their genetics and traits come from, and are more prone to problems (like depression and breaking the law) throughout their lives than children who were raised with both biological parents.  Believe me, I'd love to feel like I could use an anonymous donor, it is so much cheaper, but the implications for my future child are of major concern.  It's not just about having a baby right now, the easiest way possible for me.  It's about the the child.  The possible ways they will feel about the process as a whole and themselves in the process.  The fact that we call them donors while they get paid for their sperm, seems a inconsistent and misleading to me.  On the TSBC site, some donors in the ID Release program stated they participated only because it got them more money.  To me that does not seem like a compassionate act of donation to help people start families.

 

As for the cap on families, there are larger social implications for having genetic ties to that many people, and we have no idea how this will effect the future generations.  There have been people who found out that the kid down the street that their kid played with was a half sibling.  That's wonderful for the fact that they get to live so close to them and possibly grow up as close friends.  But, what if they hadn't found out at a young age, became romantically involved and had a child together?  There is no accurate record kept by any sperm bank (especially not when it all started in the 70s) of how many children are conceived by the help of any sperm donor.  I read an article the other day that one donor from Fairfax had over 120 offspring and the doctors didn't have any idea, they just kept selling his sperm because they wanted to make money.  20-40% of births aren't reported to the sperm banks so even if they tried to keep track, they'd have to insist on accurate reporting from the parents.  Then there are the medical implications, I've been reading articles about that as well.  If a child gets sick with something passed down from the donor and the sperm bank has lost track of the donor and how many offspring there are, then how will everyone be alerted to watch for this condition?  What about the sperm banks who continue to sell sperm from donors who have produced multiple children with the same illness?  Then there is the reporting of family history in the first place.  The donors are usually young and they might not have accurate information for their family members on the forms.  I sure couldn't tell you my family medical history and would have to do a lot of digging to get all the accurate information.

 

As a single lesbian, my options for having children are limited, especially when my income is considered.  I can't use a friend as a known donor because the state will not allow "fathers" to denounce their paternity.  This would leave us in a legal limbo if I were to need assistance from the state or if I died.  What if the friend changed their mind and wanted custody or visitation rights?  The other option I found is to not have any contact with the friend for 3 years, then they could petition to give up their paternal rights, but that would defeat the purpose of the friendship.  Not putting the name on the birth certificate would also be difficult if I ever need assistance, they could force me to name someone and then do a paternity test before allowing me to get help.  Now, if I had a partner, it'd be a different story!  Private adoption is pricey and adoption through the foster system can be heart wrenching.  So, that leaves me at buying sperm as my only option because it allows me anonymity as a parent.

 

This is a very weighty subject and I do not admonish or disapprove of anyone who chose or chooses an anonymous donor.  With the DSR, and hopefully turning tides in the way donor insemination and children conceived from it are treated and perceived, all children will be able to have the answers they need about their paternal backgrounds.  The donors need to be held accountable for accurate information and the sperm banks for keeping track of births and medical information.  It'd be nice to see donors who choose ID release programs getting the same amount of compensation as those who do not, taking away money as a factor in their decision.  This would also drive down the cost of sperm from those donors, allowing more women access to it.  Ahh, in a perfect world!

post #182 of 259

Thanks Jennp. I am anxious to read the study. It worried me when you say it's "long." :) Best of luck to you. It's quite the journey. 

post #183 of 259

If you can get through that doozy of a post I just wrote you can read the article ;-)  There are a lot of statistics but it's broken into chapters, so you can take bites at a time.  I also recommend looking around on DSR at the articles, personal stories and studies they have posted.  Congratulations to you and yours on your pregnancy!

post #184 of 259

Just FYI that as of today, they seem to be open (checked out their website and it no longer says Closed for reorganizing).  :)

post #185 of 259

I checked it as soon as I got home.  They haven't thoroughly updated their site, there are different prices and types listed in different places.  I figure the Pricing page is the correct one ;-)  Because they don't offer open donors or state a cap on the number of offspring (038 is still listed!) I can't allow myself to go through them.  It'd be the cheapest, easiest and simplest for me, but the long term is more important than saving a few hundred dollars right now.  Back to browsing TSBC and hoping I can get pregnant in 1 or 2 cycles...

post #186 of 259
Jenn--have you looked into Northwest? That's where a lot of the women using Midwest went after the Great Sperm Crash of '11 (I tell everyone about Black Sperm Wednesday. Back in MY day...) It's also relatively cheap, but is at least attempting to be better about capping the number of kids and lots of the donors are id-release. There are also others that some people adore (European comes to mind) so if you don't find your dream donor at TSBC there are other affordable options.
post #187 of 259

Thread crashing here because I'm interested in the ID-release conversation. Jenn, I conceived using sperm from TSBC back when I was a single dyke living on a grad school stipend. I ended up taking out a small loan to do it. If you are trying to get pregnant quickly, MAKE SURE YOU GET THE HIGHEST SPERM COUNT POSSIBLE. TSBC is great because they'll tell you the count of every vial you're interested in. People on the Queer TTC thread will have lots of advice about this and other things, but I found that the two times I got pregnant (only one stuck), it was with vials that had sperm counts way above the minimum. Ironically, both times they were my "least favorite" donors of the finalists I had, so it seems that even in sperm donation, nice guys finish last.

 

To the bigger question at hand, when I was TTC, id-release was really important to me. I chose TSBC for all of the reasons you identified, and as you have discovered, paid a lot more for it. And overall, I'm happy that I did. One of my DD's donor siblings had a medical problem recently, and the director of TSBC called me personally to talk about it and make sure that we had all of the information we needed. After following up with a specialist, we learned that the risk of DD having any issues was less than 1%. What that says to me is that TSBC takes risk and their responsibility to their clients very seriously, and I appreciate that.

 

In terms of the id-release question, my thinking on this has changed somewhat over the years. I'm not sure if it was because I was single when I was TTC (I'm partnered and co-parenting now), or just because the idea of child seemed so abstract, but I thought A LOT about donors and The Donor when I was trying to get pregnant. ID-release was essential to me, and it was important to me to know that my kid would have access to that information someday. Now, though, it's like things have switched- my kid is the real person, and the donor is the shadowy abstract being who isn't really real to me. And, I understand what someone (EZ?) said earlier- my DP and I are her parents. We are a family. It just is, and we just are, in this way that I really couldn't imagine before she was born. So yeah, the donor seems less important now, in a big way.

 

We've revisted this topic in our house recently, as we begin to think about TTC number 2. I had always just assumed that if I had a second child I'd use the same sperm, but several things have pushed us toward switching. First, obviously, is the medical issue with our donor sibling. Though there's very low risk, I think we'd still feel better with a different donor. Second is that my DP wants to choose the donor together, a process he didn't get to participate in the first time around, since we started dating after I was pregnant. I like this idea, and also like the idea that choosing a different donor means, in some ways, de-prioritizing biology, and emphasizing instead that these are our babies, and they will be siblings, and I'll be their mama, and DP will be their papa, regardless of where the sperm comes from. (Or even the eggs, for that matter, though for logistical reasons we'll probably just stick with mine.) Also on the table is the question of id-release. My feeling has always been that it's a good idea, but DP feels like it's prioritizing biology and the need to know where your biological material comes from over the actual facts of our family. I don't know, it's a big question, and I recognize that as the gestational parent I have a pretty big serving of privilege in this regard. That is, no one ever questions if I'm DD's parent. My DP has had to work a lot harder to gain acceptance and legitimacy as a parent. So, I try to hold that perspective in my mind as well when talking and thinking about these things.

 

Anyway, this is a lot of rambling, and I don't really have answers for you. If you can afford it, TSBC is a wonderful bank, regardless of whether you want ID-release or not. That said, now that my DD is actually here, I don't really think much about what sperm we used, and I honestly don't think I'd care if it had been anonymous sperm from Midwest. Good luck in your decision making! Also, I don't blog anymore, but I used to, and I wrote a lot about being a queer single parent-to-be. If you're interested, it's here- http://www.queerbabymaking.com

post #188 of 259

prettyisa- Will you enlighten me on the Great Sperm Crash of '11?  Thanks for the suggestion of Northwest.  I just started looking at their site and am thrilled with the amount of detail they have.  For their IUI samples they use a gradient wash, which from my research at the library yesterday, is much better than a centrifugal wash and gets the best swimmers with the least debris in the sample.  I have yet to see another bank say what wash method they use.  As for narrowing down a list of donors on TSBC, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.  Though I am in a new relationship, the plan to get pregnant started when I was single.  She would like to be involved but because she has been working for the last week we haven't been able to discuss any of the things I've been researching and forming opinions on.  I'm still in the mindset of being autonomous with all of this, as if I were 100% single.  I'd really like to print out a list of ID release donors from TSBC and go through each profile with her and cross off the ones we rule out from the list.  Trying to make the decision all by myself is overwhelming.  Who knows, she might have a really good argument for using anonymous donors

 

AngelaM- Thank you for your lengthy comment and personal feedback on TSBC!  First, did you use ICI or IUI?  (Forgive me if this is not ok to ask.  I am trying to get an idea of what is the best way to do this and I haven't started reading all the books I got from the library.)  I am thinking of going with IUI prepared sperm for an IU insemination.  Though it would be more expensive and I'd have to go into the clinic to get it done, it seems like the highest chance of success.  I will definitely ask about the sperm count when I order.  I wouldn't have thought to do that.  I see what you mean about the switch if abstract and real, but the other half of your child's genetics will be very real to them.  An open donor does not downgrade the status or validity of your family.  You will always be your child's family, legally and emotionally.   Choosing an ID release donor takes into consideration the various ways your child might feel about being created from purchased sperm.  I recommend reading the study I linked to a few posts up as well as searching around for some first hand accounts (I think I have a few links saved if you're interested).  There are already countries in which anonymous sperm is now illegal and Canada is next on the list for that because of a huge push from children born through sperm donation.  I've been emailing with a friend of mine who had a son through sperm donation (I do not know if she used anonymous or open) and she said the same thing about the donor not really mattering anymore.  She could have used any donor, picked any number, and her son is still her son.  The point that I hope I am getting across, is that I feel so adamantly about buying sperm from an open donor (hell, I tried first with a known donor) because my child, who I know I will love with every fiber of my being, will most likely want to know as much as s/he can about the donor when she is older.  Spending a few extra hundred dollars now is worth it if it might decrease the confusion of my future child.

post #189 of 259
WIth the 75% price increase, Midwest is now comparable to so many other banks. Since Joanne and Vicky are no longer working there, I don't see any reason to continue working with them. They are really the only reason why I stuck by right before they closed. I now use European and love them...AND all of their donors are open identity.
post #190 of 259

Joanne & Vickie are gone? Ugh!!! Seriously yuck!

post #191 of 259
they're gone?! after all that? that's sad... I think we were gonna go for a donor sib but I'm not so sure now. greensad.gif
post #192 of 259
Yeah, they both left. It is sad. Wehrli--I'd say to go for it if it's important to you--it's still the same donor, regardless of the management. But I'd buy some vials and store them elsewhere, just to be on the safe side.
post #193 of 259
Yeh, I'm going to look at european & northwest, but so far TSBC is winning in my book.

Thatnks for so much personal input from everyone! I'm liking this discussion.
post #194 of 259

Isa - I am with you on that note! Ours is a Midwest baby, and I am thinking we will go ahead and buy and store elsewhere.

 

I am bummed they're gone and angry about the prices too! irked.gif

post #195 of 259

I see how using the same donor for a second child would be important, but if MSB wasn't following simple FDA regulations, what bigger things could they have been doing wrong?  I wouldn't want to risk using a bank who could be botching histories or medical exams, accidently switching vials, or poorly keeping records.  Would you eat at a restaurant that was just shut down by the health department?  This is 100 times more important than that!

 

If cheap and anonymous is what's important, then http://www.cryolab.com/ has the lowest prices I've seen and they look like a well run facility.  They have what is called a Value Donor, it is reduced in price so that they can keep inventories even or low.  They are located in Minnesota and their 2day fed-ex is $170, which is the lowest I've seen yet.

 

Thanks for the suggestion of European Sperm Bank.  I read through their site last night and then emailed them because I couldn't find any information on what their cap is.  It was midnight in Chicago and I had a response in ten minutes!  Their cap is 25 children born per donor.  Their prices are just a little lower than TSBC but I want to do a little more research on ESB before making a decision between the two.

post #196 of 259

fyi - I spoke with someone at MWSB yesterday and she said that Joanne was still on vacation (so I'm not so sure that they are "gone").

post #197 of 259

***If we're going to really discuss this study, we should probably make a new thread.  But I'm responding here since the original post was here.***  Just used my university's research database to look up the Institute for American Values (who published the report Jenn posted above) because the findings reported there seem to contradict the findings of other studies I've seen.  Even though they go out of of their way to publicly say "hey, we're not conservative, we're just about family values", they are a conservative group.  They have quite a good deal of anti-gay marriage "research", so I'm not surprised that they aren't thrilled with the idea of same-sex couples conceiving with donor sperm.  Marquardt's work (she's the lead researcher) has been highly praised by The Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other groups who are decidedly anti-LGBTQ everything.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't read the report, but you shouldn't read it as value neutral.  There are a number of credible studies on families who conceive with donor sperm on both sides of the known/unknown debate, but IMO, this isn't one.  

 

 

 

Now, more on topic for this thread, I'd like to second the recommendation for NW Cryobank.  They are quite affordable for ID release donors, and we're happy with their limits and sperm washing technique.  I'm not pregnant yet, but my RE has been very happy with their lab and the quality of specimens.  RE normally prefers to work with TSBC, Pacific, or Xytex, but we couldn't find a willing to be known, CMV-, red-headed donor we liked at any of those places :).  And, while NW does have some reports of bad customer service a few years ago, we haven't had any such experience in the last six months.  We do have two couple in our friend group who used Midwest happily, but I was scared off by their lack of real limits on births.  

post #198 of 259
Pretty sure Joanne and Vicky are really gone (I think MW just doesn't want to lose customers!)...but with all of the rumors I have heard (and different things from receptionists when calling for answers!) who knows what it is true!

I know a lot of people like NW but what I didn't trust is that they NEVER tell you what their sperm counts are--even when you order vials. They promise a certain number, but if you insem at home, there is no way of knowing. On babycenter, there were a lot of people that received money back for low numbers...so that part just made me nervous. Other than that, I have heard all good things about them and the prices are definitely pretty good--especially if you don't have to ship very far.

Jenn--European IS very quick to respond and they are extremely helpful on the phone. If you have further questions about what specific donors are like, they will have full discussions with you about them. We use their "featured donor" of the month (if we like them...) because it is 'buy one get one free'. smile.gif
post #199 of 259


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennp85 View Post

...This study compares donor conceived children (both from single mother, heterosexual couple, and lesbian couple families) with adopted children and children raised by both biological parents.  ... Studies on donor children are just now starting to happen and they are finding that the children themselves want to know about their roots, where half of their genetics and traits come from, and are more prone to problems (like depression and breaking the law) throughout their lives than children who were raised with both biological parents.  

 

I think studies can manipulate data any way they want to.  Here's a study that says kids of lesbians are well adjusted.  I think a trip to pride is pretty educational, tho.

 

 

As for the cap on families, there are larger social implications for having genetic ties to that many people, and we have no idea how this will effect the future generations.

 

This is something I don't worry about terribly much.  So many populations don't go all that far down the family tree to marry, and while I don't want my kids to have issues with dating, they both know they were conceived with the help of donor sperm and will hopefully be smart enough to enquire as to the status of their date before breeding with them.  If they're straight.  I may look into donor sibling registries when they're a little older.  Don't really care enough at the moment since they have all the sibling they need at the moment (and they have different donors, as does baby number 3).

 

 

 Then there is the reporting of family history in the first place.  The donors are usually young and they might not have accurate information for their family members on the forms.  I sure couldn't tell you my family medical history and would have to do a lot of digging to get all the accurate information.

 

Randomly, all my donors have been older than me by at least 5 years.  It's still youngish and I have thought many times that they probably don't know everything in their family.  I tend to skip over the profiles of guys who have nothing or next to nothing marked on their family history for that reason.  

 

As a single lesbian, my options for having children are limited, especially when my income is considered.  I can't use a friend as a known donor because the state will not allow "fathers" to denounce their paternity.

 

My daughter's KD was not listed on her birth certificate.  In my state if you're married to a man he is listed as the father even if he isn't.  Even if he didn't meet the mother until she was 8 months pregnant.  I have heard from a few people that it's a fight to get someone else listed sometimes.  I totally feel you on how easy or hard it is to wind up with children to raise.  I wanted to adopt but pregnancy was easier. 

 

 The donors need to be held accountable for accurate information and the sperm banks for keeping track of births and medical information.  It'd be nice to see donors who choose ID release programs getting the same amount of compensation as those who do not, taking away money as a factor in their decision.  This would also drive down the cost of sperm from those donors, allowing more women access to it.  Ahh, in a perfect world!

 

Have you looked into rainbow flag sperm bank?  The way I understood it 10~ years ago, they have a limit of 4 families per donor.  Their donors are ID release at 3 months of age (and if you don't contact them by a year, they give the donor your info).  Their donors are not compensated as highly as donors at other banks.  They are mostly older and gay.  Their sperm isn't very expensive and they have a program for fresh sperm by mail.  Like, if your friend wanted to donate to you through them, once it goes through the hands of a doctor it's got the nice paper trail if you want to go for a medical card one day without the state trying to find your baby daddy for child support.  I didn't use them for a couple of reasons.  Their focus is as a service for the donors.  It's a way for them to have children in their lives without raising them.  So it's not co-parenting, but they want contact.  I live far from there so it didn't seem fair.  Also their application is, in my opinion, nosey.  I mean, yeah, I wouldn't circ and yeah I wear a seatbelt, but really, I don't like being questioned about it.



 

post #200 of 259

southernfriedkarma - I'm game for a thread discussing this study and others!  I'm new here and will gladly follow suit if someone starts it, maybe a thread on the general ethics of sperm donation and the implications of it for our kids.  I noticed right away that the group who conducted the study was conservative, and I try to take who ran and funded a study or book into consideration while reading it.  The funny thing is, every time they mention the children of lesbian parents, it's in a very positive light.  As I'm reading it it seems like a pretty fair and comprehensive study.  Just because an organization is conservative doesn't mean the researches didn't follow good scientific practices!  If my views of it change as I read further, I will definitely share what I find.

 

seraf- When those studies started showing up saying that kids raised by lesbians fare slightly better than those by heterosexual parents, it made a bit of a splash on the news!  As I said above, the study I linked shows the same thing, with lower rates of depression and negative behavior than those children raised by heterosexual parents.  I agree on the medical history, I skip any that have no information listed.  One bank I was looking at had "no relevant medical history" on almost every profile and that made me feel uncomfortable.  I'll adopt eventually, but I'd like to go through pregnancy now, while I'm still young and then adopt when I am more settled and stable.  I just checked out Rainbow Flag and it doesn't appeal to me for the same reasons you said.  I want autonomy in parenting and don't want someone looking over my shoulder.  It does sound like a neat program that would work for some, especially those in the area.  If I'd known a few months ago that I could go through a sperm bank to create a paper trail and get my friend off the hook, I totally would have done that!  Unfortunately, that friend is now thoroughly scared away by the idea of emotional attachment to the child.  I think I've decided on TSBC even though it's more expensive that European.  And I'm probably going to be working with Howard Brown.  Now I just have to wait, get insurance figured out, and stock pile some money...

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