Legal to "donate"/"sell" leftover sperm? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-22-2011, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have about 8 vials of sperm left...known donor (a friend) who would want to only be known to an older child if desired (I agreed to be a communication route).


I spent over $2,000 on testing and freezing for these guys.  Count is great, guy is great.  I had no success due to my own infertility issues (AI/IUI/IVF was not the way to go for me, my body did not react to the drugs).


I am not looking to make back all of my $, by any means.  I was wondering if it was legal (I'm in NYS) to charge someone of my choosing SOME of the cost for these vials?  On one hand, I do still have an awful lot of medical expenses related to the IVFs to pay off, and this $ would go a long way toward that.  On another hand, this is bank-quality sperm, collected at the fertility clinic in a sterile environment, etc...maybe it's classist, but I would want someone who can afford some kind of payment for them (kind of like charging an adoption fee for a dog at a shows commitment, I guess).



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#2 of 5 Old 06-22-2011, 01:12 PM
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I can see why you thought of this idea… selling something you don’t need to someone who does to recuperate some of you fertility costs… sounds simple enough!   Unfortunately it can also be the making of a legal Pandora’s Box for everybody involved: you, the recipient, the donor, any future children and their parents!  They only way this could work is if the fertility clinic where the sperm was collected and stored had their own sperm bank (some do) and was able to screen the donor and buy the sperm from you/him.  Sorry to be so negative! Hope this works out to everybody’s benefit. 

A (36) DP (52), brokenheart.gif over losing DD at 38 weeks in 2011. Our rainbow1284.gifrainbow1284.gifboy/gril twins arrived in April 2012!

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#3 of 5 Old 06-22-2011, 01:30 PM
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I'm a bit confused. Is this frozen sperm that you purchased from a sperm bank and if so, where does it reside? Most sperm banks give you the option of selling back sperm if you don't use it, perhaps at a fraction of the price you paid for it but nonetheless, you can sell it back. Otherwise, how are you anticipating "selling" it to someone else? Paying for it and picking it up from the sperm bank and then selling it to someone who is going to use it right away for insemination?


I think if you're contemplating the latter, it's inappropriate and a legal mess. I do think the reproductive industry makes big bucks they shouldn't, but sperm can create life and the guy who provided the sperm believed he was providing it under the auspice that someone at the sperm bank would be controlling its distribution. And that the control mechanisms meant there would be a limitation as to the amount of offspring his sperm could produce.


Other people might think none of this matters since the guy could go off and produce as many children as he wants naturally, therefore populating the earth when many of his offspring but for me personally, something with it doesn't sit quite right when not all parties are aware of what's going on.

me (40) DP (47) TTC since April 2010, 5 IUIs & 6 at home w/ fresh
Short luteal phase, septum resection in Sept 2011
Jan 2011 a BFP! Try #11 angel.gif 8w2d (blighted ovum)
April 2011 BFP! Try #12 angel.gif 9w2d (no heartbeat)

Nov 2011 BFP! Try #14 angel.gif 8w0d (twins, no heartbeat)

June 2012 -- Moving onto IVF with PGD

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#4 of 5 Old 06-23-2011, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's more details:


My partner and I asked a friend of mine to donate sperm for our IVF/IUI attempts.  He went through the fertility clinic/USDA procedures for sperm donation (signed contracts to make the sperm mine, went through all the required physical and testing procedures, donations, retesting, more donations, and then testing again).  I paid for all testing and storage.


Unfortunately, my fertility issues prevented me from conceiving, and my partner and I have since split up.  I spoke with my friend/donor about what to do with his donations.  I have offered them to my ex-partner, as I have conceived with my current partner and am currently 6 months pregnant.  She did not want them.  My other options are to discard them (8 vials), or transfer them to someone else's name at the fertility clinic (ie: someone else would then be responsible for payment of freezing costs and the process of withdrawing them when necessary or going to the clinic to use them).  My donor in the end decided to say that the vials are mine to do with what I wish--he was disappointed that I was not able to conceive with his sperm (he would have made a great "uncle!"), but would not be interested in being involved in anyone else's life if I were to give them to another lesbian (or trans or infertile hetero) couple.


I do not want to make money on the deal...Yes, I want to recoup some money, but that's not the main purpose.  I believe I could probably donate them to the fertility clinic, which would turn them from a "known donor" category into an "anonymous donor" category, IF the USDA did not have rules against gay males donating sperm anonymously.  My donor is gay.  100% STD and genetic disease free (tested every few months during and after donation, just as a sperm bank has to do), but that limits his ability to donate anonymously.  Or rather, eliminates it.  


Basically, I have 8 vials of life-giving sperm.  I know how expensive sperm is to purchase from a bank...I bought 2 vials for AI and IUI before speaking with my donor.  I paid a lot of money total (around $2250) for these 8 vials, but that's a decent price per-vial, and at the time it made sense.  I was hoping to offer these to someone who maybe needed more than just one or two vials to get the job done, but didn't have $650 per vial to spend, sometimes 2-3 vials a month. I also would have no interest in giving these to multiple people.  My donor's intention was to produce one, MAYBE two offspring (to the same couple).  That's it.  I am not looking to sell these by the vial and have 8 little "John"s (name changed, obviously) running around just for my own greed.  There are donor-registry websites where women post leftover anonymous sperm from discontinued donors at major cryobanks (if someone wants a full sibling, but ran out of her purchased sperm, she may be able to buy it from people there).  But these are anonymous donors, with sperm from cryobanks...this is different.  *sigh*




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#5 of 5 Old 06-23-2011, 12:45 PM
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I'm sorry that you haven't received more answers. It's a complicated situation, and to be perfectly honest, I think that this is an expense you'll probably just have to eat. I don't know of any service or forum that allows the selling of "private market" sperm.:) (MDC does not.)


If you do want to sell the vials, I think your best bet would be to write out an email explaining your situation, and just send it out to everyone you know, asking them to forward on to their networks. I have friends who passed on an extra vial of sperm this way, though they weren't looking for any $$, they just wanted someone to take over the storage fees. You know, the power of queer networks and all... You might also ask your KD if he knows anyone who might be interested. Most gay guys I know have a long list of lesbians seeking their sperm...


I would also encourage you, if you can't find a buyer, to consider donating them to someone who might not be able to afford sperm otherwise. I understand that you spent a lot of money on this and want to recoup, but if you can't- there are many people who will make excellent parents, and desperately want to be parents, who are priced out of the queer fertility scene. I would gently discourage you from only wanting to share your sperm with someone who can afford to pay for it. Some of the best parents I know would never be able to afford sperm from a bank.


I actually got pregnant initially with leftover sperm that someone gave me. I was a grad student back then and living on a very limited income, and it felt like an amazing gift. Now my DP and I are both successful PhDs. We make decent money and could buy our own sperm if/when we TTC again. But back then, it was a huge, daunting expense for me, and I'm glad that some stranger's generosity made it possible for me to accrue a little less debt on the path parenthood. I guess what I'm saying here is that the lack of ability to pay $2,000 upfront for sperm - an amount of sperm you might not even need - does not preclude excellent parenting. I ended up miscarrying my first pregnancy and taking out a student loan to buy more sperm. I have a daughter now, and actually own extra vials of sperm from her donor. I often think about what I would do with those extra vials if we end not needing them, and for me, the obvious answer is to give them to someone who can't afford to buy their own. Even though I still have some debt from them, I guess I just see this as my opportunity to pay it forward. And as a recognition of my current place of relative economic privilege, and a desire to contribute to a world of queer parenting that doesn't create barriers to access for those with less money. So, that's my $0.02 on that.


I also might add that though you're talking about a price that's much lower than that of some sperm banks, you get other services with a sperm bank as well- the ability to switch donors if things aren't working out. The knowledge that the bank will notify you if there's ever a reported medical issue with your donor or donor siblings. Access to a donor sibling registry. The ability to transfer your sperm to someone else if you ever decide to, without any ethical issue. Paperwork to help in filing a second parent adoption. So, these are all reasons why what was a very good deal for YOU (using a KD who you had a relationship with), might not be a great deal for someone else.


Best of luck in your decisions, and congratulations on your pregnancy.

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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