There are a lot of long-held myths and misconceptions about what it’s like to be a sperm donor, as well as what it’s like to use a sperm donor to have a baby. Often, these misguided notions contribute to incorrect beliefs regarding third-party reproduction services such as sperm donation, egg donation and gestational surrogacy.
It can also negatively influence other individuals who need help building their families and those who choose to donate their time and energy to help. Learning about third-party reproduction services like sperm donation can go a long way toward breaking down painful stigmas about working with a sperm bank to have a baby that still exist today.
1. Sperm donor requirements are strict.
Potential sperm donors are screened for everything from STDs to inherited genetic conditions. Many donor applicants are rejected during these screening processes. Donors also must have graduated from or be enrolled in college at the time of donation. Sperm donation is monitored by four regulatory bodies in the California and therefore is very safe.
2. You’ll know your baby’s genetics.
Parents will know their child’s full genetic history because sperm donors are required to provide a full personal and familial history prior to donation.
3. Donors must commit to donation programs.
Depending on the sperm bank, donors will need to commit to the bank’s donation program for a period of time, often for at least a full year.
4. Sperm donors are young.
Many sperm banks will have a strict age range for donors that cuts off before they reach age 30. Typically, sperm banks will require donors to be between the ages of 18 and 28.
5. Sperm donors are paid, but not as much as egg donors.
Most sperm banks will offer donors between $50 and $75 per submission, whereas an egg donor could receive anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 per donation cycle. Egg donation is a much more medically-invasive and time-consuming process.
6. Donors can be known or unknown.
An anonymous, or “unknown,” sperm donor is someone whose profile you have selected from a sperm bank’s database. A directed, or “known,” sperm donor is a family member or close friend who has offered to be your sperm donor.
7. There are many reasons why a sperm donor may be needed.
Use of a sperm donor to have a baby isn’t limited to single women who wish to have a child. Sperm donation is also used to assist couples struggling with male factor infertility or same-sex female couples who require a donor to have a baby.
8. You can choose the sex of your child when using donated sperm.
Gender selection is used to achieve family balance, for emotional reasons or for medical reasons such as avoiding genetic conditions only passed down to male or female babies.
9. Sperm banks can offer fertility services too.
In addition to donated sperm, some banks also offer other fertility services such as artificial insemination, sperm storage, sperm washing and more.
10. Sperm banks should be fully licensed with experienced staff.
Just like any other medical facility, donors and future parents alike should research their sperm bank of choice to help ensure that their facility uses state-of-the-art medical technology and that its leadership is trustworthy and well-regarded in the fertility community.