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What Type of Sperm Donor Should I Use?

Many lesbian patients or couples facing male factor infertility choose to use a sperm donor to build their family.

There are two types of sperm donors to consider:

Known and Unknown.

Consider your options below and let us know what feels most comfortable to you, or we can discuss your situation and make the decision together.

Using an Unknown Sperm Donor via a Sperm Bank

If you prefer not to use a sperm donor you know, our andrologists in the lab can help you understand the process of selecting and ordering donor sperm. We will begin your cycle with labs including TDI screening along with blood type/ Rh Factor and CMV Status. CMV is a virus known as Cytomegalovirus.  Knowing your CMV status is important in selecting a sperm donor. If your result is CMV (+), then you may choose a donor who is either CMV (+) or (-).  If you are CMV (-), then you must choose a donor who is also CMV (-).

After your labs are completed, the andrologist will help you (and your partner or spouse) sign consent forms (if legally married, both you and your spouse need to be present to sign together), and will introduce you to a list of reputable FDA-approved cryobanks where donor sperm can be purchased. Sperm banks may differ on price, donor selection criteria, the amount of information they release about their donors, and their family planning programs.

Some of the more popular FDA-Approved sperm banks we work with include:

A more extensive list of FDA-approved sperm donor sources is available upon request.

Once you have selected your sperm bank of choice and donor, there may be a few different vial types you can choose from based on whether you are planning an IUI or IVF treatment cycle.

  • IUI Patients: If you are using a donor for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), you will need to order “IUI Washed specimens.” You will only need one vial per IUI; however, we recommend ordering at least two vials at a time so you will have a backup sample in the event of an emergency. This will also save you money on shipping fees if you do not get pregnant and need additional samples later. Most sperm banks will offer some type of guarantee on motility for their IUI vials.
  • IVF Patients: If you are doing IVF (in vitro fertilization), you can select any vial type (“washed” or “unwashed” specimens) because our lab will wash the IVF specimen to prepare it for any procedure you are having done, such as ICSI.

Shipping Your Specimens to CC:

If the bank you select requires and authorization form, please let us know and we will fax a “Release of Semen” form.

Please have your samples shipped so that they arrive Monday through Friday (overnight or two-day morning delivery). We do not accept shipments on the weekend.  Please be certain that your shipment of samples arrive in our laboratory at least a week prior to your procedure (IUI or egg retrieval).

Storage Fees at CC:

You do not have to pay storage fees when using an anonymous sperm donor, as long as you are an active patient.

If you are not actively trying to conceive for 6 months or more, or if you do get pregnant and still have vials at Carolina Conceptions, you will have the option to discard them or pay a flat fee of $475 (or current rate) for annual storage.

Using a Known Sperm Donor

Some patients feel more comfortable using a known sperm donor (a male who is NOT the sexually intimate partner of the female patient intending to carry the pregnancy), instead of using an unknown donor from a sperm bank. Carolina Conceptions is pleased to offer known or “directed” sperm donation as an option to patients perusing conception via donor sperm. Psychological testing and clearance is required individually and as a group to confirm all parties involved understand the aspects of known donor conception. This three-part evaluation will include:

  1. Meeting with the donor (and spouse/partner) – Evaluation, psycho-education, and psychological test administration
  2. Meeting with the recipients – Evaluation, psycho-education, and psychological test administration
  3. Joint meeting with donor and recipients

Please contact Ryan Blazei at 919-720-1452 to schedule your psychological appointments.

After both parties have received psychological clearance to move forward with known donor conception and have a legal contract completed, the donor will provide a semen specimen. FDA regulations for known donors require the donor’s specimen be frozen (cryopreserved). The specimen will be analyzed while the donor completes a physical exam with a CC physician, and blood and urine samples to screen for the following:

  • Blood Type with Rh factor
  • HIV 1 and 2
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody and Surface Antigen
  • Hepatitis C
  • HTLV I and II
  • RPR
  • CMV IgG
  • IgM
  • West Nile Virus
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

*The above screening must take place on donation day, within 7 days prior to donation, or within 7 days following donation. A new round of screening is required by the FDA for all specimens provided outside of this 7-day period.

After screening is completed, results will be reviewed with a Carolina Conceptions physician to determine whether the donor is medically eligible to donate. If all test results are considered “normal,” the donor is considered eligible to provide sperm for a treatment cycle at CC. We recommend at least three additional specimens be frozen at this time for the patient’s upcoming fertility treatment cycle. It is important to remember “normal” screening results do not guarantee a future pregnancy. If abnormal results are discovered in the above testing, the donor will not be eligible to provide sperm for the patient’s treatment cycle.

At this time, a consultation with a reproductive law attorney is highly recommended to ensure all parties involved understand the legal aspects of direct sperm conception and legal parentage of future children. Legal consultation can be completed with Jennifer Tharrington.  Please call 919-783-9669 to schedule your appointment.