Donor Conception

5 Unexpected Things to Consider When Choosing a Sperm Donor

Eloise Edington  |   26 Apr 2022


If you’re considering using donor sperm for fertility treatment, the chances are you’ve spoken to your fertility specialist, Googled “How to choose a sperm donor” and had a good old think about what to look out for when selecting a sperm donor.

These are all important steps and questions but are there any other things you should think about when choosing a sperm donor? What about those out-of-the-box or unexpected considerations? How do you know if you’ve thought of everything or anticipated the unexpected?

Fertility Help Hub spoke with the Customer Care Team at Cryos International about the common questions they are asked when clients buy donor sperm – to help you decide on the right sperm donor for you.

Cryos International Sperm and Egg Bank have over 30 years of experience helping intended parents create their families, search through egg and sperm donors for fertility treatment.

Read on for five unexpected considerations when choosing a sperm donor.

Written by Holly Pigache

1) Availability of Donor Sperm

At Cryos International Sperm and Egg Bank, those wishing to purchase donor sperm for fertility treatment buy sperm in “straws”. There are two types of sperm straws you can buy: IUI straws or ICI straws (containing washed/prepared sperm and unwashed/unprepared sperm, respectively). To know which type of sperm straws to order, speak with your fertility clinic who will be able to advise you.

Knowing how much donor sperm to order can be difficult and it’s recommended you speak with your fertility specialist. However, as a guide, Cryos recommend purchasing between one and four ICI straws (depending on your sperm donor’s sperm motility) and one IUI straw (of high sperm motility) per cycle of IVF. (Find out more about how much donor sperm to order here.)

Before you purchase donor sperm, consider how many rounds of IVF or ICSI you plan to have and if you wish to retain donor sperm for future treatments. It’s important to have enough donor sperm straws for your entire treatment (bearing in mind it takes most people a few attempts of fertility treatment to get pregnant).

Fortunately, you don’t need to purchase straws for current fertility treatment and possible future attempts straight away. At Cryos, you can reserve extra sperm straws for a small fee. Not only does this give you peace of mind that you can use the same donor for future fertility treatments, but it also increases the chances of your donor-conceived child having genetically-related siblings.

2) Reserving a Pregnancy or Family Slot

Did you know that most countries have a maximum allowance of pregnancies per sperm donor? This caps the number of pregnancies a donor contributes to in a particular country (known as a pregnancy quota).

To ensure you don’t miss out on using your chosen sperm donor, it’s important to reserve a pregnancy or family slot in your country. This means you can use your sperm donor throughout your fertility treatment and also for treatment in the future, should you wish to give your donor-conceived child genetically-related siblings. To find out if your country of residence has a pregnancy quota, speak with your fertility clinic.

3) Attitudes About Donor Sperm for Fertility Treatment are Changing (For the Better)

Feeling apprehensive about choosing a sperm donor is understandable (and common in our fertility community). Firstly, this new reality of creating your family might be different from how you hoped to have children and this may be accompanied by a grieving process. Fertility clinics offer people using donor eggs or sperm specialist fertility counseling to guide patients through the process and there are many supportive fertility communities (like FHH’s free app here) where you can speak with others in similar situations.

In recent years, laws surrounding donor conception have changed and there is a more accepting attitude towards different family make-ups. Research into the well-being of donor-conceived individuals is overwhelmingly in favor of being open and honest with donor-conceived children about their origins. The love shared in a family is more influential in how well-adjusted children are than the intricacies of family structure.

4) Delivery Speed of Donor Sperm

When buying donor sperm consider when your fertility treatment is so that your fertility clinic has the donor sperm before that date. You might have more sperm donors to choose from than you might expect as global shipping means you’re not limited to choosing a sperm donor from your country of residence.

Cryos International ships donor sperm to fertility clinics across the world. After placing your order online, Cryos need one to five days to process and ship donor sperm (sperm shipments to Europe take one to three days – Monday to Friday – and two to five days when shipped to the rest of the world). If you need donor sperm urgently, Cryos can ship your order even sooner for an additional fee.

It’s important that someone is available at the fertility clinic to accept your donor sperm and safely transport it to their own cryopreservation facilities, therefore, notify your clinic once you’ve purchased donor sperm so they know when to accept the delivery.

5) Your Country’s Laws Surrounding Donor Sperm

All countries have legal requirements for sperm (and egg) donors – some countries allow the possibility of future contact between donor-conceived children and donors (ID Release donor), others only allow the use of egg and sperm donors who cannot be contacted in the future (Non-ID Release donor). Moreover, some countries only allow donated sperm to be used in fertility treatment if minimal donor information is provided. Speak with your fertility clinic about the sperm donor options available in your country as this will impact your decision of which sperm donor to choose.

Choosing a sperm donor for fertility treatment is a big decision and taking into account these five important considerations will help you pick the sperm donor for you.

Click on the link to browse sperm donors at Cryos International Sperm and Egg Bank.

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