Donor Conception

What to Consider When Choosing a Sperm Donor

Eloise Edington  |   5 Jan 2021


Founder of Fertility Help Hub, Eloise, openly shares her experiences of her husband’s unsuccessful micro-TESE sperm extraction and their subsequent decision to choose a sperm donor.  And whilst Eloise and her husband now have three children via sperm donation, when they were picking a sperm donor they felt “totally overwhelmed”.

A few months before joining FHH as the Writer and Editor, I, Holly, underwent my own fertility treatment and had to choose a sperm donor for embryo freezing.  Like Eloise and her husband, I felt almost paralysed by the options available.  Eloise sought to find a donor with similar genes to her partner, whereas I was (and still am) completely clueless about the person I’ll end up with – so it was tricky to know where to begin.

Today we turn to Cryos International for advice on what to consider when choosing a sperm donor.  (Find out more about Cryos here.)

Over to Cryos…

If you need a sperm donor for fertility treatment, for whatever reason, you are probably wondering what you should consider when choosing a sperm donor. Cryos is the world’s largest sperm and egg bank and for more than 30 years, we have helped couples and singles find a sperm donor for fertility treatment.

We want to share five tips that will hopefully help you when choosing a sperm donor.

1. How much information do you want to know about your donor?

How much information people want about the donor is each couple’s personal and individual choice. In our free Donor Search, you can see both donor profiles with a lot of information (extended donor profile) and donor profiles with only basic information available (basic donor profile).

To some, knowing a lot about the donor – such as interests, family history and seeing photos of them – helps them to get an idea who the donor is. For others choosing a sperm donor, personal information about the donor is not of importance; they are comfortable only knowing the basics like hair colour, eye colour and ethnicity. You can take a look at the different types of donor profiles in Cryos’ Donor Search to know what feels right for you.

Different types of donor profile: Extended or Basic

2. Will your child be able to contact the sperm donor in the future?

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a sperm donor for fertility treatment is whether you want your child to be able to contact the donor in the future. You can choose between ID Release donors and Non ID Release donors.

There’s no need to worry about legal parenthood in the future as all donors in FDA-approved sperm banks (such as Cryos International) have signed away paternity rights.

ID Release:

  • With an ID Release donor, your child will have the opportunity to find information about the donor’s identity when they turn 18.
  • Cryos don’t disclose donor information to you at any point.

Non ID Release:

  • With a Non ID Release donor, neither you nor your child will have access to identifying information about the donor.
  • Be mindful that, with the internet, social media and ancestry services becoming more and more common worldwide, Non ID Release donors may not be 100% anonymous in years to come.

Top tips from our Instagram community on picking a donor:

  • “Don’t overthink it or complicate things.  I had to choose my third sperm donor within 12 months.”
  • “It’s only as big a deal as you make it.  Don’t start searching for superman, he doesn’t exist.”
  • “Remember no one is perfect and no description is 100% precise, so go with your gut.”
  • “Decide what’s important to you, e.g. looks, education, upbringing – then filter your search for this.”
  • “Take time to make sure you and your partner are both ready.”
  • “We’ve just purchased and I would say counselling is key beforehand.”
  • “If you find the one, buy lots!  I’m currently [through] nine vials so far and still working towards our baby.”

3. Do you want to see adult photos of your sperm donor?

When choosing a sperm donor, you’ll need to decide if you want to have as much information about the sperm donor as possible. If you do, you have the option to see photos of some of the donors as adults.

Before getting access to the donors’ adult photos, you should consider if you think it will help you gain the full picture of the donor, or if it feels better for you to choose a donor with no photo or just a photo from his childhood. Again, this is a personal decision.

4. Mark your favourite donors to make it easier

When choosing a sperm donor, you’ll search through the profiles and you can save your favourite donors using Cryos’ search tools. This way, you can narrow down to, say, five or ten favourite donors that match your criteria the best, to ease the selection process. This means you can think about it in your own time and come back to your preferred profiles, to make your final decision when you’re ready.

5. Save sperm straws for the entire treatment and future children

After choosing a sperm donor, you’ll order sperm from Cryos. At this point, you can choose to reserve sperm straws for your entire treatment, in case you need more than one treatment cycle to become pregnant. Reserving sperm straws means that we save straws from your preferred donor in our facilities.

If you do not need all the straws you have saved, you can get 75% of the straw price refunded. Ask your clinic how many straws they want for each cycle before purchasing them.

If you already know that it’s likely you’ll want your child to have a sibling, you can also reserve extra straws for future treatments. In our experience, many people prefer to use the same donor for their future children. This way, your children will have the same genetic heritage.

Choosing a sperm donor for fertility treatment is a huge commitment and involves consideration and often time. Ultimately, picking a sperm donor is a personal choice and there’s no “best way” to do so; many of our Instagram community recommend trusting gut instinct, others suggest carefully examining all the information. However, we hope that these tips will help you choosing a sperm donor.

Cryos International’s website has a wealth of information you might need when considering a sperm donor.  Cryos have a team of dedicated customer service consultants who are ready to help you when you’re ready – if you have any questions, contact Cryos by phone or e-mail to speak with a friendly advisor.

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