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How to choose a sperm bank

It is very important to choose a sperm bank that best fits you. Do not select a donor based on the donor description without information about the sperm bank. If you are unsure of which sperm bank to use, ask your fertility specialist for a recommendation and ask the questions below.

Questions to ask

  • What certifications does the sperm bank have?
    • Sperm banks can be accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) or state department of health under CLIA.
    • The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) publishes guidelines that most sperm banks follow.
  • What screening process do your donors go through?
    • Measure the sperm's motility?
    • Do all donors receive a physical exam that includes blood testing?
    • Does the bank review the donor's family medical history going back one or two generations?
    • Does an employee of the sperm bank personally interview each donor?
    • Do they perform genetic screening or chromosomal analysis?
  • Does the sperm bank track medical history?
    • This is important because what happens if the donor develops a genetic disease after you've already had children using his sperm? Your child could have the same disease. You might be able to use the information to take preventive action to protect your child.
    • Will the bank notify you of any changes?
    • Will the bank make a donor's medical records accessible to adult children if it's medically necessary
  • Are all of your donors anonymous?
    • Some sperm banks give the donor the choice of remaining anonymous after the child reaches 18 years of age.
  • Does the sperm bank track pregnancies
    • Tracking pregnancies is important. If you know a pregnancy was reported from a particular donor's sperm, then you know his sperm is capable of fertilizing an egg. Also, tracking pregnancies is the only way to know how many children have already been born from a particular donor.
  • What genetic conditions are the sperm donors routinely screened for?
  • How many years has the sperm bank been in business
    • The longer the company has been in business, the more experience they have. Also, check the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints filed against them.
  • Do you perform a freeze test?
    • Some donors' semen freezes better than others'. A freeze test determines how well the semen freezes.
  • Does the bank ship using nitrogen?
    • Donor sperm must be frozen to a very cold temperature in order to preserve it for long periods of time. The best way to ship sperm is in a dry nitrogen vapor dewar. Sperm will stay viable in a nitrogen tank for at least seven days. Some banks may offer dry ice as an option because it's cheaper, but most fertility specialists don't recommend this.
  • What kind of cryoprotectant does the bank use?
    • Sperm banks use a cryoprotectant to improve freezability. Some cryoprotectants can cause an allergic reaction which may be serious.
  • Do you have a quality assurance policy?
    • Some sperm banks will assure the quality of their sperm.

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