Choosing A Sperm Donor

Selecting the right sperm donor for your future child is often met with a sense of excitement and overwhelming emotions.

At least it was for us. We did a lot of research, which often led to even more questions. While we ended up loving the donor we chose, we definitely could have used more guidance from someone who’s been there, done that.

So, for everyone considering starting or growing your family using donor sperm, here are the 5 questions I wish I would’ve known to ask:

1) How does my sperm bank screen/test its donors?

This was priority number #1 for us, but the medical terms can be overwhelming and intimidating. Before we even started looking for a donor, I had a CMV test to determine if I was positive or negative. Since the results would determine which type of donor I could choose, making sure all the sperm donors had been extensively evaluated for hereditary and genetic conditions and regularly tested for infectious diseases was a top priority for us.

However, we learned that screening shouldn’t stop there.

Personality characteristics and behavioural characteristics should also be evaluated to give you ultimate peace of mind that the donor you’re selecting fits well with your family.

Xytex, the sperm bank we used, not only has highly trained genetic counsellors on staff, but also has a Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who did all the hard work of assessing personality for us—thank goodness!

Last, but certainly not least, is the testing of the sperm’s motility (its ability to move quickly), giving you greater chances of a successful pregnancy with fewer attempts. In this case, we want the hare to win, not the tortoise!

2) Does the sperm bank provide photos of the donors as adults or just babies?

This was one of the things you don’t know you need until you have it! All baby photos are cute, but to really get a true glimpse of future appearance, adult photos are key.

Since I was carrying Sasha’s egg, we wanted a donor that looked like me. Having access to adult photos of the donors we were considering helped take out some of the guesswork.

Xytex provides the most up-to-date adult photos of their donors, which, along with the in-depth genetic testing and personality evaluation, gives you a clear look at who the donor truly is.

3) What are my deal-breaker traits? 

This is probably the single most important “buying” decision you’ll make so it’s important to come at it from every angle! Here are a few things to consider:

– If the donor has undergone expanded carrier-testing (if you yourself have tested as a carrier of certain genetic conditions)

 – The donor’s CMV status (a common virus that stays with a person for life although it usually remains inactive)

– If he is an Open ID donor so that children receive his contact info when they turn 18 (we were fortunate that Xytex has the most Open ID donors of any sperm bank!)

– Whether the donor has pregnancies reported

– The donor’s education level

– The number of vials available

4) Have I considered the possibility of future family growth?

Definitely be thinking ahead. Popular donors’ inventory is in high demand and once a donor’s supply is gone, it’s gone forever.

If you want to have more than one child by the same donor, or if there’s even a question in your mind, it’s best to buy more vials upfront and then store them for later.

5) Does the sperm bank support and understand my family?

Not only did the support from our friends and family make the whole process feel like such a special joyous event, but the support we received from Xytex also gave us a level of comfort and peace of mind that made it an exciting experience for both of us.

Look for a sperm bank that empowers you and your significant other throughout your journey to parenthood, walking with you every step of the way.

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