While the government regulates the handling of the sperm specimens and the safety screening, there are no regulations to ensure the honesty of the sperm donors. And it would be extremely difficult for sperm banks to verify the accuracy of all the information, including the medical history that the donors fill out for their profiles. Says Charles A. Sims, M.D., co-founder and medical director of California Cryobank, “We do go to great pains to try to assess the integrity of the donor by going over the family history multiple times and looking for any discrepancies. If our staff thinks there’s something not quite right with the donor, they can disqualify him.” And indeed they do: Just 3 to 5 percent of applicants make the cut at CCB.
Sperm by Special Delivery
So now you’ve found the perfect donor, pored over his medical history, listened to an interview with him (again and again), maybe even seen his baby photo. You liked his personal essay, that he played soccer in college, recently took up the guitar, and loves Mexican food. The last question is how many vials of his sperm to request from the bank.
“Your physician will be able to give you a number,” Conaghan says. “For a given insemination you should have two vials on hand.” That means if you’re happy with your donor selection and want to be sure you can be inseminated again with his sperm in case you need a second try, you’ll need to order four vials. Otherwise you might find you have to go through the whole donor selection process again if the sperm you want is no longer available.
Finally, although it may be hard to think beyond this hoped-for pregnancy, you should try to think much further ahead than that. Mary Hartley calls it especially heartbreaking when parents whose first child was conceived with the help of donor sperm can’t get more vials of the same donor’s sperm later, when they’re ready for a second child (and want their offspring to be biological siblings). So in this, as in so many things related to babymaking, it pays to think ahead.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of Conceive Magazine.
Getting Pregnant with Donor Sperm|
Feb 24, 2009
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