Sperm Donation

Since the first donor inseminations that were typically performed on heterosexual women and often shrouded in secrecy, the sperm banking industry has undergone tremendous changes. To start, following the initial outbreak of HIV, the FDA required the donor be tested and his sperm frozen and quarantined to avoid the spread of infectious diseases.

But perhaps the biggest change has been societally driven. As more lesbians have decided to start families, they frequently outnumber heterosexual customers at some of the largest sperm banks. As a result, the criteria for choosing a sperm donor has changed as well. Says Scott Brown of the California Cryobank, recipients are now looking for a more emotional-based connection rather than a specific set of physical characteristics. They want to know more about his personality and the qualities that make us unique as individuals.

How is sperm processed?

The collected sperm is tested for morphology and motility before being frozen with a cryopreservant.  It is then placed into quarantine for six months while the donor is again tested diseases like STDs.  After that, the sperm is stored in liquid nitrogen where it can stay indefinitely.

Should recipients purchase additional vials?

Since only a limited number of sperm is collected from each donor, it’s a good idea to purchase additional vials of sperm to ensure sperm from the same donor for any future children.

What does it mean to be an open donor?

Most open donor programs allow children to gain information about or even meet their sperm donors.  The contact is usually facilitated by the sperm bank, as it is in the case of the California Cryobank, once they receive a request from a child.