Benefits of Becoming a Sperm Donor

Why do men elect to be become sperm donors?  This varies for each donor, but generally they do it for two primary reasons; To help others start a family, and for the Financial Benefits they gain by entering a Donor Program.

Most Sperm Donor programs afford a number of key benefits to donors:

  • Monetary Reward per Donation – Sperm Donors earn a set amount of money per donation to reimburse them for their time and commitment to the donor program.  The amount offered varies between different sperm banks and countries.  Some countries such as the UK regulate the amount of money that can be offered to donors for donations.
  • Helping others Start a Family – Many potential donors become more interested in donation once they learn how important sperm donors are for many people that want to start a family and need a sperm donor.
  • Free Health Checkups and Testing – Sperm Banks need healthy donors and they offer frequent medical exams and testing to look for health issues.  Donors benefit from these health checkups and testing.

Below is a video explaining some of the benefits and the process of becoming a sperm donor.

If you are interested in what is involved in becoming a sperm donor, check out the How It Works page on seattlespermdonor.com.

How are sperm banks regulated?

In most countries, Sperm Banks are regulated by government agencies.  These agencies publish rules and guidelines that determine how tissue banks can operate within their jurisdictions.

The United States

In the United States, sperm banks are highly regulated by the FDA and several state agencies, such as the New York State Department of Health and the California State Department of Health.  The primary purpose for these regulations is to protect any unborn children conceived through donor sperm by ensuring the that donors are healthy and free of diseases that are transmissible through semen.

All Sperm Bank operating in the United States must be licensed and regulated by the FDA. An example of a sperm bank that is licensed by the FDA, the State of New York, and the State of California is Seattle Sperm Bank.

The United Kingdom

In the UK, the regulating body is the HFEA (Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority).  The HFEA creates guidelines and standards for all UK based fertility centres.

An example of a local UK based fertility centre that specializes in Donor Sperm is Brighton Fertility Associates.

Healthy Sperm Production – How to Maximize

For men looking to have a baby with a partner or who are donating sperm at a sperm bank, healthy sperm production is an important metric. Here are some helpful tips on how to increase the quantity and quality of your sperm:

Do the following:

  • Have a Healthy Lifestyle – Exercise moderately and eat nutritious foods. Improving your health will improve the quality of your sperm.
  • Rest up – Make sure you get enough sleep at night, drink plenty of liquids, and minimize stress.
  • Ejaculate every 48 hours – Your bodies sperm production is linked to secretion. The more you use, the more your body will try to produce. If you are a Sperm Donor, it is best to ejactulate during your scheduled visits per the Sperm Banks recommended guidelines.

Avoid the following:

  • Avoid Smoking – Smoking is bad for your health and can also impact your sperm production in negative ways. Smoking is associated with lower sperm counts and decreased motility and has even been linked to higher percentage chances of miscarriages.
  • Avoid Drinking and Drug Use – Avoid excessive alcohol and recreational drug use. Both can impact sperm production and motility, as well as impact your overall health.
  • Avoid Hot Tubs and Hot Baths – High temperatures kill sperm. Your testicles are outside your body for a reason, and that reason is body temperature. Sperm prefer a lower temperature to stay healthy, so avoid submerging yourself in hot liquids.
  • Avoid tight underwear – Due to higher temperatures, avoid wearing tight fitting underwear. It is better to wear boxers and other looser underwear

If you are interested in becoming a sperm donor, check out the list of Sperm Banks on our site.

What information is available about donors?

Sperm banks provide a variety of information about their donors to help clients select a donor that matches their needs and preferences.  Donor information available will very between sperm bank.  The information  provided by the sperm bank may include:

  • Maternal and Paternal Ethnicity
  • Physical appearance such as eye color, hair color, height, weight
  • Blood type
  • Education level and major
  • Personality profile such as Keirsey tests
  • Genetic Testing Information
  • Baby photos
  • Audio interviews
  • Staff impressions
  • Text Description of the donor

To see an example online catalog of donors, please visit the Seattle Sperm Bank Donor List.

What is a Sperm Bank?

A sperm bank, cryobank. or semen bank, is a type of tissue bank that collects, tests, stores, and distributes human sperm (semen) from a variety of donors for use primarily in reproductive procedures.

The primary purpose of a sperm bank is to help women become pregnant through third-party reproduction procedures such as artificial insemination.

Some sperm banks also provide material that is used for research purposes.

Sperm Banks are heavily regulated in most countries and provide an in-demand service that is needed by those who are seeking to start a family with the help of a the fertility clinic.

Sperm Banks are also used by men seeking to store their sperm long term for potential use in the future, often due to a vasectomy or other health related procedure.

Sperm Donation

One of the primary services provided by a Sperm Bank is the organized collection of Donor Sperm. Sperm Banks conduct extensive testing of donor specimens to ensure the safety and viability of the samples they collect. Because of this, a good Sperm Bank focuses on the quality of their Donors from a reproductive health stand point.

The Fertility Health industry is in continuous need of donor samples to help individuals and couples that are trying to conceive. Quality donors are needed at many Sperm Banks in the US and other countries.

Vials, Straws, IUI, ICI, ART, ICSI, what are they?!

Vials and Straws

Sperm Banks process and store Donor Sperm in several formats. Vials and Straws refers to the type of container the frozen sperm is stored in. The type of media that sperm is stored in is determined by the sperm bank and is mostly a logistical decision related to how the sperm will be safely stored, labelled, and transported.

Some fertility clinics have a preference or requirement related to the type of media. For example, some fertility clinics will only use vials for insemination procedures. This is typically determined by the equipment and processes used at the fertility clinic.

Most straws contain 0.5 ml of semen, while vials often contain between 0.5 ml to 1 ml of semen.

IUI, ICI, ART, and ICSI Vials/Straws

Donor Sperm is typically available in a number of different formats. You will see donor sperm available in several different formats such IUI, ICI, ICSI, and ART in Sperm Bank Donor Catalogues.

IUI – This format is pre-washed and ready for IUI Procedures. It can also be used for ICI/IVI procedures. Vials marked as IUI typically have a high minimum motile cell count.

ICI – This format is unwashed. These vials are typically used in ICI/IVI procedures. The ICI vials contain extra seminal fluid. It is thought this fluid can help sperm travel into the uterus, but there is no reason to believe that IUI vs ICI is necessarily better for ICI/IVI procedures. Vials marked as ICI typically have a high minimum motile cell count.

A.R.T. – ART vials are often available in both washed (IUI) and unwashed (ICI) formats. IUI ART vials and ICI ART vials have a lower motile cell count then the Standard IUI and ICI vials and are typically available at a lower cost then the more premium Standard vials. A.R.T. vials are often as effective as the more premium vials with higher minimum motile cell counts. Discuss with your Doctor to see if these are a good option.

ICSI – ICSI vials are pre-washed vials that have a lower count then Standard and A.R.T. IUI vials. These vials typically have the lowest motile sperm of the available vial types, but they can be effective in many fertilization procedures such in-vitro and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. ICSI vials are normally offered at a lower cost then the standard IUI vials.

How do clients select donor sperm?

It is important for sperm bank clients to select a donor who has a compatible blood type with the mother, to prevent pregnancy complications.  However, clients may also use a variety of other information to select a donor, including physical appearance, education, personality traits, and genetics.

How is sperm used?

Most donor sperm is sent to a fertility clinic, where a medical practitioner will assist the recipient with artificial insemination.  However, donor sperm may be also sent directly to the recipient, who may then perform her own artificial insemination.

The most common types of artificial insemination are:

    • Intracervical insemination (ICI), in which the donor sperm is placed in the cervix.  ICI may be performed with either washed or unwashed sperm.
    • Intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the donor sperm is placed directly in the uterus.  Washed sperm is used for IUI.
    • In-vitro fertilization (IVF), in which the egg is fertilized by the sperm outside the body, and the fertilized egg is later implanted in the uterus.

Medically, a pregnancy achieved using donor sperm and artificial insemination is no different from a pregnancy achieved using partner sperm and sexual intercourse.

How are donors screened?

Before donating, sperm donors begin by filling out an application that includes such information as their age, occupation, education, and ancestry.  After their initial application, donors provide a sperm sample for initial analysis, and then they provide a blood sample and an extensive medical history.  Finally, sperm donors take blood tests throughout the time of their donations for:

  • HIV
  • Human T-cell lymphotropic viruses
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Karyotyping 46 XY
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Sperm is frozen and stored for a minimum of 6 months before being released for use to ensure that the donor is healthy and disease-free. For a sperm bank with extensive testing, see the Seattle Sperm Bank: www.seattlespermbank.com.

Who uses sperm banks?

Every year, thousands of women use sperm banks to become mothers despite circumstances that would otherwise make it difficult to become pregnant.  Women who are single, have infertile male partners, or are in same-sex relationships particularly benefit from sperm banks.  In addition, couples who are at high risk of inherited diseases, such as Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis, may also use donor sperm to produce a child.

It is important to understand that while sperm banks help couples who have fertility issues, they do not provide a physical cure for infertility.  Women who become pregnant through the most common types of artificial insemination (intra-cervical insemination and intra-uterine insemination) must themselves be fertile.  Children conceived through artificial insemination will be genetically related to the sperm donor, not the mother’s partner (unless they are the same person).