Sperm Shopping Is No Joke

My search for a CryoBank (CB) began way back in grad school with Christian. I found all the ones anyone else would find when they google searched “sperm banks” and then was instantly overwhelmed with all the options. Not just in clinics themselves, but in procedures, donors. I’ve included a page called Terms on this site where I’ve started to gather words, phrases, etc.. that I didn’t know when I started. Feel free to take a look, suggest additions, and GTS.

When looking for a CB, the first thing on my mind was always money. But, naturally, the more you research, the more criteria you become aware of and the more you talk to people, the more criteria you begin to care about.

So, my list expanded:

  1. The most bank for my buck – which clinic provided the most comprehensive service for the least amount of money?
  2. A variety of donors and ease of search – whatever “kind” of donor you’re looking for, I favored clinics with websites that afforded me a ton of attributes to search on from hair color and ethnic background to body type and more. You’d be surprised at how picky you can be when you’re not concerned about getting along with the person you’re getting sperm from.
  3. Screening procedure – This is likely pretty standard across the industry but if you find a clinic that does a little something extra, or doesn’t seem to do quite as much as everyone else, you might want to find out why.
  4. Home-insemination support – this was surprisingly hard to find. I often had to go to independent websites and forums to get advice and direction about how to properly conduct a home insemination. That made me really nervous, which lead to the next criteria…
  5. Customer service and staff interaction – When you want to have a baby, the last thing you want to do is have an extremely personal series of conversations with a person over the phone that sounds like they couldn’t care less that you’re about to take a huge leap of faith that comes with incomprehensible risk. When you call their customer-service line and please do call….often, vet the staff. Make sure you’ve got a clinic that gives a shit, because when it’s time, you want to know that the person who’s got the other half of your baby in that syringe has your back, too.
  6. On-site services and/or connections in your community – If you’re lucky enough to live near your CB, that’s really cool. I’m about 4 hours away from the one I chose which means that when that little ovulation stick as 2 lines, I’ve got to book it to the clinic for my IUI. And they do the IUI on-site, which is saving me a ton of money rather than having to go through a local fertility clinic. So, to me, that 4-hour drive is way worth it. But, if you don’t live close enough to make it in your ovulation window, you might want to choose a clinic that has connections to something close to you, so when it comes time, you can get there.

However you decide to choose, I think the best thing you can do is keep talking to people. I ended up choosing Pacific Reproductive Services. They’re a lesbian-owned CB in California with most WTBK – Willing To Be Known Donors…according to their website. I appreciated the reassurance that this clinic would be LGBT safe, and that if my child wanted to know where the other half of them came from, they could look the donor up when they turn 18. This also afforded me an adult picture of my donor, which was not available from most other clinics. Some had baby pictures, celebrity look-alikes, etc…But I liked the idea of being able to see in my child, a bit of their donor. After all, whether or not he ever meets my baby, he did help, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

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