Choosing a sperm donor can be a very personal and empowering decision. There are many important factors to consider. Luckily, most sperm banks have an abundance of information to help guide you through the process.
There are a few things to keep in mind while browsing the donor websites. First, if you’ve completed genetic testing and are a carrier of a specific mutation, you will want to choose a donor that has been tested and is negative for the same mutation. This will lower the risk of passing the disease to offspring. Second, you will want to find out your cytomegalovirus (CMV) exposure status. CMV is a virus and when contracted, your immune system will develop antibodies to the virus. If you’ve been exposed, you can choose a donor that is positive or negative for CMV. If you are negative, you will want to choose a negative donor to lower the risks of complications associated with contracting CMV during pregnancy. Another thing to keep in mind is the donor blood type. If you have an Rh negative blood type you will want to consider choosing an Rh negative donor so you lower the risk of developing antibodies that can affect a future pregnancy. If you have a partner and are planning to keep the use of donor sperm confidential, you will want to choose a blood type that is a possible combination of you and your partner. Lastly, sperm banks have a limit of the number of vials they are allowed to sell for a particular donor so consider purchasing multiple vials in case several pregnancy attempts are needed or if you wish to use the donor for a sibling in the future.
Many sperm banks offer a variety of memberships to customize your searching experience. Depending on the membership you choose, you may view donor childhood photos and/or adult photos, donor audio interviews, as well as their medical history including genetic histories of their family. Donor audio interviews can be especially helpful in choosing your donor as they give you the opportunity to hear him share about who he is—his life growing up, his goals, hobbies, and achievements as well as his personal values and family life. Donor medical history profiles offer detailed family medical history information on the donor, his siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Though choosing a sperm donor can be overwhelming, the information available to you by the sperm banks and your physician’s team can help you to make an informed decision. If you need additional guidance in choosing your donor, most sperm banks offer matching services that provide support for choosing the perfect donor for you.