Fact #1: There are pros and cons of fresh vs frozen
Fresh and frozen sperm will each have benefits. Fresh sperm lives longer, approximately 5 days, and tends to be much stronger than frozen sperm. Frozen sperm, however, can be frozen for an indefinite amount of time before thawing. Freezing sperm is also required to undergo testing for communicable diseases before insemination. Fresh sperm doesn’t have this requirement. If the donor is known and trusted, fresh sperm may be the better option. If the donor is not known, frozen donor sperm is recommended.
Fact #2: Insurance may cover the costs
Many insurance companies offer coverage for fertility treatments, including sperm and egg donations. Same-sex couples cannot be discriminated against. Insurance companies may even have recommended sperm banks. Understanding insurance coverage can help ease the burden and stress of finding a sperm donor.
Fact #3: Sperm banks are not required to perform genetic testing
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all sperm banks to test for infectious diseases. Communicable diseases can include measles, hepatitis, and HIV. While many sperm banks require documentation of medical history, there are no legal requirements on testing for genetic diseases. Four common genetic diseases include down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, dwarfism, and anemia. Genetic testing also can rule out the chances of developing certain cancers. Some sperm banks perform genetic testing as part of the donation process. The practice varies from sperm bank to sperm bank.
Fact #4: Donors can be known or unknown
The cost of IVF can add up quickly. Using a known sperm donor can significantly decrease the cost of sperm donations. Couples may find comfort in knowing the sperm donor and feel that all medical information provided is more reliable. Using a known sperm donor also opens the possibility for a father and child to have a relationship. A legal contract is required when using a known sperm donor. Unknown donors force the future parents to rely on the sperm banks and honesty of the donor for all medical information. A legal contract is required when using an unknown donor, except when the parents to be are of the same gender.
Fact #5: Legal rights
Though less than half of all births are reported, many states have rules surrounding the number of offspring a single donor can produce. Sperm donor rights vary by country and state. Known donors will have an easier time claiming parental rights than unknown donors. When any form of donor sperm is used, hiring an attorney is recommended.
Making the right choice
Many factors go into choosing a sperm donor. Understanding what sperm donor and sperm banks are legally required to disclose is essential. Whether a known or unknown donor is selected, hiring an attorney is recommended to secure parental rights. A sperm donor will affect the future child’s entire life. Be informed and choose wisely. Couples can discuss options and get further advice from a fertility specialist.