Sperm Banks 101

So you’re ready to be a parent. Or you think you might be. You know that your heart is full, but biology is not on your side; you’ve heard about sperm banks, the jokes, the horror stories, the cliches. How can you know if this is the right path for your growing family?

*Note: This article was originally published on Pride Pocket prior to merging with MyUmbrella*

So you’re ready to be a parent. Or you think you might be. You know that your heart is full, but biology is not on your side; you’ve heard about sperm banks, the jokes, the horror stories, the cliches. How can you know if this is the right path for your growing family?

We recommend a lot of research. And we’re ready to help you get started!

What exactly is a Sperm Bank?
Pride Angel has a wonderful working definition of Sperm Banks (among the host of fantastic fertility and family planning information on their site)

Sperm banks or cryobanks are facilities that collect and store human sperm from sperm donors, for the purpose of achieving pregnancies through artificial insemination. Sperm donated in this way is known as donor sperm.

A sperm bank may not be a fertility clinic, but instead they ship the sperm to the clinic where the fertility treatment takes place. This enables you to have a wider choice of donors.

Speaking of Donors…how does that all work?
Donor sperm will be frozen and used 6 months later after all health checks, infection testing, and genetic tests have been completed. Men donating directly through sperm banks do not know who the sperm will be donated to.

If you have a donor in mind or a “Known Donor,” they can go along to a fertility clinic with you, whereby they will do all the checks necessary to comply with regulations and ensure the health and safety of your baby.

Ok, sounds simple enough. How do I get started?

  1. Locate the fertility clinics in your area. Try Getting Pregnant Now, or Resolve to kick start your search. The Seattle Sperm Bank provides this helpful list of 30 questions to ask your Sperm Bank, but you should make sure to prepare your own questions. This is your future, your family– there is nothing but power and comfort to be gained by asking the questions that are important to you.
  2. Choose a healthcare professional to help guide you through the process. Federal regulations require that fertility clinics provide proof that you are prepared with medical support for your pregnancy. The medical professional can be your midwife, general practitioner, OB/GYN, etc. The Sperm Bank will register your health care provider, and then you can continue the process. Try these health directories if you’re still seeking a health care professional: ACOG, DONA, or NBDA.
  3. Decide what you’re really looking for from a Donor. What physical characteristics, values, or educational/background information is important to you? Are you seeking a donor from which you can have siblings? Discuss these things with your partner or co-parent if applicable, and consider starting a file, binder, etc. to organize all of your data and information as you go.


This information represents the proverbial tip of the iceberg, but it will get you started and help you begin to plan your strategy.

From all of us at MyUmbrella, Congratulations on starting your family! We’ll be here every step of the way.


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