What You Need to Know About Sperm Banks

Couple on doctors consultation

The entire infertility-treatment process can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we spend a considerable amount of time explaining the choices available to you, including the use of a sperm donor and sperm bank, if necessary.
While selecting and purchasing donor sperm through a sperm bank is a unique process, it doesn’t need to be complicated, stressful, or intimidating. Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have.

What exactly is a sperm bank?
A sperm bank, or cryobank, is a facility that collects, freezes, and stores sperm to be used in infertility treatments.

Why a sperm bank?
There are many reasons to use a sperm bank. The sperm stored at these banks is usually donated by men to be used by couples who need sperm donation for in order to achieve a pregnancy; this may be due to male infertility or for a same-sex female couple. In some cases, it may also be provided by men who want to preserve their own sperm, a procedure referred to as cryopreservation, for future use—typically because of a medical reason (like chemotherapy) or before a vasectomy. A transgender woman may also want to freeze her sperm before transitioning.

What should I look for in a sperm bank?
Generally speaking, you want to choose a sperm bank that is reputable and highly rated. However, a bigger sperm bank is not necessarily better; pricing and regulations can vary from state to state and bank to bank. Any sperm bank you consider should first and foremost be conducting comprehensive genetic and medical background tests for each of its donors. You should be offered a thorough medical history of your perspective donor. At AZCREI, we can point you in the right direction and help you find a bank that works best for your needs.

How do I choose a donor?
Once you begin working with a sperm bank, you can begin the process of choosing your sperm donor, taking both personality and physical traits into consideration. Typically, criteria include: body type, family medical history, eye color, hair color, and even religion, hobbies, and education.

What happens once I choose a donor?
During the process, you’ll likely be asked what procedure you’re planning on using the sperm for; this is so the sperm can be properly prepared before use. It’ll then be shipped to our office to use for the artificial insemination, IVF, or an IUI procedure. At AZCREI, we actually offer these services in-house, so we can take care of the entire process for you once you choose a donor. All you have to do is fill out a form, and we’ll take care of the order process, taking away some of the stress of the process.

Is sperm donation covered by insurance?
Coverage varies by insurance company and policies. However, unless you have specific infertility coverage, you will likely have to pay out of pocket for the majority, if not all, of the cryobank-related procedures and process.

Are there any special considerations for same-sex families?
Same-sex female couples need a sperm donor to become pregnant; this can be someone they know or it could be an anonymous donor chosen through a sperm bank. Same-sex female couples do have the unique opportunity to share in the pregnancy; one woman can donate her egg to be fertilized with the sperm, thereby become the genetic mother, and the other can carry and deliver the baby, becoming the birth mother. Other than that, there really are no special considerations to take into account during the process.

Sperm banks are an effective option for couples who need a donation to become pregnant. To make an appointment with us and learn more about sperm donation, visit Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility online or call us at 520-326-0001.

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