How to Choose a Sperm Donor

Tall, dark, and handsome is nice, but there are more important things to look for when choosing half the genetic makeup of your child. These guidelines will help.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Decide between known and unknown Decide whether to enlist someone you know to donate sperm, or use an anonymous donor. The former is cheaper and has a better success rate, because known donors can contribute fresh sperm instead of frozen. But some women prefer sperm-bank donors because they have no legal rights to the children they father.
  • Step 2: Consider privacy options If you're leaning toward choosing a stranger, consider how anonymous you want the transaction to be. Some sperm banks offer identity-release donors, also known as open donors -- men who are willing to be contacted by their offspring after the children turn 18.
  • Step 3: Research known-donor law If you decide to ask a friend to donate sperm, thoroughly research the pertinent laws; their rights and obligations vary from state to state. Have an attorney draw up a contract that addresses custody, financial support, and visitation.
  • TIP: Be aware that if you live in a state with parental rights laws that contradict your contract, the state may not honor it.
  • Step 4: Check out sperm banks If you go with a sperm bank, check out a few before deciding on one. Things to consider include live birth data, their policy regarding donor privacy if a child develops a medical problem, and any limits on how many children a sperm donor can father. See if the bank is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and check for opinions and reviews online.
  • Step 5: Carefully consider profiles Review donor profiles, which include the person's height, weight, ethnicity, religion, blood type, and education; a photo and even an audio interview is sometimes provided. Sperm donors also fill out lengthy questionnaires that provide potential parents with insight into their personality and character.
  • Step 6: Stock up If you choose an anonymous donor, stock up on his sperm if you think you might want another child who is a full sibling. Good luck!
  • FACT: At one California sperm bank, would-be parents can be matched with a sperm donor who looks like a celebrity they'd like their child to resemble.

You Will Need

  • A donor or reputable sperm bank
  • State law regarding known donors
  • Careful consideration
  • A legal contract (optional)

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