"How do you choose the donor?" One of the most popular questions I have been asked throughout my journey. Anyone can look online at sperm bank catalogues and view donors. Through my meetings with the other women going through the same decisions and discussing my ideas with family and friends I have decided to strictly stick to genetics and not to get caught up with "interests, programs or goals". Since most of the donors are students at the time they make deposits, most have the intelligence to enter post secondary school. What they take, what their interests are and what they want to achieve is all based on environment. What they look like, how tall they are and their health records at the time of their deposit are genetic. The old argument "nature verses nurture" can cloud your views when searching if you aren't clear with what you're looking for.
I decided to look for donors who look like me. My baby will be surrounded by my family, I want my baby to look as much like we do as possible. So when the question "who do you look like?" is asked the answer will be obvious.
I started my search looking for donor files that stated "open ID". I wanted to make sure that my baby would have the option at 18 years old to find out her/his biological father's name. This narrowed my search down a lot. However, after speaking with a consultant from a clinic I realized that even if the donor agreed at the time of deposit to have an "open ID" the process isn't as simple as it sounds. If my child wants to connect with her/his biological father at 18 years old (sperm bank will not release information before the age of 18 years old) they have to contact the sperm bank I used (assuming it is still in business and files available). The sperm bank would contact the donor and seek approval for releasing his name. At that point the donor can decide if he would like his name released or not. If he decides yes, then s/he can move forward, however if he says no, then that's the end. Therefore I decided not to narrow my search to "open ID" only.
Another piece of information I learned was that the donor's sperm is released depending on population of the area the women are having the sperm delivered. For every 100 000 people 3 specimens from the same donor is released. However these particular sperm banks supply specimen all over North America. I was under the impression that there would be a cap on how many pregnancies there were by the same donor, but this isn't the case. This was another one of my moments of doubt because the thought of half siblings of my baby all over the place made me nervous. However, I have been open from the beginning of my journey into motherhood and plan to continue. I will find away to tell my baby her/his story of where s/he came from so s/he will grow up knowing that a donor was used for her/his conception. Knowing this information s/he will know the possibilities of half siblings and we will move forward with what s/he wants to do. I will also investigate with the sperm bank to see if we can find out about half siblings. I'm not sure though, this is one of those gray areas.
Washed verse unwashed sperm. If you're going to use a syringe for a vaginal injection you may choose to use washed or unwashed. However, if you are going to use the catheter method you must use washed. This is something you will have to plan with your doctor. Many friends have asked me the difference between washed and unwashed sperm, I am unclear of the exact differences. The washed sperm is more expensive. The washed sperm has been chemically washed, because it is being injected directly into the uterus using a catheter. With a vaginal injection the sperm will naturally be washed as it journeys to the uterus. My doctor recommended the catheter method the day before my egg is released and the day after, so sperm in waiting to fertilize the egg and can also swim after it once it's released. This method increases your costs, since you will need to purchase two units of sperm each attempt. Your chances of getting pregnant using the catheter method is higher because the sperm doesn't have to travel.
The prices are all on the companies sites you choose to use. There are many fees/extra costs that are added on that you can't avoid. The banks will deliver the specimen to your doctor for the time you need it.
More information to come on this subject...