For single women, lesbian couples and – under some circumstances – gay male couples, building a family with the third party assisted reproduction requires using donor sperm. Most often, sperm donors at commercial sperm banks remain anonymous; however, some individuals and couples may wish to use a family member or close friend as the sperm donor.
For more than a century, individuals and couples facing male factor infertility have looked to sperm donors to help start a family. The practice of using a known, or directed sperm, donor has become popular in recent decades as soon-to-be families may desire offspring possessing genetic similarity, want to provide greater biologic and medical information to their children and wish their child to potentially have a relationship with the donor.
Regardless of the reasons for wanting to use a known sperm donor, the decision is an intensely personal one. For individuals or couples that are considering the use of a known sperm donor, the following information serves as an overview of health-related requirements and legal considerations.
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Known sperm donor requirements & recipient responsibilities
Requirements for directed sperm donors and recipients have been determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the State of California and policy established by Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area. Donor medical screening and testing, donor and recipient psychological evaluation and legal contract are required and not optional.
Related Fertile Edge Podcast: Donor Sperm FAQ
Medical screening and testing:
- Recipient’s care manager will inform the Third Party team of potential directed sperm donor.Third Party team will contact donor to arrange appointments for medical screening and testing.
- Clinic will need donor contact and demographic information for AW/Mysis registration and pharmacy information for antibiotic prescription.
- Donor completes online donor medical screening and risk factor questionnaire.
- Donor travels to RSC for semen collection, physical exam and lab work. Typically, donor is seen from 8:00 am to about 9:30 am. Semen collection for sperm freeze, physical exam and lab work are completed during that time.
- There is no fasting required for the lab work. Because a urine sample will also be collected, the donor should not urinate for at least one hour prior to his appointment at RSC.
- Semen collection and lab draw must be completed within seven days before or after lab work is drawn. Usually it occurs on the day of collection of semen sample.
- Donor must take 2 doses of antibiotic, Levaquin, in the two days before first semen collection. This is to cleanse the urinary tract of bacteria. If allergic to Levaquin, RSC will prescribe different medication.
- The semen will be cryopreserved for thaw and use in the actual cycle and allows time to complete donor eligibility. One or more vials of semen may be cryopreserved depending on the volume of the ejaculate.
- If a second semen collection is recommended, the donor will need to return to RSC within 7 days of the lab work. The physical exam and lab work will not need to be repeated. If outside the seven-day window, the lab work must be repeated.
- The donor will be required to sign a sperm donation consent and sperm cryopreservation consent during the visit to RSC. If the donor has a legal partner, he/she must also sign the donation consent. If signed outside of RSC, the signature must be notarized.
- Recipient and donor (and legal partner of either, if applicable) must meet with a qualified mental health professional who specializes in third party reproduction. The potential impact of the relationship between the donor and recipient should be explored as well as any plans that may exist relating to disclosure and future contact.
- RSC will supply a list of approved mental health professionals that specialize in this area. If the recipient is currently seeing a mental health professional who is not on the list and the professional is experienced with third party reproduction and feels comfortable counseling the recipient and donor, they may be used.
- A form will be provided to the recipient that must completed by the mental health professional after the counseling.
Legal contract and representation:
- A legal contract between the recipient and donor (and the legal partner of either, if applicable) is required.
- The contract must be written by an attorney experienced with third party reproduction, and although only one contract is needed, the donor and recipient must have separate representation.
- Notarized agreements prepared by the recipient and donor themselves are not acceptable.
- The contract should describe who are the legal parents of any children resulting from the use of donor sperm, as well as responsibilities of the donor, including any plans for disclosure or future contact.
- A cover sheet prepared by the attorney and the signature pages from the contract are to be submitted to RSC and will be kept on file in the medical record.
- RSC will provide a list of approved legal services.
- There is no quarantine required for directed donation for IVF.
- There is a six month quarantine required for directed donation for IUI, however, the recipient’s physician may waive the quarantine if through medical screening and testing it is determined there is low risk of transmission of infectious disease.
- RSC does not perform fresh IUI cycles using directed donor sperm.
- RSC Financial Counselor will provide cost information for donor screening and testing at RSC to the recipient.
- Psychological evaluation and legal services are not included in the donor medical screening and testing fees. These are to be scheduled by the recipient and the recipient is responsible for payment directly to provider of those services.
Directed sperm donation and using sperm bank:
- A directed sperm donor may elect to freeze sperm and complete his screening/testing through an RSC-approved sperm bank if preferred by recipient or if the donor is unable to come to RSC.
- The donor will abide by sperm bank requirements for screening and testing, including any quarantine and retesting required, but he will still be required to have psychological counseling and legal contract per RSC policy.
- A list of sperm banks approved by RSC is available.
- Any and all fees for services described above are the responsibility of the recipient.
* Fees for psychological evaluation, legal agreements and/or advice and any fees associated with a sperm bank are to be managed by the recipient directly with the provider of those services.
The Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area is a leading pioneer in infertility treatments including IVF with egg donation and LGBTQ family building. We’ll work with you to help you achieve your dreams of having a baby.