Sperm Shopping: Like Match.com With Baby Pics

posted by Brigitte Adams February 10, 2017
Sperm Shopping
Please Take My Sperm

He had come over to talk about his career dilemma (should he take a new gig or stay put) when the conversation took an unexpected turn. 

“I want you to use my sperm. I may never have kids myself and I know what an amazing mother you would be. So, please take my sperm.” 

My knees buckled as I grabbed the kitchen counter.  I think I stammered something like: “What, really?  Are you sure?  I never even thought about asking you.”  He was smart, attractive and kind. However, his swimmers were also older and may or may not have been impacted by a regular weed habit.

Over the next few days, I mulled over the offer.  I’ve created pros and cons lists for everything from jobs, relocations to breakups, but a sperm list was a first.

  • I know him (no surprises)
  • He is good at math (deficient in the Adams gene pool)
  • My parents like him
  • We would have cute kids
  • Older than average donor (age 43)
  • Damaged goods? (Pot head)
  • Short (5’9’- ish)
  • Need lawyer to hammer out conditions
  • What if he wants to be involved?

Up to that point, I had never done any research on sperm donation.  When I froze my eggs I was convinced that I would never become a single mom and thus would never need to buy sperm.  And, even as I was preparing to use my frozen eggs, I was still clinging to a thread of hope that I might meet someone. 

I, like many egg freezers I know, got through the uncertainty of my future fertility by compartmentalizing my journey.  Part one, egg freezing, was as far as I could go.  I didn’t have the emotional energy or even intellectual curiosity to learn about Part two, using my frozen eggs.

5 Types of Sperm Donors

The first thing I did was buy Choice Mom’s $5.99 e-guide to Sperm which saved me countless hours of Google searching.  Like so many parts of my fertility journey, I was amazed by what I didn’t know and never even thought to ask. Sperm donors are classified into five types each with its own legal, financial and regulatory distinctions:

  1. Known Donor:  Someone you know is willing to give his sperm for home insemination only.
  2. Directed Donor:  Someone you know who is willing to give sperm for clinic insemination.
  3. Co-parenting Donor:  Someone you know who is willing to assume parenting responsibilities (financial and logistical).
  4. Open Identity Donor:  Sperm bank donor who is willing to be contacted when child reaches a certain age (typically 18).
  5. Anonymous Donor:  Sperm bank donor who wants to remain anonymous and can never be contacted by child.

Although regulation of the sperm bank industry is surprisingly loose, the  FDA does require banks to adhere to protocols to prevent disease transmission.  All sperm bank donors, including Open Identity Donors, must:

  • Test for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Quarantine samples for six months
  • Pass physical exam including screening for genetic illnesses
  • Provide personal and family medical history to screen for hereditary diseases (note: these are verbal intakes requiring no paperwork support and rely on the honesty of the donor)

I naively assumed that my “Directed Donor” sperm offer would not require any screening let alone a six months quarantine period.  However, just as surprisingly  as the offer was proposed, it curiously never came up again making the decision for me.

Sperm Shopping: Match.com with Baby Pictures

After being ghosted by five dates in a row, I vowed that my online dating days were over. Never again would I subject myself to drinks with guys who crafted imposter profiles, posted “current” pictures from their college glory days or starting sexting after date #1.  Little did I know that the world of sperm banks was match.com with baby pictures. Instead of forty year olds with receding hair lines, I was presented with smiling toddlers on Santa’s lap or eating birthday cake.  On the bright side, I had already honed my online hunting skills and knew how to quickly build my search criteria. 

My Sperm Search Parameters were:

  • Height (6’0 +)
  • Hair (brown, blonde)
  • Hair texture (straight, wavy)
  • Eye color (brown, green, blue, hazel, green)
  • Ethnic origin (caucasian)
  • Education (bachelor, masters, post grad)
  • CMV Status (Negative)
  • Celebrity look-alike (really?)
  • Donor type (not sure?)

Because I am raising this child on my own, it is important to me that my child resemble me.  So I raced through the first few fields.  Brains and height are important too. Since I had tested CMV negative (Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can be transmitted to a developing fetus), I was limited to a donor who was also negative. Then I got to the gimmicky celebrity look alike field with literally hundreds of choices – from Adrian Brody to Zach Efron. I left this field blank – why limit myself? 

Next was donor type: Anonymous or Open.  Initially, I wanted an anonymous donor as I thought that would be the easier route.  However, I began to realize that this was a selfish choice.  What if my child wanted to learn about the donor?  Who was I to shut the door on that option before he/she was even born yet? I checked the Open box.

I Will Not Be A Sperm-zilla

My parameters narrowed my search to approximately two hundred donors.  Before I dove in I promised myself I would not get obsessive about finding the RIGHT one.  No type A spreadsheets or donor selection pizza parties for me (yeah people really invite their friends over to pick sperm and eat pizza).  Just because a donor was a track star valedictorian with phenomenal SATs (or so he told the sperm bank) does not mean that his sperm and my egg would create an amazing baby.  I was determined not to become a sperm-zilla!

And the Winner is…..

I bought the first wedding dress I tried on.  I also bought sperm from the first donor profile I viewed.  Something about his picture spoke to me.  He must have been about eleven (older than most profile pictures) and stared at the camera with a calm confidence. Not only did he check off all my requisite boxes, but based on his essay, detailed medical records and family history, his motivation to donate sperm (more than any other profile I read) seemed to be guided by altruism rather than money.

I selected his profile, placed 2 vials of sperm in my shopping cart and forked over $2,045 ($890 each + shipping).  Donor 81892 thank you for donating and helping me get one step closer to my dream of motherhood. 

FYI:  His celebrity look a likes are: Chris Pratt and Ben Fold.

#81892: for privacy reasons this is not the actual donor number I purchased.

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