Guest post by the editors of Coparents.com
Every year, many babies are conceived thanks to sperm donation — including single moms by choice. Prospective moms considering this method have three options:
Sperm donation via a sperm bank
Many women looking to become pregnant via sperm donation will head directly to a sperm bank.
Once they’ve picked their sperm bank (which is, by the way, a really tough choice to make!) the prospective parents can start their search for the perfect donor. By flicking through a catalog (which is sometimes online) the mom-and-dad-to-be can make an informed decision based on several criteria. These may include the man’s appearance (hair and eye color, height, ethnicity), his blood type and even his education or chosen career. The information available depends on the facility, with some sperm banks even providing photographs.
Some of the advantages of opting for a sperm bank are that, first and foremost, they have very strict donor requirements (so you can be sure of finding some really great candidates). Secondly, each donor regularly undergoes all sorts of medical screening to be certain that he is free from any hereditary, chronic debilitating or infectious diseases.
A very important point to consider when you want to have a child via donation is the price. In fact, using a sperm bank can be pretty expensive. Although the cost depends on the facility, you can expect to be charged for the registration, the purchase of vials, storage as well as shipping.
The amount you’ll pay will depend on many factors, including the number of vials you purchase, as well as whether you’re choosing washed or unwashed sperm. Expect to pay between $200 and $700 per vial or unit of sperm. On top of that, you’ll have to add assisted reproduction methods fees (artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization). IVF clinics charge $10,000 to $15,000 per treatment. And if the treatments fail after several attempts, you might end up handing out even more of your hard-earned cash.
Choosing a known sperm donor
Fortunately, there are other options that enable people to cut costs. In fact, some feel more comfortable opting for a sperm donor they know personally, for example, a friend or the brother of a friend. Knowing a woman that has infertility issues or a lesbian couple that can’t conceive is often the inspiration for men to make a difference by donating their sperm.
Regardless of the relationship that the woman may have with the donor, it’s vital to ensure that he goes through all required screening for diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis, HIV, Gonorrhea, amongst others. Sperm count and quality should also be tested to improve the odds of having a baby.
Choose a sperm donor via the internet
As an alternative to using a sperm bank or a known donor, certain websites, such as CoParents.com, now offer to connect people who can’t become pregnant naturally with free sperm donors.
Online, prospective parents have the opportunity to get to know their potential donors, for instance by reading through their personal profiles or chatting with them on a forum. A meeting can be arranged to help them find the right sperm donor. As with a known donor, it’s essential that any donor found on the internet undergo the same required tests.
Using a sperm donor to have a baby is an important decision that must be carefully considered. Questions such as whether the donor should be involved with the child must be discussed beforehand. According to their preference, both parties (that is to say, the donor and the prospective parents) should agree and sign paperwork to ensure that the wishes and legal rights of everyone involved are respected.
Whether to choose a known or an anonymous donor, as well as whether or not to co-parent and share responsibility for the child with the donor, are important issues that prospective parents should always consider before taking a decision.
Are you considering having a baby on your own? How will you do it? Did you have a baby via donor sperm? What route did you go? What advice do you have to share with other women? Share in the comments!
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.