Whitney and Megan, wives and cofounders of The Femme Edition, are embarking to their journey to motherhood this year. They share with you what they discovered along the way in choosing their sperm donor.
We have just celebrated our 12th year anniversary and we’ve discussed for years about having children. We’ve even had future baby names picked for about a decade! We always talk about what our child would look like if we could combine our DNA, but alas this is not an option for a lesbian couple. So the next best option is choosing sperm that we feel is the right fit to help us make our dream family a reality. Here’s what we learned along the way on how to pick a sperm donor.
As an LGBTQ+ couple we always knew we were missing a vital ingredient when it came to expanding our family… sperm. In order to find said sperm, we could use a known donor (i.e. friend or family) or opt for a stranger from a sperm bank. We opted for the latter and went on quite the sperm bank journey.
Also it’s important to point out that there are different regulations for each country, and sperm banks should adhere to these rules. You should be able to select your treatment country and it will rule out any donors that do not fit the criteria. For example, in the UK, a sperm donor can go to a maximum of 10 families.
We looked into so many different sperm banks in the UK, Europe and America. We started with UK Sperm Banks and we were shocked by the lack of information that they provided. We didn’t like that we weren’t able to see baby or adult photos and couldn’t go off characteristics along for such a big decision for us. So we looked into European and American Sperm Banks and ultimately decided on Cryos International, based in Denmark.
Here are a few of the reasons why we decided on Cryos International as our chosen Sperm Bank:
These are some of the deciding factors that lead to our decision and we hope these may help you too.
2. Where can sperm be shipped to is a big factor and the good news is that sperm can be shipped worldwide from Cryos International.
3. All donor’s genetically screened with a medical history and about 5 – 10% who apply actually pass the screening.
4. The options of sperm donors and information provided. You can opt for non-ID or ID-release donors, and we chose to look at ID-release donors as we want our child to have the option to find out more about their donor, should they wish to.
5. Access to baby & adult photos! It makes such a difference getting to see what the donor looks like as a child and an adult.
6. Some donor’s have extended profiles, which means that you get to find out more about them as they answer so many questions, so it gives a bigger insight into the type of person that they are.
7. The donor writes a handwritten note to you as the parents-to-be and your future child, which is so sweet!
8. You get to hear their voice!
It’s important to sit down and make a list of what exactly you’re looking for. You may find this changes over time but it gives you a good starting point.
First of all, you’ll need to decide if you want to look for a Non- ID or ID- release donor. We had already decided to search for an ID release donor, which means that our child can find out information about him when they turn 18 years old; should they wish to do so. You can also search by treatment country and it will show all donors that comply with your countries requirements. For example in the UK it is not possible to have a non-ID release donor for treatment in the UK. Furthermore, donor sperm can only go to maximum 10 families. You can also search for exclusive donors, which means that they will only go to one family.
Obviously the medical health of the donor is of utmost importance and we felt confident knowing that all donors are medically screened in accordance to Cryos extensive quality assurance programme. Donor candidates are rejected if they have a family history of serious hereditary mental or physical diseases. They also undergo a thorough physical and mental examination, as well as being tested for infectious and hereditary diseases. Lastly, they are screened for normal karyotype (chromosome profile).
As we want to use the same sperm donor for each of us to carry a child, thus making our children be blood related, we decided that we wanted to find a sperm donor that closely resembled our features as much as possible. To do this, we started our search by looking for donors with blonde, dark blonde and light brown hair. From this we looked at their baby photos to see if any of them resemble each of us as a child and then their adult photos to see if they held any similar characteristics. We narrowed down a few donors on Cryos after looking in depth, but ultimately there was one donor that stood out to us. We spotted him as a baby and he really reminded us of Whitney. After looking at loads in depth, we had narrowed down our no.1 fav through the other reasons below, though we had only seen one baby photo. We were so excited to get access to adult photos to see if this would confirm if he is the right choice for us, and as soon as we saw his photo it confirmed it. As an adult we were able to see that he has quite a few of Megan’s characteristics as well.
We’d been looking for the right sperm donor for a few months and ultimately we wanted to find a donor who we feel is a good person and holds similar viewpoints as us. The extended profile enabled us to really get to know his personality and all of his answers gave us the impression that he’s kind heartened and similar to our views. The description given by Cryos about the donor also matched this.
One of the most important factors for us was reading what the donor’s had to say as to why they became a donor. Not only this but you get to hear them read out the letter. Hearing their voices really gave an extra insight into them. When we heard our donor’s voice, he sounded amazing! Any close family or friends cannot believe how great his voice is! Not only this, but his words mean so much. His letter to the child is pretty much what sealed the deal!
All of the above factors lead to us deciding on the perfect donor for us. We purchased 5 straws from Cryos and reserved them for 4 years. As we don’t know how many we may use in the first round(s) of getting pregnant and to hopefully have a few reserved for a sibling!
We hope this article helps shed some light on how to go about choosing the right sperm donor for you. If you have any further questions, then you may find we answer it in our Q&A video all about sperm banks and sperm donors!
You can follow along with Whitney and Megan’s fertility journey on their YouTube Channel.
Find out more about their Fertility Equality Campaign and how you can involved!
Megan is a cofounder of The Femme Edition and Find Femmes.