Questions you should ask before choosing your sperm bank
When it comes to a successful pregnancy, the sperm bank you choose is just as important as the sperm donor you eventually select. There are a number of factors you should consider in making your decision. Below are important questions to ask before making your choice, followed by California Cryobank's responses.
- Is the sperm bank accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB)?
- How long has the sperm bank been in business?
- Is sperm banking the company's primary business?
- Does the sperm bank employ full-time genetic counselors?
- What percentage of applicants is accepted into the donor program?
- What type of donor screening does the sperm bank perform?
- Does the sperm bank offer a varied donor selection to satisfy the needs of a diverse group of clients?
- Does the sperm bank have an Open Donor Program?
- Does the sperm bank limit the number of vials collected from each donor?
- Are the vials listed on the sperm bank catalog currently available for purchase?
- What is the sperm bank's philosophy about charging different fees for donors?
- Can extra sperm be stored for possible use later for another child?
- Can my vials be shipped directly to my doctor?
Is the sperm bank accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB)?
Only a few sperm banks in the U.S. have voluntarily submitted to the stringent accreditation process of the American Association of Tissue Banks. While many sperm banks state that they "meet or exceed" the AATB guidelines, this does not mean that they have been through the accreditation process and undergo routine inspections. Make sure that the sperm bank you select has been accredited and inspected by the AATB.
CCB: All California Cryobank locations are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks.
How long has the sperm bank been in business?
There is no substitute for experience! Be sure that the sperm bank you choose has a solid track record. Sperm banking is a specialized service. Your chances for a successful pregnancy are completely tied to the quality of the donor sperm and freezing technique. Experience is not an area where you should compromise.
CCB: California Cryobank has been in business for almost 40 years, clearly becoming "the choice of leading fertility specialists." Our specimens are shipped throughout the United States and to over 30 countries!
Is sperm banking the company's primary business?
Companies have options on where to spend their resources. Selecting a sperm bank whose primary business is reproductive tissue banking ensures that you are receiving the full benefit of their staff's focus and resources.
CCB: California Cryobank's core business is sperm banking. Our commitment to sperm banking allows us a single-minded focus on meeting client needs and improving our services. We offer various resources, including donor insemination and pre- and post-conception guidance and counseling, but we do not conduct any medical procedures at our facilities. Our cord blood bank is a separate division with its own laboratory, storage area, equipment, medical director, staff and budget.
Does the sperm bank employ full-time genetic counselors?
Genetic counselors play an important role in screening donor applicants as well as assisting clients with questions regarding their donor's family medical history and following up outcome of insemination and pregnancy reports. Ask your sperm bank if they have full-time genetic counselors on staff (not just as consultants).
CCB: California Cryobank has had full-time genetic counselors on staff since 1990.
What percentage of applicants is accepted into the donor program?
Quality sperm banks are very selective about the donors accepted into their program. Contrary to media portrayal, the process to qualify sperm donors should be quite detailed and extensive.
CCB: California Cryobank accepts only 1-2% of all applicants. It takes about 3 months to qualify a donor into our program and about 9 months to get him on the catalog.
What type of donor screening does the sperm bank perform?
Sperm banks vary in their donor screening processes, but should provide details on the infectious disease tests and genetic screenings conducted on donors. These tests and screenings should be FDA approved (validated for accuracy and reliability).
CCB: California Cryobank conducts rigorous screening on all sperm donors. Details on our infectious disease testing and genetic screening program can be found in our information packet and on our website.
Does the sperm bank offer a varied donor selection to satisfy the needs of a diverse group of clients?
The selection of a sperm donor is a highly personal decision that can be based on many different factors. Using a sperm bank that offers a wide variety of donors will make the selection process easier.
CCB: California Cryobank has the industry's largest selection of donors. We purposely recruit and offer a wide variety of donors in order to meet all our clients' needs.
Does the sperm bank have an Open Donor Program?
Sperm banks have different philosophies about open donors.
CCB: The California Cryobank Open Donor Program consists of selected CCB donors who state their intent, at the beginning of their participation in the program, to respond to a request for contact from offspring when the child is 18 or older. CCB will facilitate the first contact in order to protect the donor and child.
Does the sperm bank limit the number of vials collected from each donor?
Each sperm bank is responsible for establishing its own vial limits and procedures.
CCB: California Cryobank closely monitor our donors in order to limit the total number of family units to 20-30 world-wide by carefully reviewing the duration a donor remains in our program, the number of specimens obtained and the total number of vials processed. Limiting donor vials is an important part of the process.
Are the vials listed on the sperm bank catalog currently available for purchase?
To boost the number of donors on their catalogs, some sperm banks include donor vials not yet available. Select a sperm bank that lists only donors with vials currently available to make sure your first choice is always available for purchase.
CCB: California Cryobank's online donor catalog is updated hourly. Our printed catalog is updated quarterly. Both list only sperm donors with available vials. We do not list donors whose vials will be available in the future.
What is the sperm bank's philosophy about charging different fees for donors?
Sperm banks have different philosophies about donors. Some feel that all sperm donors are equal, regardless of their characteristics. Other sperm banks charge clients more for select types of donors, whether based on education or available information.
CCB: California Cryobank never charges extra for any specific donor. CCB donors are all extensively screened and all considered excellent. With less than 1% of applicants making it into our program, all our donors are healthy, talented, and unique individuals selected to meet the wide variety of characteristics requested by our clients. The only fee differences at CCB are between donor types (anonymous vs. open) or vial types (IUI vs. ICI/premium vs. A.R.T.).
Can extra sperm be stored for possible use later for another child?
Even if you are not considering additional children at this point, storing additional vials of your selected donor will guarantee his availability should the need ever arise.
CCB: Since it is the only way to guarantee your sperm donor will be available again in the future, we encourage our clients to store extra vials. To ease the financial burden of storing your extra vials, we offer a number of options, including Family Today & Family Tomorrow, Vial Buyback and Vial Exchange.
Can my vials be shipped directly to my doctor?
Most sperm banks can ship to either the client home or the physician's office.
CCB: We can ship to either you or your doctor, but someone must be present to receive and sign for the delivery. Vials can be safely kept in the shipping tank for up to 7 days before being thawed, or stored in a cryopreservation tank at your physician's office.