The Longest Shortest Time

Episode #209: Sperm Series: I Visit a Sperm Bank

If Andrea could have a baby with herself, she would. Is that weird? Sure. But you know what’s even more strange? Having a baby with someone you’ve never met… which is a route she’s considering with help from a sperm bank.

Welcome to episode two of our special three-part series The Single Lady’s Guide to Sperm Shopping. If you haven’t heard the first episode, go back and start there.

Last week, Andrea tested out an app for finding a sperm donor. This week, she’s going to learn everything she can about sperm donation. She’ll speak with someone who had a baby this way, someone who’s donated, and you’ll hear what happens at the sperm bank.

Tune in to hear what happens when Andrea is given the chance to finally pick her sperm donor.

Our guide through the sperm shopping experience this week is Scott Brown from California Cryobank. They’re one of the largest sperm banks in the country, and their stock is considered to be the Ivy League of sperm donors. Only 1% of their applicants make the cut.

California Cryobank swag: sperm hats

And pens!

As you’ll hear in the episode, Andrea has a totally healthy habit of virtually stalking single moms on Instagram. One of her long distance mom-friends is Adrienne, who selected her donor with help from a bottle of prosecco and her parents.

“I was certain of two things growing up: 1) I am going to find the kind of love that lasts forever & 2) I am meant to be a mom. While I unfortunately hadn’t met the man to make dream #1 come true, at least I discovered through some research, that I had options to still make #2 happen.” – Adrienne on Instagram

Wendy Kramer founded the Donor Sibling Registry after conceiving her son using a sperm donor. The DSR is a resource for donor-conceived people and anyone considering using a sperm or egg donor.

Wendy and her son, Ryan

Tips for Seeking a Sperm Donor

Just because Andrea had a quasi-meltdown over this process, doesn’t mean you should! Here are some tips to help you find the right donor.

1. Research Your Sperm Bank
The Donor Sibling Registry has collected personal experiences with different sperm banks and clinics on their website. Read them all here. We also love this explainer.

2. Consider The Sperm Bank of California
This is the ONLY non-profit sperm bank in the US, and the only sperm bank Wendy from the DSR recommends. They have a limit of 10 families per donor. This is the lowest family limit nationally. Here’s their website.

3. Look Up Your Donor
After you spark with a donor, be sure to check to see if there are already families you can connect with on the Donor Sibling Registry. By looking up their donor number, you can have some extra assurances from chatting with other families who’ve used the same sperm. Here’s where to do that.

4. Consider a Bank with Adult Photos
Out of their ~500 donors, California Cryobank offers about 50 donors with adult photos. Scott Brown believes this will only become more popular in the coming years. Apparently, adult photos are standard in the egg donation world! Like it or not, looking at these photos often changes how you feel about a donor. If you want to know everything possible, start here! In order to see them, you’ll want a Level 2 subscription at this bank… which you might get a free coupon for if you attend one of their workshops or seminars. Check this list to see when they’re coming to your city.

5. Get Familiar with the Culture of Donor-Conceived People
Joined a group like “DONOR CONCEIVED OFFSPRING, SIBLINGS, PARENTS – (Sperm, Egg, Embryo)” on Facebook to get a sense of what it’s like to be donor conceived. Even their public google doc of offensive terms is an incredible resource for this.

6. Careful with the DNA Tests
After you have a donor-conceived kid, be cautious with DNA testing services like 23andMe. You might get sued!

7. Watch a Movie
Go rent Made in America with Whoopie Goldberg and Ted Danson! It’s great. You can trust us.