Advice for choosing a donor from a sperm bank

Discussion in 'Assisted Conception' started by LadyVictoria, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone. I just updated my signature with mine and my husband's journey up to this point. It has honestly felt like such a long time coming, as it was jarring to learn that all the time we were trying to conceive, we never had a chance. We are fortunate enough to be able to jump right to IVF using donor sperm, as my insurance will cover 100% of the scans, drugs, and procedures. While I passed my testing with flying colors, we liked the higher success rates with IVF and the good odds of us making all of the embryos we'll ever need in just one cycle.

    With that said, last night we did our initial search on 4 different banks' websites, with minimal results. I think that we're going to have to compromise on some things like ethnic background or physical features. We both feel a lot of pressure because this is such a big decision. Our future children's identity and health are at stake here... So this is partially a vent, but also a plea for advice from anyone who has made this decision. How did you know when you had found the one? Any guidance on what led you to making a decision would be so helpful!

    Thank you for reading!
     
  2. Rags

    Rags Mother of 1 boy

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    Hello LadyVictoria, I'm so pleased to hear that you can fast track to IVF, I've not followed your journey so far, but I know from reading others' stories that it takes a lot of emotional energy to get to this point, I hope the next part is speedy for you.

    So, what can I tell you about choosing your sperm donor...

    Well, let me start by saying that my trip was quite different from you and your husbands. i am a solo mother by choice, so I didn't need to cope with all of the tests and questions you and your partner have needed to go through. Best if I begin at the start -

    When I first decided to take the plunge and go ahead with having a child I spent hours trawling through donor profiles trying to decide what I was looking for - health, hair and eye colour, height, weight, intellect, etc. etc. etc. etc... When I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 options I sat down with my mum and we eventually decided on 'the one'. I went ahead with my inseminations for several months with no success, at the same time having been referred to an NHS/private fertility clinic with it's own small sperm bank. After 5 or 6 cycles of no BFP I stopped trying with my 'chosen one' and decided to wait. When I was seen at the clinic I was told that I wasn't able to look at their donor profiles and that they preferred to match based on my blood results - I think I was a bit disappointed at this, i thought that being allowed to choose was important, but I was so keen to try I agreed to go along with their way of doing it. Anyway, on my 3rd insemination (1 per cycle) I got my BFP!! As I didn't know anything about the donor, I asked the embryologist if they could give me any info, she apologised and said the donor only wanted to release his height, weight, hair colour and eye colour - 185cm, 83kgs, brown eyes, dark brown hair, and I realised immediately that I would never have taken a second glance at his profile if I'd been presented with it. I, and my family, are mostly blond with blue eyes, I was looking for a profile similar to this as I thought my child would fit in best if they looked similar to us. I was surprised when I realised that I felt a huge sense of relief - I wasn't going to spend the next 18 years wondering if my child would be good a math, science, sports, music... based on whatever my donor had said about his strengths, my child would be a blank slate, they'd be able to grow without the weight of expectation.

    So how has it worked out - my amazing Ds is now 9, he has gorgeous copper coloured hair and hazel/green eyes (the same as my mums - no one else in the family had those) he loves science and working with his hands, he wants to be a physicist of some variety, he loves being outside, he's compassionate and supper bright, he hates sport of any kind, he's got my dad's dimples and loads of my families facial expressions, he is completely individual.

    Go with your gut - your child will be the product of everything you both put in to raising and loving it. I wish you both the best of luck.
     
    #2 Rags, Nov 19, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  3. OnErth&InHvn

    OnErth&InHvn Mom to 4

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    I havent used donor but I think when you know, you'll know and you wont have to question it.
     
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  4. jsquared

    jsquared Well-Known Member

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    So we looked for a combination of physical features which resembled family characteristics and education. Our first donor didn’t tick every box for me but I liked his interview (we got to listen online) and he had a lot going for him. Unfortunately his sperm count came back low on multiple samples so we got a credit and picked again. All for the best—same bank, new donor became available (he wasn’t actually new, but had been “restocked” lol). His profile was impressive and we wanted him BEFORE we saw pics. But then we saw the pics—age baby to 10-ish. Gorgeous. Yes, this mattered to me.

    We also narrowed down our choices to open donors, meaning if my children decide they’d like to contact him after they turn 18, they can. He will never initiate contact, but they may. It was important we let our children decide for themselves whether or not they’d like to know more someday.

    You just pick the best one. You’ll probably wonder if it’s right, but when it works, you’ll know it was. ❤️
     
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  5. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It sounds like your son is a wonderful child. On one hand, I can't imagine having the choice taken away from me, but at the same time, a burden is kind of lifted in that regard. I have no doubt that our child will fit in with our families, regardless of what they look like. They'll be mixed anyways, as my husband and I are different races, and you just never know what features you'll get with mixed kids anyways. And I think that all children should be looked at with blank slates in terms of aptitude! But both my husband and I work in education, so maybe that's where that mindset comes from for us.

    After speaking with my husband, he's said that common heritage matters more to him than hair color and eye color. I have dark hair and brown eyes like my husband, so there's still a chance that our children could have them too even if the donor doesn't. So that will likely widen our search a bit. We'll probably take another look tonight.
     
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  6. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    That's what I'm hoping for. Now that we can widen our search to include Italians with lighter hair and eyes, I'm hoping that we'll have more options and find Mister Right!
     
  7. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember which bank it was off the top of my head, but it was great being able to listen to their voices and get a better sense of their personalities on one of the sites. And I understand what you mean about appearance being important. My husband is very handsome and I'd like for our donor to be as well, so having access to adult pictures is pretty important to me. I like the idea of finding an Open ID donor but we aren't limiting our search to Open ID only. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the encouragement!
     
  8. Rags

    Rags Mother of 1 boy

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    It sounds very much as though you have asked yourselves the right questions and been honest with your needs, there's no better place to start. Good hunting this evening...
     
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  9. Rags

    Rags Mother of 1 boy

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    In the UK anyone donating to a frozen sperm bank has to be identifiable to the child (if they chose to ask) when they are 18 - name, date of birth, last know address - and any possible siblings can register to have each others info from then too (although you can have access to limited sibling info from 16 if you are in a relationship with another donor conceived person).
    My Ds is very aware of how he came about and curious about the donor, he did an ancestry DNA test last year to find out what he could and it was incredibly interesting, he took great delight in telling us he is part frozen viking (I had no Norwegian DNA, he had quite a bit).
     
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  10. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much! I love that this is universal policy in the UK! In the US, it varies by bank and donor. Some are Open ID so the donor conceived can learn that information when they turn 18 years old, some are anonymous. Although in the age of DNA testing, I question how anonymous any donor can stay at this point and moving forward. I actually learned that I had 25% heritage from an ethnicity that I previously had no clue about. It's very cool to know more about our roots, I imagine doubly so for the donor conceived.
     
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  11. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to get overly excited but we may have found a great match! He's Italian like my husband, has dark hair, and has a similar height and build. He's CMV- (which is great because I don't yet know my status) and passed his genetic screening with flying colors! I just want to double check with my IVF center that it's okay to order ASAP. Hopefully they'll have my blood work results by now as I had it done first thing Monday morning. Fingers crossed!
     
  12. Bevziibubble

    Bevziibubble Well-Known Member
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    Good luck :)
     
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  13. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much!
     
  14. Rags

    Rags Mother of 1 boy

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    Oh waw, good luck. The CMV status was a big thing in my case as I was negative, I was very lucky they had some negative donors.
     
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  15. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Thank you :o I actually got the call this morning that I am also CMV- so I am SO thankful that our donor is too because he is just right! We made the purchase this afternoon. I can't believe it's all beginning to come together!
     
  16. Rags

    Rags Mother of 1 boy

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    OMG, I had tingles down my spine when I read your post, it took me right back to when I was given my go ahead. I'll very much look forward to hearing how everything goes for you - 2020 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for your family!!
     
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  17. Bevziibubble

    Bevziibubble Well-Known Member
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    Yay, good luck!
     
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  18. LadyVictoria

    LadyVictoria Well-Known Member

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    Aww thank you! :) It's so exciting to think that we may have a baby this time next year!

    Thank you! :)
     

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