Once you’ve decided to have a child, the next thing you need to decide is where you will get the sperm to create that child. A sperm bank is a good option because the semen has been tested for HIV and other diseases. Also, you never have to worry about the father coming after your child because a sperm donor signs away any parental rights.
How to find a lesbian-friendly sperm bankSome sperms banks cater to straight couples with fertility issues. Others are set up specifically for lesbians trying to get pregnant. Many have varied clientele and have no preference who is receiving their services. How do you find one that is lesbian-friendly?
Ask Your DoctorIf you plan to inseminate at your doctor’s office, she might have a particular sperm bank that she prefers to work with. Even if you plan to inseminate at home, your doctor might make a recommendation.
Ask AroundDo you have friends or acquaintances who have used sperm banks? Find out what other lesbian parents have used. Post to the Lesbian Life Forum and see where others have had good experiences.
ConvenienceYou may decide on a local sperm bank in order to save on shipping charges. Many sperm banks will ship any where in the U.S. and some, depending on the law, will ship outside the U.S. Note: Some states only allow sperm to be shipped to a doctor’s office.
Lesbian-FriendlyYou definitely want to work with a sperm bank that is lesbian friendly. Here’s some ways to determine if the sperm bank you choose is lesbian friendly. Check out their web sites. When you find one you’re interested in, call them. How they respond to your particular questions will tell you whether this is the right sperm bank for you or not.
If they’ve worked with lesbians beforeYou shouldn’t exclude a sperm bank if they’ve never worked with a lesbian family, but be aware that you may spend a lot of time educating the staff on what it means to be a lesbian family. However, if the sperm bank seems homophobic and unwilling to work with lesbians, then look elsewhere.
Are the donors willing to be known to your child?For some anonymous donation is exactly that, anonymous. But other donors are willing to make themselves known and even meet your child after a certain age. You may not think you want this option now, but it may be something that is important to your child in the future. It might be a nice option to call on if you ever desire it.
How many donors do they have?Picking a sperm bank with many active donors gives you the opportunity to pick a donor who closely matches the characteristics you desire. Some donors may be more popular than others and their sperm may not be readily available. The more options you have, the better.
What information about the donor is available?When you look through the lists of donors, you may see only brief descriptions of the donor, things like height, occupation, eye and hair color. Most sperm banks will offer background information, including medical history. Others will offer written testimonials from donors, saying why they wanted to take part. Others even offer an audio recording of the donor telling why he chose to donate his sperm or a picture of the donor as a baby. Pick a sperm bank that offers the kind of information that is important to you.
Do they control the number of live births from any one donor?There are several reasons to consider this factor. If one donor is allowed unrestricted number of births, the potential for your child to meet a biological sibling increases. This is especially likely in a small lesbian community.
This might be important if you decide you want to have more than one child. If the sperm bank limits the number of live births and you want to have more than one child from the same donor, you may find that his sperm is retired and no longer available when it comes time for your second or third child.
Other things to ask:
- How long has the bank been in business?
- Are they certified??