Choosing a Donor
How do I choose a donor?
Choosing a sperm donor is a personal process. Cryobio provides the tools you need to help you make the best choices to build your family.
Donor Search: You can do a general search using our Donor Search function and filter donors according to traits that are important to you. You can do this without registering or creating an account.
Donor Information Packages: If you want more information to make your selection, we offer three different Donor Information Packages. Just create an account, select a package, and you will have access to the information included for 90 days:
Starter: Includes basic information, including a short description of the donor, medical history, genetic testing, and ability to save favorites. Free!
Enhanced: Everything in Starter, plus handwritten responses to questions, additional baby photos, an enhanced profile including appearance, personality, hobbies and interests and staff impressions. Free!
Advanced: Everything in Enhanced, plus Kiersey personality tests, audio interviews with the donors, and access to available adult photos. $50.00
Note: Donors must give written consent for release of this information; therefore, not all additional information is available for every donor.
Photos: We also offer photo match and photo sets.
Photo Match: Photo match is a helpful tool for when you have an ideal donor in mind or when you are overwhelmed by the choices. You fill out a form indicating which features your ideal donor has and then you add in any additional physical and social characteristics that you value. You can also provide us a photo of a spouse, relative, friend, or someone whose facial features you like. We use the form and the photo to compare with our donor list and provide you a detailed description and ranking of the four best matched donors.
Photo Sets: Photo sets are available for purchase without purchasing a donor information package. Generally, most donors have an adult photo and several baby and childhood photos, but not all donors have agreed to provide photos.
Genetic Testing: All of our donors have undergone some form of genetic screening and testing, however the level of testing varies by donor. Some of the donors have had more advanced genetic testing than others. You should consider what level of genetic screening and testing you want the donor to have undergone, and look in their profile to see if they have had this screening and testing done. Genetic screening and testing is particularly important if you are a carrier for any genetic diseases. If you don’t know if you are a carrier of any genetic diseases you should consider undergoing genetic screening and testing before selecting a donor. Please see the genetic testing and screening page for more information and contact us if you have any questions.
Open or Anonymous Donors: Cryobio has both anonymous and open donors. While we believe the choice is up to you whether you pick an anonymous or open donor, you should keep in mind that your future child may be curious about the donor as they are growing up and you may be able to help them answer questions and fulfill their curiosity if you pick an open donor.
Donor Medical History
How do I know my donor is healthy?
Each Cryobio donor goes through a thorough medical qualification process to enter our donor program.
- Provide a personal health history and a three-generation family health history to evaluate if there are diseases or conditions that could be passed along. A history of certain diseases in the donor or his immediate family exclude him from becoming a Cryobio sperm donor, some examples of these diseases are Type 1 Diabetes, schizophrenia, and Huntington’s Disease.
- Complete a screening questionnaire to determine if he has any lifestyle, health, or even travel history factors, that suggest that he may be at an increased risk for communicable diseases.
- Undergo initial and periodic communicable disease testing.
- Undergo basic genetic screening and testing, chromosome analysis, and some donors have also had expanded carrier screening for certain recessive genetic diseases.
- Have a physical and his personal and family health history reviewed by our physician.
- Have a consult with our genetic counselor to review his personal and family health history and the results of his genetic screening and testing to determine his acceptability for our donor program.
Note: Cryobio believes that the medical qualification process each donor goes through and the required sperm quarantine help us to select healthy donors and provide safe to use sperm. However, there is no guarantee that the donor is perfectly healthy or that he will not go on to develop health issues in the future. All testing and screening has the potential for error and even without testing error many diseases and conditions are either undetectable with current testing methods, or of uncertain heredity, or are the result of either a spontaneous mutation or the natural reproduction and aging process. We cannot guarantee that a child born after using donor sperm will be perfectly healthy and disease free.
Consult your physician.
Do I talk to a doctor first?
Cryobio understands that you want to start your future family as soon as possible. To order sperm vials you need to be under the care of a physician or other health care provider. We require a physician authorization form before we can ship sperm vials to your house or physician’s office.
Your physician is a valuable part of your family formation process, before attempting to become pregnant please contact your health care provider to discuss:
- Preconception screening and testing. This can include whether you would benefit from any or all of the following: a physical, a review of your personal and family health history, vaccinations, prenatal vitamins, fertility medications, disease and condition screening and testing, genetic carrier screening and testing, and a referral to a genetic counselor.
- Treatment policies. Each physician’s office has their own policies and procedures for inseminations. Your physician should go over the timing of your insemination, the number and type of vials you should order for each insemination, and how far in advance of your procedure the vials should arrive at the physician’s office.
- Infertility treatment. If additional interventions or a visit to a fertility specialist may be beneficial in order to help you achieve a pregnancy. You can use donor sperm in more advanced fertility procedures.
- Additional necessary care. Care during and after your pregnancy.
Note: Cryobio is happy to assist you with the donor selection process, answer your questions about our donors, and set up an appointment with our genetic counselor. However, we are not providing medical advice and we do require you to be under the care of a physician in order to use our services.
Required Donor Testing
What tests are required of donors?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates which communicable diseases reproductive donors are tested for and how often they are tested. Most of these diseases are sexually transmitted and could cause health issues in you or your child if you were to be infected. As the FDA requires, Cryobio’s donors are tested for communicable diseases when they apply to be a donor and also periodically while they are in the program. Every sperm sample is quarantined for at least 180 days, and the donor is retested before the vial is released for sale.
All donors are tested for the following communicable diseases:
- HIV 1 and 2 including NAT (Nucleic Acid testing)
- HTLV 1 and 2
- Hepatitis B Antigen and Core Antibody including NAT
- Hepatitis C Antibody including NAT
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV Total; if positive, CMV IgM is performed)
- West Nile Virus (WNV)
The FDA periodically updates the list of required tests for sperm donors. If a donor is not available to undergo a new required test, this may affect the availability of his sperm.
Shipping and Pickup
How does shipping work?
- We will ship to your physician’s office or to your home, if your physician will submit a prescription order or other document indicating you are under a physician’s care.
- Vials are shipped in a specialized nitrogen vapor tank that can keep the vials frozen for 7 days from ship date.
- Your doctor’s office should check the tank when they receive it and make sure your vials are still frozen. If the vials are thawed, they need to be used immediately or discarded, they cannot be refrozen. Please contact Cryobio immediately if you have any concerns when your doctor receives your vials.
- Before shipping the vials, we require payment in full and a current completed and signed Sperm Use Agreement from you, and your partner if applicable, on file.
- We accept all major credit cards for online orders. Please call if you want to use cash, check, or a money order.
- Orders placed online by 12 pm EST can be shipped that same day. Orders placed by 2 pm EST by phone can also be shipped that same day.
- We ship the vials on the date you request when you checkout. Please make sure the shipping method you select will get the vials to you in time for your procedure. We recommend that you plan to receive the vials the day before they are needed. Please be aware of weekends and holidays, as we do not recommend shipping on a Friday or before major holidays. We cannot control FedEx shipping schedules.
- Shipping fees include the return of the tank to Cryobio, instructions about tank return will be included.
- If you are in the Columbus, OH area, you can pick up your vials to save on shipping costs. To take advantage of this option, you need a written request from your physician, a scheduled pick-up time, and to pay a returnable deposit for the storage tank.
Note: Cryobio is not responsible for shipments that are delayed due to inclement weather or other shipping issues beyond our control.
Open or Anonymous Donors
Will I know my donor's identity?
Cryobio believes there is no one size fits all family.
Each person is entitled to create their family with donor sperm in the way they want to.
For some, that is with an anonymous donor; we can help with that.
For others, that is with an open donor; we can help with that too.
Some want donors whose identity is known from the beginning; we don’t have those at Cryobio, but we can help process known or directed donors for you if that is the kind of relationship you are seeking with a donor.
Some families are open about using donor sperm, while some never tell. In some families it is obvious.
There is no one size fits all family. You get to make the best choices for your family. We are here to help.
Cryobio offers both anonymous and open donors.
- Anonymous donors are donors whose name and contact information are not released by Cryobio. We will not give the donor the name or contact information of you or your child.
- Open donors are donors who, when they originally entered the donor program, agreed to allow Cryobio to mediate initial contact between the donor and child when the child reached 18. Because of the amount of time that passes between when the donor originally enters the program and when any children will turn 18, this original agreement is not a guarantee that the donor will be open to communication with the children. We can not force donors to engage in communication. However, we understand the value of this potential contact and will make multiple attempts to make this happen. We will not give the donor the name or contact information of you or your child, without written permission and not until the child turns 18.
The difference between anonymous and open donors may seem confusing. A good way to think about it is that with anonymous donors, any searching for or connecting with the donor will be done without Cryobio’s express help, and with open donors, any searching for or connecting with the donors will be done with Cryobio’s help. There are no guarantees of connection or complete anonymity with either option.
Donor anonymity can be a controversial topic and is something you should consider carefully when deciding which type of donor to select. DNA and genetic testing, donor offspring registries, and social media have all made it easy to find out your, your child and the donor’s name or identifying information, even when we don’t provide it and the donor is supposed to be anonymous.
We do not control your ability to take DNA or genetic tests, to join registries, or participate on social media, either before or after you use donor sperm. We do ask that everyone involved, including intended parents, offspring, donors, and associated friends and family members, be respectful of each other and their right to connect or remain private, whichever they wish.
Can I find a donor who closely matches a photo?
Yes, we can help you do that with photo match. Some people have an ideal donor in mind, but for some people this can be a difficult decision. There are so many to choose from and it is difficult to decide which characteristics you are looking for in a donor. Photo match can help you in either situation.
To get started with photo match, you fill out a form indicating which features your ideal donor would have. This form has several categories of physical characteristics that you can rank in order of importance, and there is a space to add in additional physical characteristics that aren’t included on the form and any social characteristics you want to be considered as well. You can also provide us with a photo of a spouse, relative, friend, or someone whose physical features you like. We use the form and the photo as a starting point to compare with our donor list and then we provide you with a list of the four closest matches.
You will receive a detailed description of the four donors in ranked order and how their physical and social characteristics compare to the characteristics you indicated on the form and in the photo you provided.
Photo match costs $50, it will take seven days from when we receive your request, and you can choose to receive your results in email form or in a phone call from one of Cryobio’s staff.
Directed Donor Program
What if I already have a potential donor?
Some people want to use someone they know as a donor, these are called as directed or known donors. These types of donors are required by the FDA to undergo screening and testing just like our open or anonymous donors, and we freeze and store the sperm in the same way as well. We provide screening and testing of directed donors at our Columbus, OH location. When screening and testing is complete, sperm samples can be collected, frozen, and stored at any of our three locations.
One kind of directed donors are providing sperm, but they are not going to be a parent to the child. Some examples of this kind of directed donor are the friend of a lesbian couple or single woman, a brother of a cancer patient who has become infertile due to his treatment, or a brother of the non-egg provider in a lesbian couple.
Directed donor screening and testing is also required when you are using a gestational carrier, some examples of this kind of directed donor are either the male partner in a heterosexual couple or the sperm providing partner in a gay couple. In these cases, the directed donor is both providing sperm and will be a parent of the child.
If you have questions about whether you are a directed donor or whether you need screening and testing done to use a directed donor, please contact us.
Future Donor Availability
Can I use the same donor in the future?
Yes, but to ensure this is possible it is important that you purchase and store enough of the same donor’s sperm to complete your family. Some circumstances to consider when trying to determine how many vials to purchase and store:
- Siblings. If you want to use the same donor for future pregnancies, you should order additional vials and store them with Cryobio to make sure that you have the opportunity to do this.
- Limited availability. When the supply of vials for a donor becomes low, Cryobio will indicate Limited Availability on the donor list. Once all vials are sold, there will not be any more available.
- Restocking. Some vials that have been stored at Cryobio and not used are “returned” to the general inventory and become available again. Please contact us for more information.
- Donor wait list. if your selected donor is no longer available, please add your name to the waitlist to be notified in case any vials become available.
- Repeat treatments. Unfortunately, sometimes you may not get pregnant on your first try, so it is important to consult with your physician so that you order enough vials and also the appropriate vial type for your treatment, whether it is an insemination or an ART procedure.
Donor Blood Type
Do I need to consider blood type?
The donor’s blood type may be an important consideration if you are undecided if you will tell your child that they were conceived using donor sperm. Some couples will want to ensure that their child does not have a blood type that would be biologically impossible if the male partner were the father.
If you have chosen to be open about your decision to use donor sperm or do not have a male partner, the blood type may not be as important in donor selection. However, Rh factor is something to consider and you should discuss this with your doctor. If you have an Rh negative blood type, your doctor may recommend that you choose a donor that is Rh negative, if possible. In any case, if you are Rh negative, you should notify your obstetrician of the donor’s blood type, as specialized treatment may be required when there are differing Rh Factors.
Note: Matching of blood types does NOT necessarily guarantee that either partner will be able to donate blood and/or tissue to the offspring. Rh factors will be the determining factor in those situations. Inheritance of Rh factors is difficult to predict without complete family histories of both the male and female partners.