The first thing I would do is Google sperm donor. When you conduct a search of this sort a variety of Cryobanks pop up. Go to their websites and look around. You may have to fill out a form for permission to have access to their database. This is fairly common.
After looking at a few, select three that appeal for one reason or another and then complete their form. Once you gain access they will give you a password that enables you to scroll through their site. Some sites are much larger than others. Some may appeal precisely because they are smaller and easier to manage and others may appeal because of the shear numbers of sperm donors available.
Now it is time to check in and figure out just what you are looking for. Different strategies are used by different intended parents. I have seen people select donors that resemble them or simply select people who seem to be attractive enough and good all round people regarding health, intellect, interests and achievements.
Try to sit down and commit to pencil and paper just who you are looking for. The more specific you can get the greater the chance is that you will find who you are looking for. A friend of mine was way caught up with what she referred to as “good hair,” when she was doing her search. Be that as it may, it helped her to screen for candidates. Remember to ask yourself, what are the deal breakers for you. What, how ever inane, quality is absolutely necessary for you in the final candidate that you choose.
The analogy is once again real estate shopping. If you have decided you can’t afford or don’t want to pay more than $8K for real estate taxes annually, then why look at the pictures of the pretty houses that have taxes higher than $8K? Isn’t that simply a time waster? Pick your criteria and stick with them. If you decide no left handlers then stick with it! These are like cutting scores and they help you to narrow the field.
If you are in this journey with a partner, make sure your partner does the same paper and pencil exercise. Actually you could create a file together using a writing app and create a composite together of the perfect sperm donor. The point is, you two have to be on the same proverbial page regarding who you are hunting for. It maybe that one of you is going to do more of the leg work in the hunt, but be sure not to skimp regarding who you intend to look for. Equal time from both partners spent on the composite will yield dividends and save time in the long run.
So now down to the nitty gritty. What color eyes do you prefer? What color hair do you prefer? What skin tone do you prefer? How tall does he need to? What should he weigh? Does the donor’s blood type matter to you? What if the donor has bad eyes? What about nose size? Large, medium, or small, what’s your preference? Poor dentition? Does that work for you? Can you work around it if all the other qualities are a good fit? Does the donor’s religion matter to you? No joke, these are the types of things you can select for.
If you want blue eyed children, selecting both a blue eyed sperm donor and a blue eyed egg donor will likely do the trick! If these things truly don’t matter to you, then what does?
How smart does he need to be? What is an acceptable SAT score? ACT score? Do you care what he is studying or where he attends college? Some people do.
What about other qualities? Do you want someone who is into music? Someone who enjoys Art? Reading? Humor? These are all things that may matter to you.
Some databases even have their donors complete personality questionnaires similar to the Myers Briggs. These are additional pieces of information. Do you want a child who is an introvert or an extrovert? Many people believe these personality characteristics are inherited. What characteristics do you want your sperm donor to have?
What diseases in the family tree are a no go for you? Heart disease? Cancer? Asthma? What do you think you could tolerate? Eczema? Diabetes? ADHD?
When you are looking, you might want to ask for a staff impression. The staff actually get to know these guys over time. They have thoughts in their heads about these men, the very men, who are candidates to become your child’s genetic father. Don’t you want to know what they think? Just ask! They can describe them physically too! This is a valuable source of information that some folks don’t realize they can tap.
Each and every one of these qualities will help you weed through the database. No you don’t want this one, green eyes. No not that one, combined SAT of 1800 out of 2400 is not high enough for you. No, you don’t want this one, he’s too heavy.
Oh this one has brown hair and a smaller frame, which you like. SAT is 1950, you’re okay with that. Creative. Good teeth. Jewish. Loves music, somewhat reserved. Studying to become an architect at Brown. Sounds just right for you.
As you get clear about what qualities you would like the DNA Dad of your child to have, you cannot help but feel rather judgmental. This process will force you to confront every prejudice you ever thought you didn’t have!
Go great guns! Attack that database. Find your sperm donor.
Buy more vials than you think you need. Buy more in case you decide to do this process a second time, when you child is 2 or 3 years old and you want to try for a second child and you want your children to come from the same genetic pool! You can always store it, but you can’t always purchase it! Don’t get stuck. Plan for the future. Plus it will save you hours of hunting for new sperm. Isn’t your time valuable? I know mine is!
Remember the real estate metaphor. Searching for the first house is easy. It is the second one that boggles the mind! I’ll say it one more time just to underscore its importance. Buy extra sperm now. Double what you think you need. The sperm is the cheapest resource in the surrogacy process. I am not undervaluing it when I say it’s cheap. I am merely pointing out the fact that you should not be beholden to the cheapest leg of the surrogacy stool, simply because you failed to plan ahead! Buy extra, you will thank me later!
Over and out!
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in my Little Brick in University Heights, OH
Leap Into Action!