Because of the many sperm bank complaints that we have received over the past 11 years, we have compiled a list of questions that you should pose to your current or potential sperm bank. Although there are some sperm banks that have accumulated a disproportionate number of complaints, you should inquire to all sperm banks about the following policies, and request that they respond in writing. If they refuse, that might be an indication that you should consider using another sperm bank.

30 Questions for Sperm Banks:
 1. What compensation is there if your vials are lost by the sperm bank? What about the storage fees?
 2. What compensation is there if your vials have low motility, or what if they are contaminated? What type of refund policy is there? What about storage fees?
 3. What compensation is there is if is found that children born from your donor, or the donor himself, has medical issues? What is the refund policy? What about storage fees?
 4. What type of records do they maintain? Paper? Electronic? How long are they promising to keep records for?
 5. How will they notify you if they become aware of a child born through your donor with medical or genetic issues? Will they only contact your doctor? You directly?
 6. How will you be notified if a donor reports a medical or genetic issue? Will they contact your doctor? Or you directly?
 7. Will they notify you if your donor tests positive for HIV after you have already bought vials? Will they contact you directly?
 8. What is their policy on creating large sibling groups? (Fairfax has the largest number of large sibling groups on the DSR.) What tracking system do they have in place?
 9. Do they ask donors if they have donated anywhere else? (Research shows that between 22%-27% of donors donate to more than once facility.)
10. Can people view their premises? See where the vials are stored?
11. Can they confirm which types of screening have occurred on your purchased vials, and provide proof?
12. How do they verify a donor’s medical information?
13. If a donor is found to have lied on their application, is the donor pulled from the system? Are families notified? If yes, how?
14. Are they in compliance with all HIPAA and FDA regulations? Are all patient records maintained on the premises and not accessed from remote locations?
15. How does the sperm bank assess donors’ looks? Objective determination? More than one person’s opinion?
16. If a donor is CMV-positive, does the sperm bank tell the recipient family?
17. Do they let donors know their own donor number? (Fairfax Cryobank does not.) And if not, why? Do they appreciate the need for many donors and recipient families and adult offspring to make mutual consent contact with each other?
18. What type of education and counseling do donors receive? Can you see the materials?
19. Do they hand out the DSR’s brochure? If not, why?
20. Are their donors contacted regularly for medical updates? If so, how often?
21. When is the last time that they were inspected by the FDA, and can they provide proof?
22. If you are a donor, will they notify you when a medical or genetic issue is called in to the sperm bank that has been reported by the parent of a child born via your donations?
23. What proportion of their donors are “open” vs. “anonymous”?
24. For “open” donors, explain exactly how donors are notified when an 18-year-old child requests contact.
25. If an “open” donor is purchased, can that donor change to an “anonymous” donor?
26. Which small clinics do they ship to around the world? And do the smaller clinics/doctors tell their recipients where the sperm originated from?
27. Do employees have a certain amount of sperm that they are required to sell each month? Are there quotas to make? Bonuses given for selling the most sperm?
28. Have they ever had any lawsuits brought against them? If so, what were they? How were they settled?
29. Is the donor number given to donors the same as the number given to the recipients?
30. Will they tell families how many vials have already been sold for their particular donor?

By admin on October 08, 2011

“I just watched the Style Network show which featured Ben the sperm donor with,
so far, 70 known children. If Ben has 70 known children it is a sure thing that
he has at least that many who are unknown. Few heterosexual couples tell their
children about the circumstances of their conception, and it is still a minority
of single women and lesbian couples who are actively seeking their donor.

Ben donated at Fairfax Cryobank which I believe is the world leader in offering
donors who have prodigious quantities of children. Effectively, they have no
limits on the number of children they allow a donor to produce. The show
illustrated some of the consequences of the mercenary greed of this sperm bank.
Ben has a fiance who wants an exclusive relationship with him and their future
children. On the other hand, this likable and well-intentioned man is willing to
have meaningful contact with his biological children. He cannot possibly
reconcile his fiance’s desire for a normal family life with his willingness to
be known and to interact with his horde of children. As his friend said in the
piece, “you can’t go to 70 birthday parties”. After the 5th or 10th or 20th
contact this guy is going to say enough.

We know that sperm banks accept a small percentage of donor candidates. As I
understand it, the sperm of most men does not remain viable after freezing and
thawing. Also, the bank wants a high sperm count so that multiple vials can be
produced from each sample. As a result, it is expensive to find an acceptable
donor who can produce viable sperm in quantity. If the decision-makers at a
sperm bank have no ethics they will continue to use a popular, available donor
until the cows come home.

I was a donor in the late 1980s. At that time the American Fertility Society
guidelines called for a limit of 10 children per donor. Aside from the
possibility of accidental incest, or the passing of some heritable defect to a
virtual tribe of people, is it not just common sense to limit the number of
offspring? I hope you are not reading this Ron Paul, but these people need to be
regulated. Their choosing to act in their untrammeled self interest is causing
active harm.”

By admin on October 07, 2011

We have worked very hard to make this a thoughtful and thought provoking show. We hope that viewers will be able to consider the points of view of the offspring, the donors, the parents, the grandparents and the partners of the donors. We want people to consider this industry that is so unregulated that donors are out there with 75 or 150 kids. We also want people to understand why meeting a half sister might be important to a donor child.

As we all “redefine” family on the DSR, it’s important that those embarking on creating their family in this way, as well the industry, and the public consider and ponder the issues about how family is redefined through using donor conception.

This tv show has been an amazing opportunity for more exposure for the DSR, (a 501(c) 3 charity organization), and for the issues that we all deal with. I have seen how media stories allow so many people to know about the DSR, and to connect with another, this is just another step in educating the public and the infertility industry.

The stories, the emotions, and the people are all real. We have the opportunity here to watch and empathize with all participants as they maneuver through defining these new connections.