Sperm Donation: Agencies vs. Banks

Sperm donation may be performed through a bank or an agency. For the women or couples that consider artificial insemination and require sperm, there will be 2 options to get the sperm from: the banks and the sperm agencies.

Sperm Banks

A sperm bank, also known as a cryobank, is a facility where sperm donors can deposit sperm, which will be used by single women or couples that have fertility issues (or would like sperm for an artificial insemination).

The banks are facilities that will require a thorough screening of the donor for:

  • HIV
  • Genetic diseases
  • Mental diseases
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Diseases in the family that may be inherited by offspring

People with one of these issues will not be accepted as donors, to ensure the quality of the sperm for the recipients.

The sperm banks will typically keep the donor’s identity anonymous, but the recipient may find out info about the donor’s race, appearance and may also select the sex of the child. There may be pictures with the donor as a child and adult to help the prospective parents choose the sperm. Additional fees are charged when information about the donor is released.

The donors will be the biological father of the child, but the donor will not have any legal responsibility for the child. The sperm banks have storage facilities, where the sperm will be deposited until given to a recipient. The sperm is frozen in liquid nitrogen tanks.

Sperm Donor Agencies

Sperm agencies can also provide sperm for recipients. Sperm agencies are not subject to the same regulations as sperm banks, but they will typically run the same screening tests on the donors. However, there may be agencies that won’t insist on thorough testing, and this may result in sperm that carries sexually transmitted diseases.

Typically, sperm donor agencies will not store the sperm, but use fresh sperm. The sperm agencies will provide fresh sperm to the recipient. This is made possible by contacting the chosen donor and picking up the sperm vials after these have been deposited. The sperm may also be shipped if the donor is located in a different region. The donor may be required to provide additional sperm vials if the fertilization is not successful.

Just like sperm banks, the sperm agencies may provide info about the donors, so that the recipient can choose a suitable donor. However, the donor will be kept anonymous.

Banks vs. Agencies

The screening process for both sperm banks and agencies is similar, so the sperm will be safe for fertilization. The recipients may select the features of the donor and may also have the option of gender selection for the future child.

The main difference between the banks and the sperm agencies is that banks provide frozen sperm and agencies will give fresh sperm. The use of fresh sperm has been associated with higher successful pregnancy rates. However, if the fresh sperm is shipped, this may deteriorate.

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