The costs that recipients pay for a single vial of donor sperm can start as low as $100 and run as high as $1,000 or more, depending on several factors, including:
- The location of the clinic or sperm bank
- The clinic's fees
- The prestige of the clinic
- The quality of the donor sperm
- The donor's personal profile — especially how detailed it is
Typically, 2 to 3 vials are needed for a fertilization cycle, so the final cost can be between $400 and several thousand dollars just for the sperm. If the recipient plans to have intrauterine insemination (IUI), a fee for washing the sperm is added, usually between $100 and $200 per vial.
There are sperm banks that offer pictures of the donors (sometime both as a child and as an adult) to help the recipient choose. Generally speaking, sperm from donors who provide a more extensive personal profile costs more, usually in the neighborhood of $100 more. So does sperm from donors who are willing to be identified if the child wants to know their donor's identity when they turn 18.
There's also the option to pay for a private donor, chosen by the couple, and that can cost more than "off-the-shelf" sperm from a cryobank.
What the costs cover
The costs of sperm donation for recipients cover the price of a sperm vial, storage, and shipping. The fees have to cover the cost of tests to determine the quality and motility of the sperm, as well as the cost of disease screening. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates all donor sperm to be screened for eight communicable diseases to ensure that the sperm cannot pass them on.
Frozen donor sperm can be sent almost anywhere these days, but choosing an out-of-town sperm bank will add shipping costs.
Depending on the type of insemination procedure chosen, the recipient will incur additional costs, including those of:
Hormonal therapy to prepare the mother and of course the artificial insemination procedure, which may be intracervical insemination (ICI), intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The entire process can cost between $2,000 and $10,000 or more, depending on the type of procedure, and the sperm costs, including the number of vials required.
As of the time of this writing, 15 states in the U.S. mandate some sort of coverage for infertility, though the rules vary widely among those states. (The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provides a detailed description of each state's mandate.) In most other cases, insurance may not cover the costs of donor sperm for recipients.
Financing options for donor sperm
If your insurance company doesn't cover donor sperm, you still have some other options, such as applying for a loan. There are companies that offer loans specifically to cover infertility treatments. Some even offer a guarantee of a total or partial refund if you haven't had a baby within a certain amount of time. Another option, personal loans, may offer better or worse terms than a fertility loan, but they don't come with any guarantees.
Updated August 2014