“You don’t pick the sperm donor, the sperm donor picks you!”
Just kidding, I for sure had to pick my sperm donor. Been waiting for a live sperm donor to pick me for quite some time now.
Let me start by clarifying that I have no authority to consider myself an expert whatsoever on picking a sperm donor. I will contribute the success of getting pregnant to some great tips I got from people on how to pick.
Moral of the story, it’s all about the chemistry. Literally. In real life sperm chasing or the online form. As I’ve failed extraordinarily in picking or finding the right sperm donor in real life, I’m happy to say that I figured out the formula for picking the online version.
Here is my story.
When the doctor and I met to talk DIY baby making, I was surprised to find their was no manual, guide or best practices for how to choose a sperm donor. (All I knew was the version I was told growing up. Find a guy, any guy, marry him, and then make a family the good old fashioned way and then do his laundry and clean and cook for him as a thank you.) She showed me the Midwest Sperm Bank which was literally an excel spread sheet with the donors parents ethnicity, their blood type, age, job, some other rando information and then a spot for hobbies to which one donor had written, “Aaron Rodgers look alike!” Let’s just say while It did bring me a moments pause, my smarts kicked in and realized this was an excellent sales technique some dude was using and most likely my baby would look like Chewbacca and not Aaron.
When I started looking at the other sperm donor bank options, I was immediately overwhelmed before I even started. There are 135 sperm banks throughout the US, with hundreds if not thousands of options per bank. Along with that, human men, whether they were joking or not, for some reason started coming out of the woodwork and throwing their sperm at me when they found I was looking! (SUPER figuratively, not literally. Wow, that sounded crazy.)
I did a little internet research and found out the Seattle Sperm Bank had the best reviews. It also seemed they did a great job vetting their donors. There were baby pictures of the donors to look at, a full health profile, audio interviews, and more. It was WAY too much information. I prefer to be told what to do. Tell me which one is the best choice. All I want is a healthy baby, nothing else matters.
This process took me months as I had no one tell me how to pick! I hate shopping, and going through the list of donors was like shopping at TJMaxx. Lonely, confusing, hard to know what the good stuff is and what the filler items are. I had my sister in law attempt to help as well at first, but that was a lot of pressure to put on someone. Eventually I figured out how to navigate the process like I normally do. I wasted a few months searching through man profiles confused. Literally just like online dating.
I emailed the bank for help.
Based on advice from other women who had gone through the sperm donor selection process, there were only 3 things that were important in choosing a donor. And no. FAQ’s tells me you want to know the answer to this. I had zero cares in the world about what the baby looked like. Me, Denzel Washington, George Washington, or Lin Manuel Miranda, I didn’t care. I just wanted a healthy baby and to be able to get pregnant.
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- Their blood type complimented mine. So this is important because it decreases your chance of miscarriage tremendously. Some blood types fight others and your body sees the sperm as a threat and not an adorable bouncing baby.
- They have no genetic preconditions. This was important to me as I didn’t want to spend the money getting my own genetics mapped. You both have to have the gene for the mutation in order to cause it, so if I have any bad genes, it wouldn’t be a problem because they didn’t have any genetic mutations.
- They had already had a live pregnancy. Many of the donors are first time donors and had yet to have their swimmers work in making a babe. Not that they won’t work. BUT because I literally had all my eggs in the IUI basket as I couldn’t afford IVF, this was important so I knew their little swimmers were as good as Micheal Phelps.
I sent this list of requirements to the Seattle Sperm Bank via email and they sent me back 8 choices. I was blown away. Because there were thousands of options to pick from, I couldn’t believe it was only 8 that fit these 3 simple things. And then I still had to pick 1. I wanted to narrow it down again, so I requested they narrow the list to include only the ones of those 8 who fit these requirements.
- 6 foot or taller (Because, why not? I could use some help on the higher shelves.)
- Smart (They will be rolling with me and I need them to hang. Because I’m sharp. As a tack. In the brains. Or they could help me graduate college. Shut up.)
- Athletic. (We be ballin’. I just want us to be able to play sand volleyball together like my mom and I do. Plus, scholarships.)
That narrowed it down to 3 choices. I was going to let my friends pick for me from those 3 options, but ended up picking myself because… let’s be honest, this isn’t The Bachelorette or an arranged marriage.
One of those 3 donors was out of stock, which helped me get it to two. Both of the two remaining donor options were amazing, but I recklessly (or… brilliantly) made the final decision because one of the sperm donors baby pictures had him in a Packers shirt. Where I’m from, being a Packers fan runs in the blood and I didn’t want to end up having to give my kid away because they turned out a Seahawks fan or something.
Something interesting is that most donors now days are Open Donors, which means when the child is 18, they are allowed to seek out the donor. I’m guessing this is because with modern technology and DNA testing, they would be able to find them anyway. I struggle with this part of the narrative because my hope is that my child has a human father soon and never cares to know where their DNA came from. We will cross that bridge when we have to.
So here I am! Scientifically DIY pregnant with a chemically appropriate sperm donor. Hoping the next kid will be conceived by a sexually chemistry matched live sperm donor and the device to insert the sperm looks and feels a little different, but if not, I at least know the algorithm to get results.
Oh, and here’s a little about the lucky donor. Eric wants to be a commercial real estate broker when he grows up. He’s only 25 right now. (Sperm donors have to be between 19-29) He has a sister. His mom is half Filipino and half Irish. His dad is German. He got a 1710 on his SAT’s and considers himself an introverted extrovert. He loves animals and BBQ, and is an amazing athlete.