Sperm Donors are not Dads - Advice on How to Select Sperm for IVF
When you first think about using donated sperm to conceive a child, you might think of it as picking out a father. While sifting through candidates, thinking of the donor as strictly a donor from the get-go will help you make a clearer choice and prevent future misunderstandings. Also ask yourself some guiding questions and set parameters to help narrow down your options because cryobanks keep thousands of anonymous and non-anonymous donors at hand, and having thousands of options can overwhelm even those most determined.
Start with Testimonials
In a well-articulated testimonial written for Elle Magazine, available by link here, a single mother recants how she limited her search to donors that expressed opposite interests from her own. She searched through mathematicians, scientists, engineers and men with do-it-yourself craftsmanship mentalities because she came from a liberal-arts background, with a Masters in poetry. If therefore choosing for only one’s self, without the need to account for a partner or husband, limiting your options to characteristics that contrast your own personality might also work for you. For those that have a partner or husband involved in the process, discuss the following statements together to get the ball rolling:
- I would like the donor to stay anonymous.
- I would like my child to be able to contact the donor upon turning 18.
- I would like a package of material about the donor to show my child if he or she requests it.
- I would like to see only basic info about the donor, like ethnicity, physical appearance, education and job.
- I would like to see baby pictures and even listen to the voice of the donor.
- I would like the donor to be exclusive.
Legal and Safety Regulations
In the Czech Republic, donation of reproductive cells is governed by legislation based on EU Directives 2004/23/EC and 2006/17/EC, which are binding for all Member States. This consists of Act No. 296/2008 Coll. on Safeguarding the Quality and Safety of Human Cells, and Decree No. 422/2008 Coll., which are more stringent than in other European states.
By law, the donation of embryonic cells is voluntary and anonymous for both the donor and the recipient, as well as any children conceived using this method. Clinics must keep medical records of donors for 30 years and adhere to inspection by the Ministry of Health. Additionally, fertility treatment can only be administered to women below the age of 49 with a verified male partner. This has developed into the status quo because, without a clear diagnosis of infertility, access to fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples seems easily curtailed.
With all sperm donation, cryobanks and fertility clinics typically follow precautions to avoid spreading blood-borne viruses and sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, HBsAg, HCV, chlamydia, syphilis, as well as hereditary diseases or disorders. For example, genetic examinations often required by law include karyotyping, which tests the division of cells. This examination is important to identify malformed, incorrectly arranged or unusual numbers of chromosomes since these are early signs of genetic syndromes like Down syndrome or Turner syndrome.
 “How I Shopped for My Son's Sperm Donor.” ELLE, Elle Magazine, 1 June 2016, www.elle.com/life-love/a36660/how-i-chose-a-sperm-donor/.
 “In Vitro Fertilization.” Gynem, Medical Travel, gynem.co.uk/procedure/vitro-fertilization.
 Bauquis, Christine. “Europe Moves towards Complete Statutory Regulation of ART.” EurekAlert!, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 5 Feb. 2020, www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/esoh-emt020320.php.
 Harkin, Mike. “Karyotyping.” Edited by George Krucik, Healthline, Healthline Media, 26 Jan. 2016, www.healthline.com/health/karyotyping.