The idea of donating your sperm might interest you. Perhaps you like the idea of giving someone life even if you’re not ready to be a parent, or maybe you want to help someone who can’t have kids. But before you head to the sperm bank, there are 9 important things you need to know about becoming a donor.
- You might have to be a certain height. It might surprise you to know that most sperm banks don’t want donors who are white and under 5 feet 9 inches. This is because their clients aren’t really interested in them. When it comes to donors of color, height isn’t such a biggie since there’s a lack of African-American donors.
- It’s really hard to pass the screening. Don’t be fooled by Hollywood movies into thinking anyone can waltz into a sperm bank and donate sperm. Height issues aside, there are quite a lot of restrictions that can be placed against you. These include having a low sperm count, an STI, or the chance that you’ve contracted the Zika virus during travels, to mention just a few.
- It’s not an easy way to make money. Sperm that’s donated often gets frozen for six months before it can be used, and this is to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV. You might think the more you donate, the more you’ll get paid, but it’s not that simple. You might not be required to donate a lot, and if your sperm quality decreases then you won’t be able to continue donating.
- It’s not a fast process. You don’t just pop in, fill out a form, and the pop out again. Be prepared to undergo a battery of tests as well as answer lots of questionnaires. It’s important for the facility to get a full picture of your life, your sexual history and drug history included. You’ll also have to go through personality and psychological tests.
- You have to commit. You might not want to commit to having kids, but being a sperm donor isn’t something you can take and lose easily. You have to sign an agreement to donate at least once a week for about six months to a year. Yup, that’s a real investment! But this is because the sperm banks tend to invest approximately $2,000 per donor for screening as well as recruitment reasons.
- It’s not always anonymous. You might think that donating sperm is a completely anonymous process, but this isn’t guaranteed. Some sperm donor banks might say that if you’re choosing to remain anonymous, you need to know that you could be contacted by the facility if the offspring want more information. You can refuse, of course, but it definitely makes things complicated. What if the offspring wants to know who you are due to a medical problem they’re experiencing, for example? It can leave you in a sticky situation in future.
- You’ll have to give up sex for a while. Every time you donate sperm, you’ll have to abstain from sex for about two to five days. This is because the longer you give your body a break between ejaculating, the more sperm there will be to donate. Taking a break from shooting your swimmers will also give the facility a good amount of time in which to test how much sperm you have, and if it’s healthy or not.
- You might have to ejaculate at the facility. Yup, this one is just like in the movies— you might be forced to ejaculate and have your sperm collected right at the lab because sperm is fragile and needs to be kept at body temperature. However, other facilities will say it’s okay for you to ejaculate in the comfort of your home before dropping the sample off—you’ll just have to make sure that you get there in about half an hour so that the sperm quality is maintained.
- You might be too old. Although it’s always said that men can have children long into their older years, sperm quality degrades with time. Most sperm banks will have 45 as the cutoff age for donating sperm, but even 40 might be considered too old. This is because as you get older, you risk DNA mutations in the sperm.