Directed Donors, Known Donors, and Client Depositors

Seattle Sperm Bank provides personal storage services for individuals wishing to preserve their fertility and collects sperm for both directed donors and known donors.

directed donor is an individual who stores sperm for a chosen recipient who is not his spouse or sexually intimate partner, and intends to observe the FDA recommended 6-month quarantine of specimens. A known donor is a directed donor whose recipient has chosen to waive the recommended six-month quarantine of the donor’s semen samples. Individuals who wish to do personal storage of donor sperm are known as client depositors and will need to go through many of the same processes, screenings, and testing that known donors complete.

At Seattle Sperm Donor (SSB), we encourage recipients to be involved in the directed donor screening process from the very first visit in order to ensure clear communication between all parties. The recipient is welcome to come to the initial screening process to both learn about the process and see the lab. When the recipient lives in another state, it’s important that she consult by phone with SSB. The recipient and donor will have joint decisions to make regarding the donor’s screening, how many visits he should make, and whether to wash his semen samples for intrauterine insemination (IUI) prior to storage.

To get started, read through the information on this page and give us a call at 206.588.1484 or email at info@seattlespermbank.com.

First Step:

Every donor interested in these processes should schedule a semen analysis and test thaw appointment with SSB prior to storing sperm.  At this appointment, the donor provides an ejaculate for evaluation only – the ejaculate is not stored and can not be used for insemination.  Our lab will perform a complete semen analysis on the sample, freeze it, and thaw it a day later to access how well the donor’s sperm survives freezing (anywhere from 50% to 80% of sperm die in the freezing process). Morphological analysis can be completed for an additional fee. Please note that 48 hours of abstention from ejaculation is required for this visit, and recommended for all visits. Once the semen analysis results are available, we can schedule a consultation which will provide you with an idea of what the results mean and what the next steps in the process are.

Screening Requirements:

SSB follows federal and state tissue bank regulations, which impose strict screening requirements on all donors who store semen samples in order to reduce the risk of passing on sexually transmissible infections through insemination.  We require that each donor completes testing for sexually transmissible infections through our own lab.  Depending on the type of donation process (Directed, Known, or Client Depositor), the timing of these required blood draw(s), urine collection(s), and physical exams will vary. Our team will assist you with scheduling. All individuals must also complete a medical social questionnaire pertaining to the donor’s health history. Directed and Known Donors are required to have a physical exam, which includes a genital exam for indications of sexually transmitted infections. We offer optional genetic testing for additional fees. Please note that genetic testing may be required for insemination in certain states, such as New York. Please be aware of your state’s laws and regulations surrounding assisted reproduction.  We also strongly recommend a six-month quarantine of all semen samples followed by repeat blood testing before releasing the donor samples.

Deciding How Many Visits a Donor Should Make:

The more visits a donor is able to make, the more samples will be available for insemination attempts, which can increase the chances of conception. An average ejaculate yields between 1 and 2 vials of semen (IUI vials contain 0.5 mL).  Most women inseminate with 1+ vials per cycle attempt, and a post thaw sperm count of 20 million motile sperm per mL is considered optimal to increase the chances of conception.  However, there are many variables that we can discuss with you that you can then discuss with your medical provider.

Why SSB Recommends a Six Month Quarantine of Donor Semen Samples:

The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, the American Association of Tissue Banks, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine all recommend a six-month quarantine of donor semen samples followed by a repeat blood testing of the donor.  The quarantine period is designed to cover the window period between the time an individual is infected with HIV and the time he or she develops HIV-specific antibodies that are detectable on a blood test.  When donors are tested for the presence of HIV antibodies at the beginning of the storage process and then again six months after providing their last sample, recipients can have greater confidence that the samples are free from HIV and other infectious organisms.

The “Known Donor” Option-Waiving the Six-Month Quarantine:

As a licensed sperm bank, SSB follows New York State Department of health regulations for Tissue Banks.  According to these regulations, “If the semen to be released originates from a directed donor, the recipient may be given the opportunity to waive the quarantine period in writing after being advised by the sperm bank director, his/her designee, or the physician performing the insemination of the risks involved in doing so.”  We strongly encourage all recipients to consult with a medical professional regarding the risks involved in waiving the quarantine period.  Some clinics will not work with sperm samples that have not been quarantined.  If the recipients waive the quarantine period, her donor will be designated a “known donor”, and she must sign a waiver assuming any risks of using semen samples that have not been quarantined.

The “Client Depositor” Option:

A Client Depositor is a donor who is specifically storing his sperm for potential use in the future by a sexually intimate partner, whether or not the intended recipient is currently known. There are many reasons why you should consider storing your sperm for potential future use. Many oncologists do not discuss fertility routinely with at-risk patients, therefore if you are facing cancer or similar health concerns, ensuring you have access to a full range of fertility preservation options is critical. Likewise, if you work in a hazardous industry or the military, are thinking of gender reassignment processes (such as HRT or surgery), are reaching a certain age, thinking of getting a vasectomy, or simply just want to safeguard your ability to become a parent one day, consider storing your sperm with Seattle Sperm Bank. Client Depositors must receive, at minimum, infectious disease blood and urine testing. They must also fill out a medical social questionnaire.

We may offer discounts for military personnel or oncology patients. Please contact us for details.

Release of Donor Samples:

A Directed Donor’s semen samples are releasable only after SSB receives the results of his six-month blood draw; this blood draw must be done six months (180 days) after the last semen sample is provided. Therefore, we recommend grouping storage visits within the shortest time period possible, so we can release all samples at once and the donor and recipient can avoid the expense of repeating exit blood draws.  If storage visits extend over a period longer then three months, the directed donor must repeat all the initial testing for sexually transmissible infections.  This is another argument for expediting the storage process.

 A known donor or client depositor’s samples are releasable after the required screenings and two-week collection period are complete; this generally takes around one month.  If his storage visits extend over a period longer then three months, the known donor must repeat all the initial testing for sexually transmissible infections.

Once samples are released, the recipient should call to arrange for their retrieval; there is a release/waiver form to fill out for both the recipient and the medical professional. Donors sign a HIPAA form to release medical records collected by SSB to both the recipient and the medical professional prior to shipment.  Recipients can either pick up samples at the SSB lab or make arrangements to have the samples shipped.

Legal Considerations:

We recommend that recipients using directed donors consult with a lawyer to create a written donor-recipient contract. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (1.800.528.6257) is a useful resource as you go about doing this.

Helpful Directed Donor Downloads:

Directed Donor Fees

Known Donor Collection Schedule

Client Depositor Collection Schedule

Directed Donor Collection Schedule

Information for Directed Donors, Known Donors, and Client Depositors