The first step to becoming a donor at Seattle Sperm Bank is applying online and scheduling your first visit to the lab for a semen analysis. You may have a lot of questions about the donor program or feel nervous about this first step. We are going to go over the first visit in detail to ease your mind and help you prepare.
What happens during the first visit?
During the first appointment, we will do a semen analysis. This is exactly as it sounds; it is how we can examine the sperm you produce and check to see if high enough quality for the donor program is. You will be shown to a donation room (with a locking door for privacy), for you to collect your sample. We provide lubricant that is non-toxic to sperm and entertainment on the TV to aid in collection. You are free to leave after providing your sample, the lab team will work on the analysis. Semen quality can vary from day to day, so regardless of the outcome you will likely be called in for a second analysis.
All donations are discarded until you are fully accepted into the donor program.
What makes a sample high quality?
Using a microscope, the lab team is going to check the sample you provided for the total number of sperm, how they swim or motility, and how they look or morphology. They are going to also measure the total volume of the sample and inspect the seminal fluid for other cell types that may be present. What makes a sample high quality is having high numbers of sperm that swim in a forward direction.
You can read more about what we are looking for in sperm samples here.
How can I prepare for the first visit?
Give yourself plenty of time for the appointment, about 20 to 30 minutes, to help reduce anxiety.
Semen quality can vary and is impacted by your overall health. Getting plenty of water, rest, fresh fruits, and vegetables all go a long way. It takes around 3 months to produce new sperm cells, so what can you do if you do not have 3 months to prepare before your appointment?
Be abstinent from ejaculation for at least 48 hours before your visit. As sperm cells mature, they are stored in the epididymis. If mature sperm are in the epididymis for longer than about a week, the sperm cells start to degrade. Waiting at least 48 hours is enough time to store a good amount of sperm, but also reduces the length of time mature sperm are waiting and risking degrading.
Other steps you can take before your visit is to:
- Stay away from hot tubs
- Get plenty of sleep the night before
- Drink lots of water
- Notify the Donor Coordinator about any medications or supplements you are taking
Keep in mind that we do this every day and if you have any questions, we are here to support you. Our team will always keep your information confidential and private, just like any other health office.
What happens next?
After completing the semen analysis portion of the application process, next you will start on your medical history and family medical history. This information will be used for us to learn more about genetic conditions and traits you carry. And the last part of the application process is a physical and STI testing.
Our team will work with you throughout the application process to help answer questions and provide all the results that we get from your testing and screening.