Sperm from the Upper Midwest?
August 21, 2011 4:27 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I have decided to get knocked up via donor sperm. We are a queer couple and my partner is unable to get me pregnant. I'm still figuring out how this all works, but one thing I know is that I need sperm. Is there a good/reliable sperm bank in the upper midwest that you can recommend? I know that sperm can be shipped from the far far away lands of the coastal United States, but somehow I feel better if it doesn't have to travel so far -- it will be much more affordable as well.
posted by ElisaOS to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
While I'm not sure what queer means for you (and I absolutely personally get how it can mean something very different from lesbian in all sorts of ways....) this list is a decent start. I also recommend the hell out of this book (although in places it sucks by omission for trans people), it has a lot of info on the logistics of finding and dealing with a cryobank (can't remember if it has recommendations, but I think it might) and a ton of other useful stuff.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:46 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are getting sperm through a bank it will be tested and (unless you are working with a known donor) frozen. So it won't matter where you get it from, at least in terms of the final state of the sperm. California cryobank, Pacific Reproductive services, Sperm Bank of California and Xytex are some places to start. You can do limited searches on some sites but when you narrow things down you'll need to purchase access to one or more websites for the banks in order to get more detailed info. There may also be extra charges for things like photos and voice recordings.

I agree that the book crab linked to is well worth the $. My copy did list some banks but it is quite a few years old now.

You will likely want to make an appointment at a sympathetic fertility clinic so you can get an idea of timeline and costs. Another option is to start with your family doc if he/she is willing to do inter uterine inseminations. I think banks will only ship to a doctor but maybe someone will correct me on that.

The sperm is only part of the cost but you are probably looking at around $500/dose for that - it varies a bit from bank to bank, & on whether or not you choose an open donor.
posted by Cuke at 6:33 PM on August 21, 2011

Post this on the grey. I bet you'll find some people who would be willing to sign a few docs, get a few tests, trade docs...and then donate the sperm for free on metafilter.

There would have to be a lot of discussion beforehand, but since there would be minimal expense during the extraction and implantation procedure, you'd save a LOT of money.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:52 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Important question: Are you working with a doctor? Will that doctor sign off on sperm delivery and/or allow sperm to be delivered to their office for insemination?

If you are, you have significantly more options--respond to the thread and tell us that. If you're not, you basically have three options.

So assuming that you're not working with a doctor and are doing this at home, your three big options are Midwest Sperm Bank (located in Chicago), Northwest Cryobank (Spokane, WA), and Pacific Reproduction Services, which has two locations in California.

Of these, Northwest Cryobank is the most cost-effective and, from my research, the most reputable, as well. Cost comparison: ICI sperm--the sort where you shoot it into your vagina--is $275/vial at Northwest, $450/vial at Pacific Repro. Midwest only offers IUI, which is (generally) placed by a doctor directly into the uterus*--this costs $350/vial from MW, $275 from NW, and $565 from PRS. Shipping rates vary, but not so much that they negate the massive differences in sperm rates.

I have more than a passing knowledge of this, and would be happy to talk to you--feel free to MeMail me.

*My understanding is that you can, technically, use IUI sperm for ICI fertilization. IUI, however, requires catheterization of the uterus and can't be performed at home.
posted by MeghanC at 8:59 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Post this on the grey. I bet you'll find some people who would be willing to sign a few docs, get a few tests, trade docs...and then donate the sperm for free on metafilter."

Do not do this without significant research, and probably talking to a lawyer with experience in family law for lgbt families. In many jurisdictions using sperm that hasn't been processed through a doctor significantly changes the equations around who the legal parents are in ways you can't just get around with a personal agreement or even a contract. Even beyond that there are multiple ways known donor situations can turn out badly even when everyone has the best of intentions.

Hal_c_on, I know you mean well, and I don't speak for the OP, but there are lots of considerations that go into how queer people build their families that go way beyond access to sperm and cost.

FYI, issues with using different kinds of donors are discussed at great length in the book I linked to. Even if you know what's best for you already it's really interesting to read.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:18 PM on August 21, 2011

I used to hang out in a pregnancy, conception and fertility forum, years ago. Because I was in the IVF section a lot, I became friends with a few gay couples as we were all going through pretty similar stuff together.

I can heartily recommend finding one and leaning on them through whichever process you end up going through I used birth.com.au but I'm sure there are dozens of them.

For laws and advice, an American forum might be better, but for friendship and support, they will all be great. I reckon the Austrslian one was pretty fabbo though.

Maybe that can be an additional or follow up question...which forum to go to... Best of luck possum, I'm sure you'll rock parenthood!
posted by taff at 9:56 PM on August 21, 2011

Seconding crabintheoceans point that legally in most jurisdictions there's a big difference between parenthood from sperm from a sperm bank and parenthood from a direct donor.
In the first case there's a complete disconnect with respect to legal fatherhood between the donor and the resulting child. Not necessarily so in the second case.
posted by joost de vries at 12:13 AM on August 22, 2011

I have a friend who donated to a couple he knew for 10+ years, and although direct donation would likely have been completely acceptable in his case, they were unable to find a doctor willing to do it.

Going through the bank was also tricky -- he was rejected for being gay in 3 different states before driving up to yet another state, and flat-out lying to the fourth bank, who then accepted him with no further questions, but did freeze his sample for 6 months afterward, which I'm told is evidently standard procedure these days for all donors.

The entire process left him very jaded and cynical.
posted by schmod at 7:59 AM on August 22, 2011

Hal_c_on, I know you mean well, and I don't speak for the OP, but there are lots of considerations that go into how queer people build their families that go way beyond access to sperm and cost.

Yeah, there are. But the OP is specifically asking for access to sperm and cost. This is not a platform for whatever argument you want to advance.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:22 PM on August 22, 2011

Thanks so much for the tips. I found that getting a copy of Knock Yourself Up! and the other resources suggested to be very helpful.
posted by ElisaOS at 3:24 PM on October 8, 2011

« Older Training for Geeky Career/Job   |   fuggedaboutit Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.