Donor Sperm FAQs

We asked our physicians, “What are the questions you get from patients about using donor sperm?” Here are the most frequently asked questions – and answers – about selecting and using donor sperm.

Where can I buy donor sperm?

Shady Grove Fertility recommends that patients only get donor sperm from FDA approved cryobanks, such as Fairfax Cryobank and California Cryobank.

How do I choose the donor?

Selecting a donor is a very personal choice. You will be provided with information such as height, eye and hair color, blood type, education level, areas of study, ethnicity and religion to help you select the right donor for you. Sometimes, you may be provided with photos.

Can I have a male friend by my donor?

Yes, but known donors must complete the same screening as an anonymous donor. The process to screen the donor takes 6 to 9 months prior to the start of treatment which includes testing and a quarantine period.

What kind of sperm should I request?

Donor sperm is often available as “washed” or “unwashed”. We will accept the sample either way and prepare it as needed for insemination.

What are the different types of insemination and how do they work?

If no female infertility is present, you may do a non-medicated insemination. You will be inseminated at the most optimal time of your menstrual cycle for conception. If the non-medicated treatment is not successful or there is an identified female infertility issue, then more advanced methods such medicated IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF cycles can be used to achieve a pregnancy.

– Read “Making a Baby: It Takes Two”

Do I need to complete any testing prior to treatment?

Yes. All patients are required to complete an infertility work-up to help determine the best course of treatment.

How much does donor sperm cost?

Cost varies by the cryobank, typically ranging from $225 to $700.

How much does the insemination cost?

A non-medicated insemination will cost approximately $375.

Are there any risks associated with donor sperm?

No. The FDA has strict requirements including a six-month quarantine to allow the donor to be tested for infectious diseases prior to and post-donation. These rules are in place to keep the recipient of the donated sperm safe.

What and how do I tell my child about his or her father?

It is your choice to share as much or as little as you would like with your children. Shady Grove Fertility offers group discussions for patients, offering a safe environment to discuss your options with social workers and other patients that have also achieved parenthood through donation. To learn more about these groups please call Carol Toll, LCSW-C at 301-924-5124 or Patricia Sachs, LCSW-C at 301-951-0206. You may also visit our complete support group and discussion calendar at

If you are interested in building a family through donation, please schedule an appointment, or speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

Content provided by: Dr. Barbara Osborn and Dr. Simon Kipersztok