Have questions about using donor sperm? Here are answers to some of our most common questions.
They are organized in these sections: Purchasing, Personal Sperm Banking, Shipping Vials, At-Home
Insemination, Pricing, Policies & Pregnancy, and CMV FAQ’s. If you can’t find an answer to your question,
you can also check our Community Forum or
contact us here.
We recommend placing your order at least 1 calendar week before your insemination. If you need specimens shipped out on the day that you order, we may be able to do a same-day shipment if you place your order by calling us at 1-800-786-5251 Monday – Friday before 2:00pm (PST). Additional fees may apply.
Yes, we offer vial storage so you can purchase vials of your favorite donor and not worry about your donor selling out of vials before your insemination. We provide 30 days of free storage with each order. Monthly and yearly storage options are available when your free storage expires. View storage fees
We recommend talking with your health care provider to determine how many vials you will need. The number of cycles required to conceive depends on many factors, including your age, fertility, and procedure you have planned. Our clients typically use 1-2 vials for each cycle. Our donor inventory can change rapidly, so if you think you may want to have more than one child with the same donor, you should consider purchasing additional vials to store for later on. Storing vials will make sure that you can use the same donor for Baby #2 and Baby #3.
Yes, we offer a vial buy back program. If you no longer wish to store your vials, you may be able to sell them back for 50% of what you paid. Our vial buy back is at the discretion of NW Cryobank. The vial buy back only applies to un-shipped vials purchased within 36 months from donors currently listed on our website.
We suggest talking to your health care provider to see if he/she recommends a certain vial type for your treatment. Our sperm samples are available in multiple formats to accommodate different needs. Donor sperm specimens are prepared frozen in IUI (intrauterine) washed, and ICI (intracervical) un-washed preparations. IVF (in vitro fertilization) vials are also available for many NW Cryobank sperm donors. IUI or ICI vials can be used for home insemination (vaginal or intracervical insemination). Please visit our vial types page to learn more about each vial type.
Costs will vary based on how many deposits you make and how long you plan to store your sperm. When calculating your costs, the fees you will need to pay are the Consultation and Initial Specimen Freezing fee, plus a minimum of one month of storage. Additional fees may include each additional semen freeze, sperm wash, and longer storage options (the quantity of vials you store will not affect your storage fee). Please view our Andrology Services and Specimen Storage Services pricing.
We highly recommend that you collect semen at our facility for best results. However, if you can deliver your specimen to NW Cryobank within half an hour of collection, you may collect at home in a sterile specimen cup we provide.
Yes, we can ship vials to your home. You do not need your medical provider to sign a form for home shipments unless you live in New York. Please make sure your delivery address is correct! If your delivery address is incomplete, incorrect, or outside the continental U.S. (Alaska and Hawaii), there may be additional fees or take longer for your package to arrive. If your delivery address is remote or in an outlying area, you may be required to pick up the package at the carrier’s nearest facility.
When selecting a shipping date, most clients aim to have their vials arrive 2-3 days prior to ovulation. If you have a questions regarding this, we recommend that you follow up with your medical provider.
A dewar is the shipping tank that we use to transport frozen specimens. Our dewars are charged with nitrogen coolant to hold specimens frozen. It is important to keep the dewar upright and closed until you’re ready to use the vials. The dewars are shipped in a cardboard box that is 12″ by 12″ by 24″ and weigh approximately 25 lbs.
The dewar is validated to keep the vials frozen for 7 days from the date of shipment. The shipping fee you pay includes limited rental of our dewar. Once you receive the shipment, you have 7 days to ship back the empty dewar or you will be charged a daily fee. View Dewar Rental Fees The return shipping of the dewar is included in the shipping fee for all shipments within the United States. An airbill for shipping the empty dewar back to our facility will be included in your shipment. If you do not return the shipping dewar to NW Cryobank, a dewar replacement fee will be charged to your credit card on file.
A signature is required by the carrier to receive your shipment. If you will not be not available to sign for receipt of your shipment at your home address, you may arrange to have your package shipped to the nearest “carrier hold facility” by providing the shipping address at the time you place your order. The carrier cannot provide you with a specific time for delivery.
We include one needleless syringe for each vial shipped, along with specimen thaw instructions, and general guidelines for the insemination process. Please consult with a physician or women’s healthcare professional on all matters related to inseminations.
You will need eye protection (examples: goggles or eyeglasses) and gloves (examples: gardening, working, or dishwashing gloves) to protect you from both biohazard and the extremely cold temperature created by liquid nitrogen vapor within the tank.
Commercially available home ovulation monitors and ovulation predictor tests are great tools to determine your optimal fertility window. Please consult with a physician or women’s healthcare professional with further questions related to ovulation.
Using either a home ovulation monitor or ovulation predictor test will help you determine the best time for insemination. We suggest having your vials arrive 48 hours before you think you will need them in case of any shipping delays. The vials can be stored in the tank for up to 7 days.
Both ICI and IUI vials are suitable for at-home vaginal insemination with no further preparation needed. You may note that there are different volumes and the number of cells associated with each vial type. This is related to the type of processing that produced the vial. Please see our Specimen Quality Standards for additional information.
We target a maximum of 25-30 family units worldwide per sperm donor. In order to help us monitor the number of births associated with any donor, it is important that everyone be diligent in reporting their pregnancies.
Requirements for second parent adoptions vary based on local jurisdictions. Most courts will require a copy of your sales receipt from NW Cryobank for the purchase and shipment of the donor vials used for the insemination that resulted in your pregnancy. They may also ask for a copy of the release of liability that our donors must sign relinquishing any parental rights to the child. To request a copy of this, please contact us. Some courts may also require a letter from NW Cryobank. If this is the case, you or your attorney may email us the required documentation for us to review and sign.
Once the donor conceived offspring is at least 18 years of age (s)he may send NW Cryobank a written request for contact with his/her donor. We will ask the adult offspring to complete our “Offspring/Donor Contact Form” and answer certain questions in order to verify the identity of the offspring, client and donor number. After NW Cryobank completes verification of the offspring’s information, we will contact the donor.
Yes, even if a donor has been listed as anonymous, we have found that some donors decide that they will agree to some limited contact. Therefore, NW Cryobank has an openness policy and will attempt to facilitate contact with donors who had been listed as anonymous. Ultimately, the type and/or frequency of the communication is up to the donor as agreed upon by all parties. Even if the donor is not open to contact, NW Cryobank will share the medical records as available.
CMV is the abbreviation for cytomegalovirus. Exposure to this virus is quite common; about 50 to 85% of people test positive for CMV in the U.S. An initial infection manifests as a mild cold, and symptoms related to this infection resolve quickly. Many people who acquire CMV were never symptomatic and most people do not know whether they have ever been infected.
CMV is passed from infected people to others through bodily fluids. It can also be transmitted through transplanted organs, blood transfusions, and through sexual contact. Individuals are most likely to be exposed to the virus through contact with a person who has an active (recent) CMV infection. The actively infected person is highly contagious while the virus is in the system. Eventually, one’s immune system controls the infection and viral levels go down dramatically. This person is now said to have a “remote” (or inactive) infection and is considered completely recovered. A person with a un-compromised immune system is unlikely to get CMV from a previously infected individual.
CMV does not usually cause problems in healthy people, but it can be dangerous to a developing fetus if a previously unexposed (CMV negative) mother becomes infected with the virus while pregnant. The virus will not harm most babies in this circumstance, but a small number suffer developmental abnormalities such as hearing loss and mental retardation.
Because CMV may be transmitted in fluids like semen, there is also a risk that one could transmit this virus to a CMV negative woman through a procedure like an intrauterine insemination, however, this risk only occurs if the semen donor was actively ill with CMV at the time of sperm donation. For this reason, the FDA mandates the screening of anonymous and directed semen donors for CMV status. A man who is currently actively infected with CMV is not eligible to donate.
CMV status is determined based on a blood test. The initial screening test is a “total antibody test”. Anybody who has ever been infected with CMV will have a positive total antibody test. If positive, we test further to detect if antibodies are elevated. If the infection is recent / active, the IgM antibody level will be elevated. People who are CMV Total positive, IgM negative are considered immunized, and not actively infectious. The FDA allows people with such profiles to donate semen for procreative use either as anonymous or directed donors. Procreation through use of a surrogate is considered a direct donation. On occasion, we augment the antibody test by screening the urine for shedding of CMV nucleic acid with a PCR test. This test may be useful to differentiate active infection from remote infection in the rare circumstance that IgM antibodies are detectable long after the acute phase. NW Cryobank provides you and your physician with results of the total antibody screening test and the specific test IgM so that you can discuss the findings with your doctor.
According to published literature, the risk of acquiring CMV from a healthy man with a history of a remote CMV infection is very low. The risk is further lowered if you use washed sperm (IUI vials). This is because the method used to prepare IUI vials significantly reduces the presence of white blood cells, the cells that are most likely to harbor the virus. Women who are undergoing IVF would empirically have an even lower risk of acquiring CMV. This is nevertheless a decision that you should make after speaking to your physician.