Well, as fresh as a daisy the next day I set out on a mission to research the bleep out of sperm banks! I will stick to the coles notes version of our research because there is an entire alternate universe of information out there.
Our Options for insemination:
- Home Insemination Kit – Using a catheter and syringe to place semen in the vaginia.
- Intracervical Insemination (ICI) – Placing semen in the cervix using a catheter.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – Placing washed sperm cells directly into the uterus.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) – The process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. (I won’t touch much on this method as I am unfamiliar with the process)
Deciding your preferred means of insemination needs to be a decision made early on in the process as it will determine what “kind” of sperm you need to purchase. At home and ICI does not require any special preparation of sperm; however IUI requires an addition step in the process called washing. ~ I envision all the little spermies lining up to shower before making their big splash into the pool!~ Washing sperm is the of separating the healthy, strong sperm from the seminal fluid and the weaker, non-motile sperm. Because semen doesn’t pass through the cervix when undergoing IUI, the components of semen which would be “filtered” through the cervix before entering the uterus, need to be removed by artificial means. Severe cramping and drastically decreased chances for conception can be the result of placing unwashed sperm directly into the uterus. In my previous post I also mentioned ART which stands for Assisted Reproductive Technologies. These are vials that contain fewer sperm cells than regular vials. They can be used for various methods of insemination when deemed appropriate by your doctor.
Our next conversation, was seemingly straight forward because we were both on the same page, was choosing an open id or anonymous donor. Open id or identity disclosure donors; agree to the release of their contact information once the child turns 18. The child contacts the sperm bank and the information is given directly to them. This option also requires some addition paperwork once the child is born, to uphold the contract. An anonymous donor is just that, and will never have contact of any kind with any child.
When searching through donors we also needed to ensure that they (the donor) were Canadian Compliant. This was not a choice we needed to discuss, this is a regulation set out by Health Canada. It requires samples to undergo additional testing before being passed as Canadian Compliant. Most sperm is imported with only a measly 5% – 10% “cuming” from Canadians. According to a Calgary Herald article in 2016 there were 51 sperm donors in Canada. Some countries pay sperm donors for their donation but in Canada it is illegal to sell or purchase sperm. This is an interesting read on the topic!
So now that we knew what we were looking for, the hunt for the perfect donor began!
You can narrow your search significantly by entering your search criteria and the more specific the less donor matches you will have. There are the obvious choices like age, hair color, eye color, height and weight but then the less obvious such as their level of education, their religion, if they have a reported pregnancy and if they have undergone a temperament test with their results available for viewing. If one wanted to have a donor that was the best possible match in appearance you can submit a picture of yourself and the catalogue of donors will find the best matches. Some sperm banks allow you to hear the donors voice through a recorded interview, other don’t have this option available. It’s amazing how many conclusions can be made from just hearing a voice and knowing absolutely nothing else about a person. We listened to a few recording and our judgments were ridiculous!
“No we can’t choose him it sounds like he is far too conceited and only out for himself!” “Oh dear, he sounds too old.” “Oh this guy could work! I picture sandy blonde, beach bum type….but no wait, we want dark hair.” “This guys sounds like the next president of the world, that’s too much pressure!”
Who the hell are we? We suddenly became experts in voice analysis! We decided to forgo listening to anymore recording because it gave us no real insight into what was important to us in a donor. There’s so much information about perspective donors available we needed to whittle down what was very important to us. The profiles at the bank we used contained pictures (if the donor wished to contribute), health information of family members back as far as the donors grandparents, the list of genetic screening and results (he was found negative for Maple Syrup Urine Disease Type 1a, in case you were wondering), an essay written by the donor to his potential dildren (donor + children) and a personality/interests chart. We choose to limit our search to donors with dark hair and dark eye like me. Steph was going to be carrying; therefore our baby was naturally going to be inheriting some of her characteristics. Because of this we wanted to try and get some of my physical characteristics in there as well; that’s why the choice of dark hair and eyes was made. As we were clinking through profiles and getting lost in all of the medical mumbo jumbo, there was nothing really jumping out at us from one donor to another. Just as we were going to pack it in for the night we came across a profile that intrigued us. He’s in his 30’s, a teacher and spent some time in the Military, dark hair and eyes, is very close to his family and wrote a sweet essay. Part of his message read:
“Ultimately, the sum of one’s life usually isn’t what you did for a living but
what you did while living – the innumerable small acts of kindness,
plus the few big ones. But don’t sweat it – you’ve got your entire
life ahead of you to figure it out.”
He was very well written and put a lot of emphasis on courage, kindness and living your life to the fullest. Keeping in mind that someday our child may want to read this message we wanted someone who put some thought into what they had to say to their perspective dildren. We liked this donors overall message, it was caring and felt genuine.
Maybe it was that in one of his pictures he had a monkey on his head that sealed the deal for us! Awesome! We found the one! We were really doing this! We were going for it!