Becoming a sperm donor is more complicated than you might think. In fact, suitable donors are a rare breed. On average, only about 5% of all applicants meet the requirements to donate. If you are considering becoming a sperm donor, this article will help you understand the process, the time involved, and the overall rate of success.
Let’s begin with the basics. First, and obviously, you must be male (the questions get harder as we go along). The ideal age is between 18 and 35, with 40 being the maximum age to apply. Before you can donate, you must first go through a detailed and rigorous screening process that can take several visits to complete. The process can take up to three weeks and includes the following:
- A questionnaire – This includes dozens of questions about your family, medical, and sexual history. You will be asked questions about the medical history of your extended family including parents, siblings, grandparent, aunts and uncles, and cousins stretching back several generations. This helps determine whether you have diseases running your family or similar genetic dispositions. Applicants with a history of sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, to name two examples, are automatically disqualified. So are those who have ever had sex with other men or used intravenous drugs. Other questions cover topics as diverse as allergies, all the places in the world you’ve visited or lived, whether you’ve been in the armed services, if you have tattoos, and whether you’ve been exposed to radiation, among many others.
- A full physical exam – Along with further refining questions from a doctor or clinician, this includes blood, urine, and genetic testing to screen for HIV, Hepatitis A and C, and other infectious diseases. The physical also includes a genital exam and a color vision test. And hey, free physical!
- Semen sample – Once you pass the online questionnaire and physical exam, you will then give your first semen sample to be professionally analyzed. This test determines sperm count, motility (how well your sperm move), and morphology (the overall health of the sperm). This initial sample will be destroyed following analysis and after you are notified of the results. Please note that you will not be paid for submitting this test sample.
Congratulations! You passed the screening process. Now what?
After signing a contract, you can begin making regular deposits. But there is one more hurdle to leap. Your initial semen samples are frozen for six months. If they are still good after they have been thawed then you are eligible to be a regular donor. It’s important to note that many sperm don’t survive the freezing process, so passing the initial exams are not a guarantee that you will qualify as a long-term donor.
But if your samples are good following the thawing process, you will be asked to donate at least once a week, or ideally between 6 and 10 samples per month. To increase the effectiveness of each sample, you will have to abstain from sexual intercourse for two to three days prior to donation.
The actual semen donation process happens at our clinic (it cannot be done at home). Men are given a private room where they deposit their sample into a sterile container. The sperm is then frozen using liquid nitrogen. Once needed, it is thawed and used in artificial insemination.
How much will I earn for my sperm samples?
Donors earn $70 for each donation ($50 at the time of donation, and $20 when the sample is released). Healthy men are able to earn up to $1,000 per month.
The financial and emotional benefits of sperm donation.
Donating sperm is not a quick or simple process, but it does offer financial and societal benefits. Along with making you money, it allows you to help people achieve their dream of having children. And since donor sperm is in short supply, qualifying donors are needed more than ever.