Directed Sperm Donor

What or Who is a Directed Donor?

A directed sperm donor is a donor that is not sexually intimate with the recipient. Another term for a directed sperm donor is “known donor” or “designated donor.”

For same-sex female couples, single females, or heterosexual couples where the male has azoospermia, it can be a friend, a family member or someone who voluntarily donates his sperm for use in assisted reproductive procedures.

For same-sex male couples, if the sperm will be used with a surrogate, they must follow the directed donor protocol as well.

While the directed donor approach may not be the best choice for everyone, for many couples it is a wonderful option because the intended parent knows who the donor is, unlike with an anonymous donor.

The Fertility Center of California, Sperm Bank Inc., recommends legal and psychological assistance before making this important decision to sort out future considerations and lay down a solid groundwork to start from. Compared to the anonymous sperm donor program, the directed donor program has many legal, medical, social and familial issues to consider. Appropriate referrals to professional support are available upon request.

Directed Sperm Donor Testing

Directed sperm donors are screened similarly to anonymous sperm donors. This is done expressly for your safety and is mandated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Fertility Center of California follows all of these requirements and even performs additional testing to ensure your safety as much as possible. Directed donor candidates must complete a thorough medical history questionnaire, undergo a physical examination, semen analysis, various tests for infectious diseases and genetic screening.

Semen samples are cryopreserved (frozen) in our laboratory and quarantined for at least six months. This ensures that any infectious disease that has been acquired but was not yet identifiable at the time of donation, would be present at the repeat testing at the end of the six-month period. By taking such precautions, we can provide the highest level of safety for you and your new baby. When the quarantine period is over, the directed sperm donor must be re-tested for infectious diseases. All results must be negative prior to the release of vials for assisted reproduction. It is important to know that the directed donor semen sample quality may very well not meet the extremely rigorous selection criteria for anonymous donors. These criteria are way above average in an attempt to maximize patient success. Therefore, using directed donor sperm may contribute to lower pregnancy rates.

If the directed donor is not satisfactory based on federal, state or other guidelines, the recipient and the physician may decide to accept the samples anyway, despite the labeling which states that the donor is not considered to be satisfactory by FCC. Patients may choose to use a directed donor, despite the unsatisfactory labeling (ie: sperm count may be a bit lower than average) because it is important to use a donor they know personally. A letter from the accepting physician will be required in this instance. After a letter from the physician is received, the physical examination, office consultation and infectious disease testing will take place. Semen analysis will be obtained at that visit as well.

Getting Started

Please review our application forms and fee schedule for more information. Contact our office if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation. Ideally, both the sperm donor and the recipient should be present for an initial consultation.

The Process in Detail

  1. First the directed donor fills out the application forms and comes in for an initial appointment. This appointment may take approximately one hour, during which a consultation, a semen analysis and initial infectious disease testing will take place. Infectious disease testing is required by law and includes at least the following: HIV-1/2, Anti-HTLV-I/II, Anti-HCV, Anti-HBc, HBsAg, RPR (syphilis), CMV (cytomegalovirus), Chlamydia Trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhea. The donor’s blood type is an important factor and will also be determined at this time.

Additional testing may or may not be required and will be directed by the Fertility Center of California’s Medical Director. A physician will complete the physical examination and review the medical and social history form. Any concerns can be discussed in a discrete and private fashion.

  1. The semen analysis will be evaluated and an estimate will be given as to how many samples of semen are necessary to move forward with the directed sperm donor process. Typically, this would mean 2-3 samples for processing. Sometimes, due to the quality of the sperm, the thawing leads to lower quality sperm than expected and more specimen will be necessary. If the specimens are washed prior to freezing and this may result in an additional fee. Sperm washing can lead to loss of sperm cells from the initial sample. However, the advantage is that the specimens are then ready to be thawed out for use at any physician’s office.
  2. After further evaluation of the specimens any adverse results are made known to recipients and their physicians.
  3. The directed donor then makes donations of semen samples at the FCC generally over about a 2-3 week time frame. Two to three days of abstinence between sample production should be maintained.
  4. The specimens are frozen and kept in quarantine for 6 months following the last donation.
  5. After the quarantine period, repeat testing is required and if the results are found to be satisfactory, the specimen will be released from quarantine and can be used by the recipient.
  6. The receiving physician makes the determination of whether the samples are satisfactory and the specimens are released directly to the physician upon the request of the recipient or the physician. Appropriate fees are billed as per the Fertility Center of California fee schedule.

Directed Donor Fees

For pricing information, please visit our Services and Fees page.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. At the Fertility Center of California, we can answer any questions you may have about our directed sperm donor program and anonymous donor options.