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There are many reasons different people choose to enlist the help of a sperm bank to conceive a baby. Male factor infertility is one of them, lesbian couples or single mothers by choice needing a donor is another one. Some families in which the male has genetic conditions that could be passed on might also choose to use a sperm bank. Whatever the reason, what are the things you need and want to know about using a sperm bank to conceive a baby?

There are quite a few sperm banks in the United States, and they are all a little different. They have different procedures, and often different types of donors available too. What are some of the things you may want to think about if you are considering getting pregnant with the help of a bank?

1) What insemination method are you planning on using? Some banks are happy to ship their vials of sperm to your home address for at-home insemination, but the majority of sperm banks will only ship to fertility clinics of doctor's offices. Also, most banks need a signature from a doctor or midwife before they are willing to do business with you at all.

2) Are you hoping to see photographs of your potential donors, and even of the babies they have helped create? Some banks have identity release donors available. Some even provide services to hook up half siblings, who have the same donor. Other sperm banks will only provide basic information and medical details about their donors, and do not have an identity release option.

3) While most sperm banks will ship nation-wide, some of them require a certain notice period, and others will go out of their way to ship really fast. Discussing how the vials of sperm will get to you when you need them before you pick a bank can save you a lot of hassle later on.

4) Minority donors are in short supply. If you are trying to find an Asian, black or Mexican donor, that significantly narrows the options you have. One friend who used a Mexican donor told me that there are only a few Mexican donors in the whole country. The luxury of choosing a bank based on other criteria was taken away from her she and her wife had to pick a donor first, and the bank came with the donor.

5) Ask any bank you are considering using what their procedure is before they accept clients. Some banks require extensive interviews about the reasons potential clients need top use a bank, and others require deposits. Ask about this!

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