A Peak Inside the Seattle Sperm Bank! By Sharon LaMothe
Posted Nov 30 2012 7:38pm
It has been a little over a year since I visited the Seattle Sperm Bank (SSB) and I was really impressed at the dedication and professionalism that they shared with me at that time. This year my visit showed me that the growth and community outreach had exceeded my expectations!
I met with Eric Kendall who is the Seattle Sperm Banks Clinic Liaison (I first met Eric at this year's ASRM in San Diego) and Angelo Allard who is the General Supervisor. I took my tour (as you can see from the photos) and I was let in on some of their ideas for future growth and expansion. One of the ideas that they are working on at this moment is something called the donor of the month. Basically you can buy one vial of sperm for IUI or IVF and get one free. The featured donor is one who has not donated as much as the others on the SSB data base. They are hoping to post the featured donor of the month 3 months in advance so that clients can plan to take advantage of the donor best suited for them.
Speaking of the amount of times a sperm donor can donate to the Seattle Sperm Bank (SSB) the answer is 25 families worldwide per donor and no more than 10 times in one area of 80,000 population or less.
Quite a few people I talked with before my tour asked about compensation. I think it's quite widely known that Egg Donors are reimbursed for their pain and suffering upwards to $10,000.00 +. Not so for Sperm Donors. After the physical exam a donor can start donating and will receive $60 for each approved donation. SSB approves over 90% of the donations that their sperm donors deliver. $40 is paid in cash to the donor when delivering the sample. The remaining $20 are paid in cash when the sample has gone through the final approval. Of course there is a lot more testing before acceptance and you can go to their website and read all about it: http://www.seattlespermbank.com/become_a_sperm_donor.asp
Let's move on to something that has been a HOT topic in the media lately: Open Identity Donors. At the Seattle Sperm Bank, open identity donors have committed to at least one contact with the child, when the child reaches the age of 18. The contact must be initiated by the child; customer identities are confidential and are never released to sperm donors. There is no requirement that the donor commit to any sort of long-lasting relationship with the child, although the donor and the child may arrange to have further communication. All donors are required to go through a maturity evaluation by the sperm bank’s managing director and donor coordinator to ensure they understand the consequences of their decision to become an open identity donor.
Although prospective parents don’t get to meet a sperm donor before choosing to use his donated sperm, there is a lot to learn about donors through profile information. Often donors will list their reasons for donating along with detailed information about themselves. At the Seattle Sperm Bank, they have found that open identity donors are usually willing to provide more detailed information such as baby photos and extended profile information to the sperm bank. (By the way it a Washington State LAW that all donations be open identity!)
Another item that we discussed was the issue of pediatric oncology patients who are of an age where they could actually preserve their future fertility through freezing and storing their sperm. This is something that SSB wants to do more of and is committed to reach out to local oncologists and share their program with their clients. (as you can see from the photos they do have the equipment !) This is just the tip of what the Seattle Sperm Bank has in store for the future! (A little bird mentioned an upcoming seminar....)
I am very impressed at how smoothly this operation is run and how SSB is always ready toshare their expertise with me.