We will be closed November 24th and 25th in observance of Thanksgiving. Please be advised our shipping will be closed on Wednesday November 23rd.
Please be advised, masks are required when visiting our facility. Thank you!
News & Upcoming Events
Queer Parent Perspective: What does it is mean to be an LGBTQ parent planning a family? What does it mean for donor-conceived people (as kids and as adults) to grow up in queer families? Here is a parent's perspective.
DC Dad & Openness: Vince Londini: Father of three children conceived by donor conception. Vince provides an important voice not heard enough in the media. See his commentary on openness in families with donor origins.
DC Adults Speak: Podcast Dibs: Welcome to the Family. Hear what it's like to come from a family created with the assistance of a sperm donor. Interviewer Aiden Wood talks with people who have a donor (some who share her donor!) and others from the world of donor-assisted family building.
LGBTQ Family Building : A Guide for Prospective Parents. Goldberg, Abbie. American Psychological Association (APA) 2022. This book provides LGBTQ+ parents and prospective parents with the detailed, evidence‑based knowledge they need to navigate the transition to parenthood, and help their children thrive.
Queer Conception : The Complete Fertility Guide for Queer and Trans Parents-To-Be. Kali, Kristin L. Sasquatch Books, 2022. Fertility guide for LGBTQ+ and single people interested in creating family through pregnancy. Evidence-based, written by an experienced health care provider.
Both come highly recommended!
Alice Ruby speaks with Mina Kim on KQED Forum along with Diane Tober, Daley Dunham & Ryan Kramer.
LezBeMommies: Alice Ruby shares "Everything you wanted to know about sperm banks," from screening donors to talking to your children about donor conception.
What donor-conceived adults want to know: Joanna Scheib speaks with Mikki at Choice Moms. The message remains the same after all these years, with the interview being among the top 10 most popular. See also the wide range of family-building topics covered.
RESEARCH NEWS & UPDATES
Participate: Share your experience with donor-assisted family building.
Research findings Briefs
Scheib, J.E., McCormick, E., Benward, J. & Ruby, A. (2020). Finding people like me: Contact among young adults who share an open-identity sperm donor. Human Reproduction Open, 20, 1-13.
Scheib, J.E., Ruby, A. & Benward J. (2017). Who requests their sperm donor’s identity? The first ten years of information releases to adults with open-identity donors. Fertility & Sterility, 107, 483-493.
Commentary: The end of donor anonymity?
Research from open-identity sperm donation with identifiability at age 18: Joanna Scheib. Alice Ruby participant. Donor Conception Stakeholders Meeting Oct 20-21, 2022
Experiences of donor linking - Research and personal perspectives: Joanna Scheib, Louise Johnson, Deborah Dempsey, and a panel of donor-conceived people, recipient parents and donors, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), Australia, July 2018
Facilitating contact between donors & donor-conceived people: Lauri Pasch, Joanna Scheib & Ken Daniels, American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, October 2017
Identity-Release® Program: Research With Adults Who Obtained Donor Identifying Information From TSBC
We completed Phase I of our follow-up study on 10 years of information releases to young adults with donors in the Identity-Release® Program. From September 1983 to August 1993, 256 families had a first born child with a donor in the Identity-Release® Program. Now 35 years later, we are seeing donor-conceived adults from just over 35% of eligible families making requests for their donor's identity. Specifically, in the first 10 years of releases, 85 adults made a request. (Now over 250 have done so.) These adults ranged from 18-27 years, but most made their request around age 18, with over 90% doing so before the age of 22.
The process of information release requires several steps that can be completed (by the very motivated) in a few days, but on average takes adults about 1-2 months. Part of the process includes a brief interview with TSBC Executive Director, Alice Ruby. Analysis of these interviews indicated that the main driving factor behind the requests was curiosity. Adults reported wanting to know what the donor was like as a person, what he looked like and whether the donor-conceived adult shared any of his characteristics, saying things like "...to see who he is and what he does and what I got from him." They also mentioned feeling like obtaining this information could help them learn more about themselves.
One question focused on what adults hoped to gain from getting their donor's information. The majority responded that they might try to contact their donor. Interestingly, regardless of interest in donor contact, almost all adults expressed low-to-no expectations. One person put it this way, "[I] just want some questions answered, just want to know which parts of myself are from him." The majority - 76% - of the adults who made requests during the first 10 years completed the process and now have their donor's identity.
What's next? We've now also completed Phase II follow-up interviews with adults to learn what happens after donor information is released and to identify the extent to which the Identity-Release® Program is meeting the needs of our families. The first paper is now out, focused on an important, but overlooked issue when you have an open-identity donor - others who share your donor. The young adult study participants were often as interested in or had as positive or more positive experiences with people who shared their donor than with their donor. Those who met after getting the donor's identity found that they had more common and easier relationships with their people who shared this donor. Others described finding unique support among their 'same-donor' peers based on their shared experiences of growing up in a donor-conceived family, as well as identity-relevant information through having shared characteristics. Bottomline? Consider the benefits you may find at TSBC's Family Contact List - a freely available matching registry for donor-conceived adults and for parents (who also report positive experiences). More papers are in process - you’ll be able to find them here.
EVENTS outside TSBC
Ongoing: Maia Midwifery support groups and classes on LGBTQ conception, pregnancy, childbirth and parenting in Seattle, Berkeley and online.
Ongoing: Embodied Birth offers regularly occurring online classes on queer birthing education with a focus on affirming of all genders and family structures.
Ongoing: COLAGE Peer Support Groups for kids ages 8+ who have one or more LGBTQ+ parents. Variety of options for a variety of families.
Ongoing: Our Family Coalition advances equity for the full and expanding spectrum of LGBTQ families and children through support, education, and advocacy: workshops, support groups, play groups, and other resources.
Second Thursday of each month:
SEEKING STUDY PARTICIPANTS
Requests from individuals and organizations outside TSBC
Are You Donor Conceived?
Calling all donor-conceived people with LGBTQ+ parents/caregivers!
Seeking Two-Parent Families
The study addresses a fundamental question: “Is the way the brain functions similar in parents and their children, and if so, does the similarity result from genes, environment, or a combination of genes and environment?” This research will provide practical answers to our natural curiosity about the role of nature vs. nurture in child growth and development.
Parents will fill out questionnaires at home and parent and child will participate in neuropsychological assessments via video at home. The last step is for parents and child to come to UCSF for brain imaging using non-invasive MRI scans. Strict COVID-19 safety protocols are in place for everyone’s protection during the MRI visit.
Your family will receive:
- $100 for each parent and $50 for each child
- A family brain portrait
- An in-depth neuropsychological assessment report for your child (and parents too if you wish!)
How Donor-Conceived People Really Feel about Their Disclosure Experience
Are you donor-conceived? Are you 18 years or older? Do you have a few minutes to participate in some groundbreaking research? The goal of this IRB-approved, university-based study by Nancy Kaufman, LCSW, and Linda Appelgarth, EdD, is to increase awareness about best practices for health professionals and intended parents in donor-assisted family building. Drs Kaufman and Appelgarth aim to have many respondents (they have 300+ so far) to make a meaningful contribution to the literature in the field. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
TSBC WINTER 2022 ONLINE SPEAKER SERIES: PARENTING DONOR-CONCEIVED FAMILIES
This series was free and made possible through generous support from Sasha & Kevin Alexander.
We are grateful to our speakers, to support from Sasha and Kevin Alexander, and to the attendees who helped bring together TSBC community to share and learn from our experiences of donor-assisted family building.
This series, aimed at parents, brings TSBC experience and research into action. Our experience with working with and interviewing donor-conceived adults has reinforced the benefits of 1) learning early that one's family has a donor, and 2) knowing other people from donor-conceived families. Conversely, we have also heard about the challenges of learning late, and/or not knowing other donor-conceived people.
Come hear from the experts, including parents who've built their families through donor conception, adults raised in families assisted by a TSBC donor, and psychoeducational counselors who work with donor-conceived families. We've learned that what matters, beyond good health and stability, is the quality of parent-child relationships. Join us in learning what can support you in managing the unique aspects of parenting a donor-assisted family.
January 20, 2022 (6:30 - 7:30pm PST)
Intro/Welcome. Then & now: Donor conception and TSBC over the last 40 years
Barbara Raboy, MPH (TSBC Founder) & Alice Ruby, MPH (TSBC Executive Director)
No longer available
Why has TSBC always been different? What makes TSBC's ethos part of the “new culture of openness” emerging in the last 5-10 years, despite being this way since 1982? We’d like to think it’s us but really it was the vision of early parents and founder, Barb Raboy. Come learn why TSBC practices got established and how they promote openness and support families.
Barbara Raboy, MPH, is the founder of The Sperm Bank of California. Ms. Raboy was a reproductive health educator in the woman’s self-help movement in the early 1980’s out of which TSBC was created. In 1982, she launched the first non-profit sperm bank in the U.S. During her tenure as TSBC’s Executive Director, she established numerous policies and practices that resulted in major improvements within the sperm banking industry. Before retiring, Ms. Raboy directed the Berkeley Public Health Clinic and was a regional manager at La Clinica de la Raza. Ms. Raboy has a grown son who was conceived by donor insemination.
February 3, 2022 (6:30 - 7:30pm PST)
Practitioners: Talking with kids about how your family came to be—focus on LGBTQ+ and single-parent families
Laura Goldberger, MFT & Alice Ruby, MPH (TSBC Executive Director)
Recording may be available; email email@example.com
Laura Goldberger is a therapist in Berkeley who sees individuals and couples who are in the process of making and supporting a family. Laura has worked with LGBTQ+, trans/non-binary, and BIPOC parents, couples, and children for over 25 years and is a queer parent.
Alice Ruby, MPH, joined TSBC in 2002 as Executive Director. In additional to organizational oversight, she manages TSBC’s Family Contact List and handled release of donor identities to donor-conceived adults for 18 years. Ms. Ruby collaborates on research with Dr. Scheib, Director of TSBC’s research program, has volunteered with other nonprofits providing service to LGBTQ+ families, and is the mother of a donor-conceived child.
February 17, 2022 (6:30 - 7:30pm PST)
Talking with parents: Building family with the help of a donor—focus on LGBTQ+ families
TSBC Parent Lisa
No longer available
For events & organizations mentioned (Our Family Coalition, COLAGE), see below
March 3, 2022 (6:30 - 7:30pm PST)
Talking with parents: Building family with the help of a donor—focus on families with a mother and father
TSBC parents Susan & Stephen
No longer available
March 17, 2022 (6:30 - 7:30pm PST)
Practitioners: Talking with kids about how your family came to be—focus on heterosexual couple families
Carole LieberWilkins, MFT
Recording may be available; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Carole LieberWilkins is a Marriage and Family Therapist in the Los Angeles area, providing counseling and educational consultations for over 35 years for those pursuing family building. She co-authored Let’s Talk About Egg Donation: Real stories from Real People, which provides scripts for talking to kids about donor conception at different ages and stages.
Carole is best known for her work helping patients feel comfortable talking with their kids about how they built their families. Clinics and agencies have distributed her groundbreaking article, Talking with Children About Their Conception. Carole is a frequent lecturer locally, nationally, and internationally on subjects related to infertility, reproductive medicine, adoption and all forms of family formation.
Carole's own experience creating a family with assistance deepens her understanding of the challenges others face when exploring these complex family building options.
March 31, 2022 (6:30 - 8pm PST)
Talking with people who grew up in a family assisted by a TSBC donor
Donor-conceived persons panel: Emma, Jacob, Sophie
No longer available
FAMILY BUILDING THROUGH DONOR CONCEPTION
One way TSBC supports families is through education. Alice Ruby, TSBC Executive Director, shares her expertise and experience on donor-assisted family building in upcoming events:
COVID-19 update 6/1/21
Personal storage accounts now available again for donors who live outside of California, but within the US.
COVID-19 update 12/1/20
We are suspending all personal storage accounts from donors who live outside of California. (Service resumed June 2021.)
COVID-19 update 10/19/20
We hope that all of our families, donors, and clients are safe. We are currently open Monday thru Friday with telephone hours of 9:30-4:30 PST. For the safety of all, TSBC follows social distancing and mask wearing procedures for all employees and visitors. All recipient and client visits are by appointment only, including tank returns. We will post updates to our hours here. Please call us with questions or to schedule at 510.841.1858.
If you are able, and appreciate our one-of-a-kind, ethical and inclusive, non-profit family-building program, please consider a tax-deductible donation to ensure others can also use TSBC to build their families.
We recognize that building your family in the midst of COVID can add additional challenges. Explore our “Getting Support” page for resources that can help, including a list of mental health providers that specialize in fertility.
COVID-19 update 4/1/20
As of Monday March 30, 2020, we will be reducing our office hours to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 - 4:30 PST. The State of California has extended its Shelter in Place order through May 3, 2020. We are still shipping vials as requested. However, we recommend that you seek the advice of a medical professional before starting a new insemination cycle. Please visit the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and view their COVID-19 recommendations. We are also continuing to limit personal storage clients to those with a medical need to store their sperm. No program donors are collecting samples at this time.
We are following all Social Distancing protocols to protect both our employee and clients.
COVID-19/Coronavirus update 03/16/20 5:00PM
As of 3/17/20 all individuals currently living within Contra Costa, Alameda County, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Marin counties are ordered to shelter at their place of residence. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses, all as defined in Section 10. You can read the entire order here.
The Sperm Bank of California is licensed as a reproductive tissue bank and, as of now, we will continue to provide essential health-related reproductive tissue banking services during the Shelter in Place order. This is an extremely fluid situation and we are reacting as quickly as possible to all available information to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of our staff and recipients/clients.
We plan to continue to follow all health related recommendations in handling all sperm stored in our facility. We will provide as much information as possible as soon as we are able.
The Sperm Bank of California is committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of all in our community. We are a small nonprofit organization and appreciate your patience with delays that may be caused by this still unfolding situation.
We are taking the following steps keep the public and our employees as safe as possible during the current COVID-19 epidemic.
- As of February 19, 2020, we have started screening all donors for COVID-19 exposure and/or symptoms. At this time, any donors reporting diagnosis, symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 will not be allowed to collect a sample. This is in addition to standard health screening questions at each appointment and out of an abundance of caution as respiratory illnesses are not typically transmitted via semen.
- We are asking all visitors to our office take some simple precautions to lessen potential exposure to our staff members and others who visit our facility. If you have a high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), we ask that you cancel any scheduled appointments and reschedule once you are clear of the virus. While earlier notification is appreciated, no cancellation fees will be charged for a last minute cancellation due to illness.
- We have hand sanitizer available for all who enter our facility.
- As all of our vials complete a 180 day quarantine period, all vials being sold and retrieved now were collected well before the COVID-19 outbreak.
- We are continuing our standard precautions in the handling of vials as all staff members wear gloves when handling vials and processing samples. Lab surfaces are wiped down daily and collection rooms are cleaned after each use.
If you have any questions about inseminating during the current COVID-19 epidemic we offer the following guidance and encourage you to discuss with your medical providers. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has provided the following information:
“Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. (1,2) This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers. Other forms of coronavirus (3, 4) have been linked to increased adverse outcomes during pregnancy, but data specific to COVID-19 is not yet available. Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.”
Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, patients who have high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, should strive to avoid a pregnancy. You can read the full ASRM bulletin here.”