We will be closed Thursday and Friday 12/23/21-12/24/21 in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will also be closed 12/31/21 in observance of the New Year's Eve holiday. Thank you!

We are not able to ship internationally at this time due to the pandemic. We will update the website once international shipping is available. 

Learn more about our services and COVID-19 under New and Upcoming Events 

News & Upcoming Events

COVID-RELATED

Jump to non-COVID news & 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.

As of Friday March, 13, 2020:

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.”

 

OTHER NEWS & EVENTS

LEGAL PARENTAGE: Wondering how to legally protect your LGBTQ family? Our friends at The National Center for Lesbian Rights recommend this LGBTQ parenting guide put out by the NY Times.

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. 

 

TSBC INTERVIEWS

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.

 

RESEARCH NEWS & UPDATES

Participate: Share your experience with donor-assisted family building.

Update Briefs

 

Recent Publications

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?

All publications

 

Research Presentations

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

 

Research With Adults Whose Donors Are In The Identity-Release® Program

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

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. 

 

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!

 

@FamilyEquality and @COLAGENational need survey participants to create a new Donor Conceived Guide, by and for the community: fmeq.co/DCSurvey

 

TSBC's Alice Ruby and Joanna Scheib highly recommend the original Donor Insemination Guide for all families who have a donor! Looking forward to the update.

 

For Parents

Thinking about but have not yet shared with your child that your family has a donor?

Consider taking part in this NIH-funded important study: