About Donor Insemination

Can I do an insemination at home, without a Doctor?

Yes. absolutely. We will ship to your home.  Please read here for more details. 

Can I use washed, IUI-ready samples for vaginal insemination?

It is perfectly safe to use a washed, IUI-ready sample for vaginal insemination. The washing process removes all seminal fluid, including cellular debris and most of the nonmotile sperm, resulting in a clean sample that contains only the most vigorous sperm. Many of our recipients have reported pregnancies from vaginal inseminations with washed, IUI-ready samples.

What is a Medical Professional?

A Medical Professional is a certified professional who is able to write prescriptions (for example a physician, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, or physician’s assistant). Once an individual Medical Professional is registered, every other licensed member of his or her practice, clinic or hospital is considered registered with TSBC. 

Can I use raw, unwashed samples for an intrauterine insemination?

No. A raw sample must be washed first before it can used for an IUI. It is not safe to use a regular, unwashed sample for IUI. If you have purchased a regular, unwashed sample and are planning to have an IUI, your medical professional will need to refer you to a qualified technician who can thaw and wash the sample for you prior to the insemination. Insemination must be scheduled within an hour or two of thawing - once thawed a sample cannot be refrozen. Since the process of washing does kill motile sperm and we cannot predict the outcome of these thawed washes, our standard guaranteed motile sperm count and percent motility does not apply to these samples.

What's the difference between Washed and Unwashed samples?

Regular or raw samples are intended for vaginal home insemination (also referred to as intracervical insemination or ICI). IUI-ready or (washed) samples have been processed before freezing so that they can be used for intrauterine insemination. This is why they cost more than regular samples. IUI must be performed in a sterile setting (usually a doctor's office), as a catheter is run through the cervical opening and the sperm is deposited directly into the uterus. Seminal fluid contains prostaglandins that would cause painful cramping of the uterus, so the seminal fluid is washed out of IUI-ready samples, leaving only sperm. All IUI-ready samples are only .5cc in volume, as this is the maximum volume the uterus can accommodate without cramping and expelling the sperm.

Why do I need a Medical Professional?

We are required by state and federal regulations to ensure that you are working with a medical provider and have access to care during your pregnancy. Since TBSC does not provide these services, registering your Medical Professional is the way we comply with these regulations. The Medical Professional can be your midwife, general practitioner, OB/GYN, etc. You can also ask one of our staff for a listing of registered Medical Professionals in your area. 

What are TSBC's sperm count guarantees for Program Donors?

We guarantee a post-thaw minimum of 20 million motile sperm per cc and 15% motility in every regular, unwashed sample.We guarantee a post-thaw minimum of 20 million motile sperm per cc and 20% motility in every washed, washed/IUI-ready sample.As washed samples are only .5cc in volume, this guarantee translates to 10 million motile sperm per IUI-ready vial. . Note: Our guarantee applies to TSBC program donor sperm samples only. We do not have a minimum guarantee for samples collected from Directed or Known Donors or from men storing for their own future use.

How many offspring can one donor have?

Our limit is ten families worldwide for each donor. As clients may use the same donor for siblings, a donor may have more than ten offspring in all.  Our limit is lower than that of most other sperm banks and lower than that recommended by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.  Once a donor reaches Family Limit he will be taken off the General Catalog and put on the Sibling Catalog only and will only be available to families who already have children with that donor. 

What if I want to use the same donor for siblings?

We make every effort to set aside inventory for clients who wish to have more than one child using the same donor. Please let us know your plans as soon as your first child is born, and we can advise you on purchasing vials and storing them with us. We will prioritize allocating what we call sibling inventory to you and/or your partner. Sibling inventory is set aside from general inventory and is only available to couples who have already had a child using the donor.

Can you explain what sperm counts and motility percentages mean?

Motile sperm count expresses how many millions of living, moving sperm there are per cc (cubic centimeter). Motility is the most important number. It is a percentage that is a result od comparing the number of living, moving sperm with the total number of sperm present (alive and dead). The motile sperm count is by far the more relevant piece of information. The moving sperm are the sperm that travel into the fallopian tube and fertilize the egg.

eg: If a sample has 100 million sperm present and 50 million of those sperm are motile (moving) then this sample would be said to have: 50 million motile sperm per cc with 50% motility. Meaning 50% of all sperm present are motile (moving). 

If you have 10 million sperm present with 20% motility then only 2 million of the 10 million sperm are moving.

Some confusion arises when it is thought that when we say: 50 million motile sperm per cc with 50% motility that we are saying only 50% of the 50 million are moving. That is incorrect. The million count is the most important because it references the TOTAL count. 50 million motile means 50 million sperm are moving.  

Our post-thaw minimums are 20 million motile per cc with 20% motility for washed vials. By comparison, an average sperm count is around 10 million motile sperm per cc. 

Should I use the same donor every cycle?

We strongly encourage you to select several donors that you're interested in, as our inventory fluctuates and it won't always be possible to use the same donor every cycle.

Is it safe to use a donor who Is positive for CMV?

Yes.  We follow a strict FDA screening process so that we can presume that all of our donors who are positive/reactive for CMV IgG antibodies and negative/non-reactive for IgM are non-infectious for CMV. A donor who tests positive/reactive for CMV IgG antibodies simply means that at some point in his life he was "exposed to" CMV it does not mean that he has a current CMV infection. We do a secondary blood screening all donors to confirm that they are CMV IgM negative.  Furthermore, our six-month quarantine policy ensures that should a donor test positive for a current or recent infection, we would destroy all his potentially infectious samples before they were ever released to recipients. More on CMV

What if the catalog says the donor I want is sold out?

Recipients are often surprised to hear that a donor has sold out. Many of our donors are quite popular, especially if they are participating in our Identity-Release® Program, so even if a donor is listed on our current catalog, there is no guarantee we'll have inventory available the next time you look.

If a donor is listed as SOLD OUT there are no more vials and you need to choose another donor. If a donor is listed as TEMPORALITY SOLD OUT there will be more vials released at a later time and based on when you need vials you will either choose another donor or asked to be added to the Notification List and then wait for a call about his next release.  This means when the donor releases more vials for purchase we will give you a call and notify you that he is back.

How does age affect fertility?

As women age, their fertility declines due to decreased quantity and quality of eggs. With age, fertile cervical mucus also tends to decrease and cycles become shorter. Declining fertility is inevitable even for very healthy women, and this natural process begins in our late twenties. However, if you're in your late thirties or early forties, there are many options available to you; we recommend consulting with your doctor about doing a fertility evaluation and doing intrauterine inseminations (IUI). Read More...

What are TSBC's success rates?

We calculate our success rate per cycle attempt by comparing the total number of conceptions resulting from each type of insemination to the total number of conception attempts for each type of insemination. Our success rate for vaginal insemination is approximately 8% (equivalent to a 1 in 12 chance of conceiving). Our success rate for IUI (intrauterine insemination) is approximately 16% (equivalent to a 1 in 6 chance of conceiving). These are overall rates and there is considerable variation by age group.

Can an Identity-Release® Program donor access MY information once I am pregnant?

No. TSBC does not release identifying information about parents or their children to donors, under any circumstances. In fact, we do not release any identifying information about our families to other parties except when requested to do so by families who choose to participate in our Family Contact List

It doesn’t really matter if we choose an Anonymous Donor, Right?

Research from TSBC and elsewhere indicates that many donor-conceived youth and adults have a healthy curiosity about their donor. Therefore, whether or not the donor is open-identity may be more important to your future child than it is to you. Regardless of which type of donor you ultimately choose, we encourage you to consider this an important decision that will have future implications for your child once they are an adult and are making their own decisions.

I Have to register to purchase? How long does that take?

It can take up to 5 business days to become a registered recipient with TSBC. The 5 day count begins when we have received all of your required paperwork. You need to be a registered recipient to purchase sperm.We do an an EXPEDITED Registration option. Please call for details.Once you are registered you can call and purchase sperm and set up a pick-up or a shipment. Please allow one week to set -up a shipment. Because we are a small office, last minute shipments can rarely be accommodated. ie: Call on a Monday to set up a shipment if you need the vials to ship out the following Monday, arriving to you onWednesday via Fed Ex 2-day delivery.

What if I have more questions?

Please call us at (510) 841-1858 between 9:00 and 5:00 Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, and our staff would be happy to answer your questions. You are also welcome tosend us a email.

About Storing Sperm

Who stores their sperm?

Client Depositor sperm storage accounts:

  • A recent diagnosis
  • Upcoming treatment or surgery
  • Transitioning MTF
  • Fertility preservation
  • Frequent travel while trying to conceive

Directed or Known Donor storage accounts:

  • You are storing for some one you know. 
  • You are storing for the use with a surrogate
  • Storing now for an unknown reproductive partner in the future
How do I get started?

To begin the sperm storage process please call us to request an information packet and/or to schedule your initial appointment. At the first visit we will review the Storage Contract with you, and you’ll provide urine, blood and semen samples in our lab.

For a Client Depositor Account, we do a complete semen analysis on your sample to determine sperm count and motility. If your semen contains no sperm, we won’t store the sample and we’ll reduce the fee for your visit. However, we will store all semen samples that contain some genetic material. Advances in reproductive technologies make it possible for conception to occur, even with samples with very low sperm counts or even from samples with non-motile sperm.

For Directed Donors and Known Donors we highly recommend you schedule a semen analysis and test thaw appointment with TSBC prior to setting up a storage account. At this appointment, the donor provides an ejaculate for evaluation only—the ejaculate is not stored and can not be used for insemination. Our lab will perform a complete semen analysis on the sample, freeze it, and thaw it a week later to assess cryo survival. The semen analysis indicates the donor’s general fertility, and the test thaw indicates how well the donor’s sperm survives freezing.

The woman (women) who will be using the sperm the achieve pregnancy will need to register as a recipient on the Directed Donor account. 


What type of account do I need?

For individuals who are storing semen for use with their spouse or intimate partner you will need to open a Client Depositor Account. This account has minimal required FDA testing and costs between $700 to $1000 to set-up (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits).

A Directed Donor Account is for individuals who are storing semen to be used with a woman who is not their spouse or intimate partner. This account has extensive FDA required testing and screening as well as a six month vial quarantine. The cost to set-up this account is between $1450 and $2500 (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits). Preliminary paperwork and documents are required prior to initial visit.

Known Donor Account is the same as a Directed Donor in terms of FDA required testing, however it can be set up without the six month quarantine. The cost to set-up this account is between $1450 and $2500 (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits). Preliminary paperwork and documents are required prior to initial visit.

When is the best time to ask questions about fees and storage billing?

Please ask questions about fees, timing, requirements, recommendations, etc. before setting up the first storage appointment. We are here to help and we do our best to make all of the information available to you. The process of storing sperm can be complicated and costly and it's best to get all the details lined up ahead of time.  We ask that you take your time and avoid rushing and skipping over details. Asking questions before prevents confusion and upset once the account is being opened and fees and time lines are being assessed. 

How long can sperm be frozen?

As long as freezing conditions remain at a constant, very low, temperature, sperm can survive the freezing process indefinitely. Those sperm that die do so within the first 48 hours of freezing, and the attrition rate thereafter is minimal. Frozen semen can be stored for as long as 50 years without additional sperm deterioration beyond that caused by the original freezing process.

How can I increase my sperm count?

Sperm count can be affected by length of abstinence, nutrition, stress, amount of sleep, drug and alcohol use, and illness. Avoid anything that will cause the testicles to overheat like hot tubs, hot showers, long or daily bike rides.The most important step you can take to maximize your sperm count is to abstain from ejaculating for at least forty-eight hours before each storage visit. Forty-eight hours is the minimum amount of time it takes to replenish sperm. Between two to five days of abstinence is optimal. Abstinence of more than five days is likely to cause an accumulation of aging and dead sperm in the ejaculate. Volume can vary with each ejaculate. 

How does freezing affect sperm?

Between 50% to 80% of sperm die in the freezing process. Sperm survival varies a great deal from individual to individual and from ejaculate to ejaculate. We prepare a test thaw vial containing a small amount of semen from each stored ejaculate. A week after freezing, we thaw this vial and take a sperm count to determine the sperm survival rate for that ejaculate. (You can call us for test thaw results a week after your initial appointment). There is no research at this time on what can be done to increase the survival rate of an individuals sperm during freezing. 

Should I wash my sample(s)?

TSBC does not automatically wash sperm samples. While sperm washing eliminates seminal plasma and replaces it with a buffered solution that is beneficial to sperm and prepares the sample for an intrauterine inseminations, this manipulation also adds additional stress to the sperm cells.

Washing, in conjunction with the freezing process, can reduce the number of sperm that will survive after the sample is thawed. Also, clients have more options when the sperm is not washed prior to freezing, as the end result is usually vials with greater total number motile sperm. For this reason, it's TSBC's policy to freeze semen samples unwashed unless the client specifically requests otherwise. We recommend that you speak with your Medical Professional for help making this decision.<

Am I guaranteed a baby from the stored semen?

No. Conception depends on a variety of factors such as sperm survival, the sperm count of each sample, and the fertility of the woman inseminating. Once thawed, frozen sperm only lives up to twenty-four hours inside a woman’s body as opposed to fresh sperm, which lives for three to five days.

How many visits should I make to the sperm bank?

One vial = One insemination = One attempt at pregnancy

The more visits you are able to make, the more samples will be available for insemination attempts, which can increase the chances of conception. After we determine the volume and post-thaw sperm count of your first ejaculate, we’ll be able to better discuss how many visits you might want to make.

An average ejaculate yields between two and four cc in volume. This would create 2 to 4 vials for freezing (vials are one cubic centimeter, or 1 cc in volume). A post-thaw sperm count of 20 million motile sperm per cc would be optimal to increase the chances of conception. However, there are many variables and no real average. We can discuss ideals and minimums with you.

Can I provide samples at home?

As soon as you ejaculate, the sperm in your ejaculate begins to deteriorate. We ask that you provide your semen samples on our premises so our lab can begin the cryopreservation process as soon as possible. If you are unable to visit our offices, on rare occasions we will accept a semen sample that has been provided off-site, but we will ask you to sign a waiver stating that you assume all the risks associated with the reduced sample quality. Please call us for more information.

What is the procedure for retrieving semen samples?

In order to release semen samples, we require a written request signed by the semen provider or the authorized representative designated in his storage agreement. The provider or his authorized representative should call to arrange for retrieval of samples; there is a specific release form to fill out and there are fees associated with retrieval and shipping. You can either pick up the samples at TSBC’s offices or make arrangements to have them shipped to your home or doctor’s office. Your spouse or intimate partner will also need to complete our Informed Consent for Recipient of Client Depositor Semen.

What is the procedure for canceling storage?

In the event that you no longer wish to continue storing your samples, you must submit and sign a written request authorizing their destruction.