Choosing a Sperm Donor — Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

What is it about my donor that made me pick him? How on earth do you choose a sperm donor?

The weight of this decision can feel very heavy and daunting and overwhelming and and and…. But just know, if you take the time and feel great about the choice you made, whichever donor you choose, it will be the right decision. This is not to say that you should write a handful of donor numbers on little pieces of paper and pick one out of a hat. I mean, you could, but that’s leaving a lot up to the universe, which is a-ok if that’s what you want to do. But I think as you weigh the different factors of what makes each donor who they are as people, a lot of the contenders fall away immediately, while others start to really shine. And once you’ve made the choice, it’s a wonderful feeling to get excited about who you picked.

OK – I feel like I should say this here, though it is a given – The most important thing to me is having a healthy, happy child. That is, of course, the biggest goal. Not just to have a super cute one. But for the most part, women generally get to choose who our mates are, so we, as women doing this on our own and on purpose, can and should be choosy. Now moving on…

After the basic stats are covered – height, hair color, ethnic origin, IUI prepared sperm, for me it became about the following:

Because the Cryobank has such smarty-pants donors who have generally excellent medical histories, most of those questions are answered for me. It left me wide open to dig into what kind of people they are, and since most of them are still in college or just out of school, they are on their way to becoming the men they will be. This is mostly evident in the essays they have written in response to provided questions. You can tell a lot about a person by how they describe their experiences and the people who are important to them in their lives.

One thing I needed to remind myself a few times while choosing, is that I AM NOT TRYING TO DATE THIS MAN, I am not trying to sleep with him, not needing to hope he is attracted to me, I AM LOOKING FOR THE BEST GENETICS TO PASS ON TO MY CHILD. My child. Mine. All mine. Which honestly, has it’s perks- no baggage from an old flame, a one night stand, or a broken heart, where I would be looking for him in my child’s looks and personality every day. This is a clean slate.

Understand that doing this without a partner, completely solo, it is more comfortable for me to have a child that has a shot at looking related to me. If I had a husband, a man I was in love with, a donor I knew who I adored, I would be excited no matter who my child resembled. I actually would be thrilled to have a little version of the man I love in my life, how beautiful the thought is to my heart. But I don’t. And therefore I don’t want to feel like I am having a stranger’s baby. Ideally, I would like my child to look like my family. I have no control over most of this, I realize that.

I have Italian, Polish, German & Irish in my heritage so it’s nice for me to pick a donor who shares those or some of those in common.

The next big 3 factors for me: Childhood Photos. Donor Look-a-likes. Voice.

These are a great peek into what your donor’s real physical appearance shapes up to be and what 1/2 of your child’s DNA could resemble. The childhood photos are pretty cute (or really bad) and it’s fun to sift through them. The look-a-likes are incredibly helpful too. I started to feel myself bond with the idea of choosing certain donors and dismissing others pretty easily. But it still left me with a handful of contenders and no idea what to do. That’s where the power of the human voice comes in.

There is something about the sound of a voice that can draw me in or turn me off completely. It is my absolute favorite tool they provide. I don’t know if it is an animalistic thing or what, but I had  physical and emotional reactions to hearing the donors speak that I didn’t expect. It solved my decision predicament for me pretty quickly. A few donors who I thought were a perfect fit sounded just wrong to me – it wasn’t the words they used; the ones on my short list all had really great things to say. It was the way they sounded. Some just hit the mark – the tone, the ease with which they spoke, the confidence, the humility, all of it. Who knew that the sound of a voice would be the deciding factor?! I just thought it would be cool to hear them. But It really proved to be the kicker.

Once I knew which one I was going with, I was so relieved and thrilled at the same time. It enabled me to get excited about moving forward and I haven’t looked back!

Making a Life in LA


To discuss this and other SMC topics, join SMC and take part in our discussions on our lively online 24/7 Forum and at local chapter meetings.

“I joined when I was in the Thinking stage. The forum was exactly what I needed to research the SMC experience. I felt more confident with that support and information, and am now a mom to a baby boy!”

– Anonymous