Directed Donors – SSB (Seattle Sperm Bank) Expert Q&A

There are a lot of families and individuals who choose a friend or family member to use as their sperm donor. At Seattle Sperm Bank, we can help support this type of donor and provide services to aid.

We sat down with SSB’s Directed/Known Donor Coordinator, Kevin Gospel, to answer questions about using someone you know as your sperm donor.

Directed Donors – Questions Answered

What is the first step in using a friend as my donor?

“First you need to have a discussion with the person who will potentially become your donor. Find out if this is the right choice for both of you and what your relationship will look like in the future. Discuss what and how you will tell your mutual friends about the donation and what you are both comfortable with posting on social media.

A crucial step is for both of you to speak to an attorney who specializes in fertility and third-party reproduction. Ideally, you should each have your own attorney to represent each of you. A written agreement should be in place before any donations begin.

After you are both comfortable moving forward, reach out to SSB to schedule a sperm analysis and set up a donation schedule. There are a few specific requirements for sperm donation like having infectious disease testing and semen analysis. Then depending on the type of donation path you choose, there will be other testing such as a physical and genetic screening.”

What is the benefit of using a Cryobank when using a friend as a sperm donor?

“Even though you know this person and may be very close to them, you will still want to take advantage of a Cryobank’s services and expertise. We will do a semen analysis on each donation- even if they already have children, as each ejaculate can differ in sperm concentration and motility after reanimation. This is the only way to know that you will have enough for planned treatment. You will also be able to store multiple donation samples and have them ready when you are going into treatment. This helps with the planning of timing ovulation when your treatment cycles begin. And lastly, some clinics will require that your donor has specific infectious disease testing and screening in addition to the FDA-required testing, which we can facilitate for you.

Are there restrictions for my friend? Like age?

“Directed donors do not need to qualify in the same ways as donors in our program, which includes age limits. These requirements are in place to ensure we are offering high-quality samples for future treatments. In the case of a directed donor, we will perform a semen analysis and let you determine if you would like to proceed based on the results.”

Will the donor need to travel to Seattle? Do patients need to use a clinic in Seattle as well?

“Yes and no. Your donor will have to complete their testing and donations at one of our lab locations. Fortunately, we have a few locations to choose from:

  • Seattle, WA
  • Bellevue, WA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Denver, CO

As far as patient treatments, once the donations and all required paperwork have been completed, they can be shipped anywhere in the US including to your home residence or chosen clinic.”

From your experience in helping people use directed donors, what advice do you have to give?

“Make sure you have an extended conversation about your expectations for this experience. For example, will your donor be willing to give multiple donations depending on the outcome? It is important for you both to also have separate legal counsel, as we do not handle any legal contracts for known donors.”

How do I get started?

“Feel free to read the plethora of information we have about our Directed/Known Donor Program on our website here.  You can also reach out to me via email at to ask questions and get information for costs and scheduling.”

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