How much sperm do I need to conceive?

You’ve chosen your sperm donor and are ready to begin your first insemination attempt. Now what?

First, you want to ensure there are enough samples of your chosen donor to help you conceive. Although Seattle Sperm Bank only works with donors who commit to donating at least once per week, we cannot guarantee units will remain available for as long as it takes for you to conceive. To avoid running out, reserving units is critical. So before starting treatment, we strongly encourage you to purchase additional units from your preferred donor and place them into storage. If you buy only a little at a time you risk running out if other clients purchase units from the same donor, and we don’t want you to have to choose a new one in the middle of your treatment. Reserving units of your preferred donor’s sperm also helps ensure there are enough units available if you want to have more than one child with the same genetic background.

How Many Samples Do I Need?

On average, it takes five cycles for most women to conceive. You’ll need at least one vial per insemination, so you’ll want to have enough in storage to cover multiple attempts. Plus, it’s not uncommon for a donor’s inventory to temporarily sell out, so it’s better to purchase more up front when they are available. If you get pregnant when you still have samples in storage, you can take advantage of our Buy Back Program in which SSB will purchase any units that do not leave our facility for 50% of the original cost.

What If I Run Out of Samples Before I Conceive?

If you temporarily run out of units from your donor, please call us right away because it’s possible our actual inventory differs from what is listed on the website. If more units are not available immediately, we may be able to tell you when more will be in stock. We can also create a waiting list for your donor and reserve up to five units currently in quarantine. You will then be notified via email when samples are released from quarantine, and you’ll have a full week to purchase them before they are made publicly available. Also, if you want to have another child using the same donor but no more units are available, we can contact your donor to request more units.

If you have any questions about reserving donor sperm, including how much to order, please contact SSB at 206-588-1484 or

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