As a Client Services Coordinator at Seattle Sperm Bank the past three years, Katie Couture spends a lot of time talking with clients. Which is fitting considering she’s currently working on a master’s degree in counseling. She uses her skills to help match clients with the right donor while also guiding them through the entire process. In this interview, she offers advice to potential clients including the best questions to ask when choosing the right fertility clinic.
Describe a typical work day for you.
Phone calls. Lots of phone calls. Understandably, both clients and donors have lots of questions, and many prefer to talk with someone directly about their concerns. We do have a wealth of information on our website to get people started, but sometimes a phone conversation works best to help them make a final decision about whether this is right for them. So, much of my day is usually spent answering questions.
I also run vial storage reports, email clients about payment and storage details, work on our Buy Back program, resolve shipping issues, and help with our photo matching service. That’s a free service we offer in which clients send us photos of a person (either themselves or a spouse or partner) that we compare to a list of donors to find those with the closest physical resemblance. Overall, I have a wide range of job duties, which keeps things interesting.
What are the most frequent questions you get from clients?
Once a woman is in our program, most of the questions are about our donors. After reading profiles on our site, looking at photos, and reading the donors’ responses to questions, they often want more insight into what the donors are really like. This helps personalize the experience for them. Often they have narrowed down their search to one or two donors and are looking to us to help them make a final decision.
Other common questions are about purchasing vials of donor sperm, shipping, and other practical parts of the insemination process.
What advice do you have for women about choosing a sperm donor?
I always tell women to go with their gut. You’re choosing a donor based on specific criteria, not looking to date them, so go with your instincts and be honest about what you want. Most women first ask about physical characteristics, and then want to know about the personality and intelligence of the donors they are considering. And that’s where we provide value because we spend a lot of time getting to know our donors.
I can provide more background and insight into the specific donors our clients are interested in. If clients read through our profiles and make a short list of guys who look promising, they can then ask for my opinion to help make a final decision. But I always encourage them to trust their intuition. And most already have a good idea of what they’re looking for anyway.
What should women and families consider when choosing a sperm bank?
Women might be surprised by how different the major sperm banks and fertility clinics are. Along with a big range of prices and services, there are major differences is everything from how donors are screened to how vials are shipped. In particular, I encourage women and families to ask about the consultation process at each clinic they are considering. Choosing the right fertility clinic is a big decision, so you want to get as much information as possible.
At Seattle Sperm Bank, we focus on working directly with clients to help them choose the right donor. Some sperm banks charge for services we provide for free, so shopping around is a good idea. For example, we don’t charge a fee for phone consultations or photo matching, which are two of our most popular and helpful services.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that we’re helping women and couples start families. We care about our clients and want to help make the experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.
On the personal side, I love the flexibility Seattle Sperm Bank offers me. I’m a full time graduate student working on my master’s degree in education in school counseling, and the company is great about accommodating my schedule. Plus, I love my coworkers. I’ve never worked in a place where I so thoroughly enjoy the people around me. We have fun together and there are a lot of laughs. We even get the occasional entertaining prank call. Not that I’m encouraging anyone to do it! But it seems to come with the job.