Demystifying IUI, ICI, IVI and IVF

Along with providing anonymous donor sperm to individuals looking to conceive a child, Seattle Sperm Bank also provides personal storage of donor sperm for directed donors, known donors, and those storing sperm for personal use in the future by a sexually intimate partner. Here is a comparison of each of these donor types.

A directed donor is an individual who stores sperm for a chosen recipient who is a friend, acquaintance, or surrogate, but not a sexually intimate partner. We encourage recipients to be involved in the directed donor screening process at the beginning of the process to ensure clear communication between all parties. The recipient is welcome to make an appointment to come to the initial screening process to learn about the process and see the lab. Or, if the recipient lives in another state or a phone call is preferred, conference calls can be arranged. This communication is important because the recipient and donor will have joint decisions to make regarding the donor’s screening, the number of visits he should make, and other issues related to intrauterine insemination (IUI) prior to storage. The more visits a donor is able to make, the more samples that will be available for insemination attempts, which can increase the chances of conception. Learn more about the cost and collection schedule for directed donors. 

A known donor is a directed donor whose recipient has chosen to waive the recommended six-month quarantine of the donor’s semen samples. Learn more about the cost and collection schedule for known donors. Both known donors and directed donors are tested for infectious diseases, however, there is an increased risk of infection in known donors since the six-month quarantine period is being waived. We strongly encourage all recipients to consult with their healthcare provider or a medical professional regarding the risks involved in waiving the quarantine period. 

A client depositor is a person storing sperm for personal future use. There are many reasons why someone may want to store sperm. They may be planning to have a vasectomy yet still want the option to have children in the future, they may want to postpone starting a family, preservation before hormone therapy for transitioning, have a military deployment coming up, or want to hedge against the effects of a medical treatment that may decrease fertility such as radiation, chemotherapy, or prostate surgery. Donor sperm being stored for individual use will need to go many of the same processes, screenings, and testing that directed donors complete, with the exception of the physical exam. 

How Donor Sperm is Collected and Stored

Regardless of your reasons for storing semen, every donor must schedule a semen analysis and test thaw appointment with SSB prior to storing sperm. At this appointment, the donor provides an ejaculate for evaluation only. This sample is not stored and can’t be used for insemination. Our lab will perform a complete semen analysis on the sample, freeze it, and thaw it a day later to assess how well the donor’s sperm survives freezing (though 50% to 80% of sperm die in the freezing process). Please note that you should abstain from any ejaculation for 48 hours prior to providing any semen sample. Once the semen analysis results are available, we can schedule a consultation which will provide you with an idea of what the results mean and what the next steps in the process are.

SSB follows federal and state tissue bank regulations, which impose strict screening requirements on all donors who store semen samples to reduce the risk of passing on sexually transmissible infections through insemination. That’s why we require each donor to be tested for sexually transmissible infections through our own lab. The timing of required blood draws, urine tests, and physical exams will vary depending on whether you’re a directed donor, known donor, or client depositor. All individuals must also complete a questionnaire about their medical and family health history. SSB also offers optional genetic testing for additional fees. 

To learn more about how semen samples are handled in our lab, or to discuss your options for  semen storage, contact one of our experts at or (206) 588-1484. 

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