Blog written by CLI Laboratory Director, Michelle Ottey, PhD.
One of the best pieces of advice I can offer to any prospective parent who will be using donor sperm is to know the sperm bank you are working with to build your family; know their practices, policies, and all that they have to offer.
Several inquiries that often come up are: the number of children each donor may produce, how do sperm banks monitor limits they have, are there required limits, and are the donors informed of how many children have been born using their sperm.
When you choose CLI, you are choosing a sperm donor who has been tested above and beyond all regulatory requirements, has been screened vigorously, and who has provided a plethora of personal information to help you make your choice. All of our policies are available on our website for your review, but there are several that I would like to highlight for you.
1. In 2008 we adopted an internal company policy to limit each of our producing donors to 25 reported families in the US and up to an additional 15 outside of the United States.
What does this mean? This means that we monitor each donor closely and watch his production numbers as well as the number of reported families. If at any point a report of a 25th family is reported we stop distribution of that donor to the general public. At that point if units are available, they can only be purchased by recipients who desire to increase their family with a full sibling. In order to purchase additional units, the recipient must have already reported a child from the donor.
2. We rely on the pregnancy/birth reporting by you, our recipients. It is important that births are reported to CLI directly so that we can accurately monitor the number of families per donor.
Why not rely on the number of vials to determine the number of children and not rely on the recipients to report births? As you can imagine we have a very diverse population of recipients who are using our services for various reasons. There are simply too many medical variables that affect pregnancy outcome to rely on a vial number to predict the number of children born. One woman may use one vial and achieve pregnancy on the first try. Another woman may go through several cycles using several vials before achieving pregnancy. Some women may have multiple births where others have single births.
3. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines recommend no more than 25 births/population of 800,000 people.
Though we do monitor reported pregnancies by region, CLI made the decision in 2008 to stop distribution once we have 25 reported families in the US, though there is no regulation that requires this significantly lower total limit.
4. Our donors do not know any specifics about the number of children or who has used their samples.
When our donors enter the program they are informed and sign documents acknowledging our policies regarding confidentiality of information between donor, recipient, and offspring as well as and the family limits from the use of his samples.
At CLI we value the experience of our recipients and appreciate the trust you put in us. We also value feedback from our recipients about your experiences and the experiences of your children. We have built our policies and allowed them to evolve over time to meet your needs. We recognize and value each person’s unique and personal experience, especially the fact that there are many differences in each person’s experience and what they are looking for in a sperm donor and a sperm bank.