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Picking a Sperm Donor: The Process

By: Heather Somaini

Picking a donor – it sounds kind of funny – like picking out a car or a toaster. In some ways, they are somewhat similar: color, size, options, sunroof, air-conditioning, bagel-toasting options.

The first time I went to the California Cryobank website, I picked out what I thought was a good candidate. In this Internet age, it’s no surprise that you can do it all online. You pick hair and eye color, skin color, hair type, height, weight, religion, level of education…the list just keeps going. Pretty much anything you can think of – it’s there. Then you hit search and voila, your “matches” show up. I decided to pay the $25 or so to see my chosen donor’s information package. He seemed great…tall, Italian, educated, cute baby picture.

I’m going to preface this next section with a disclaimer – it makes really very little sense looking back, but apparently it made sense at the time.

We wanted the donor to look like me. Since Tere was going to carry first, that sounds like it made perfect sense. But since we were going to use the same donor for Baby #2, which I was supposed to carry, that really doesn’t make much sense, does it? That meant that Baby #2 was going to look ONLY like me. Well, I guess we didn’t really think that one all the way through.

To be sure we picked a good one, we decided to pay the extra fee, which has increased considerably since then, and met with an In-House Donor Selection Consultant. Her name was Latrice and we met her on a Monday morning in June, June 27, 2005, to be exact. She was great. We explained that the donor should look like me and that he needed to be at least part Italian…I’m a quarter Italian. He needed to be tall (at least 6 feet), athletic, smart, educated and definitely good-looking. We had a couple options picked out but I was sure that we would go with “my guy” from my first initial search. Latrice listened carefully and selected about six different donors for us to consider.

We started to narrow them down when she excused herself – she wanted to check the donors’ actual hard files just to be sure she knew exactly what they looked like before we made our final decision. While she was gone, Tere and I narrowed it down some more and by the time Latrice returned, we had THE ONE. I explained that we had made a decision and pointed to our “new guy”.

She said “no.” No? What was that about? She pointed to another one and said “that’s the one.” That wasn’t going to be enough for me. I asked “why?” She said, with a slight tilt to her head, “if my 15-year old daughter were here, she would say he is FI-I-INE.” She had me at “fine”; we both immediately said “yes.”

He wasn’t exactly what we had envisioned – he was 5’11”, half-Spanish, a quarter Italian and a quarter English, and he had green eyes. Latrice couldn’t stop gushing about his gorgeous green eyes. She almost swooned. My Dad has hazel eyes so the idea of little green-eyed babies was ridiculously hard to deny. He had very high SAT scores, a Bachelor’s degree in History, and was a 4th grade teacher.

One of the things the Cryobank does is rank all of their donors’ attractiveness. I just HAD to ask how that worked. Apparently, there is an Attractiveness Committee! This committee of six has to be in complete agreement. If a donor candidate falls below a certain number on their 1 to 10 scale, they won’t even accept him into the donor program.

The key things that were super important in our donor was height (Tere’s pretty short), athletic ability (Tere thinks she’s a weeble wobble), and attractiveness. Our guy was an 8 on the Attractiveness Committee’s scale where they’ve never given anyone a ranking of higher than 8.5.

Being the competitive type she is, Tere was happy that we met her requirements.

Read more at The Next Family


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