The Pros & Cons of Being a Sperm Donor Explained

Pro & Cons of Being a Sperm Donor (Featured Image)

The Pros and Cons of Being a Sperm Donor Explained

Article Overview

If you’re considering becoming a sperm donor, this article covers all the pros and cons you need to know. Being a donor is a great way (if you’re fit and healthy) of drumming up some cash however it’s very important to understand how your sample(s) are used and what obligation you have if your sperm is chosen!

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Last updated Last updated 30 August, 2022

Pro & Cons of Being a Sperm Donor (Summary Image)

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a sperm donor, you probably have a lot of questions. It’s a little more involved than you’d imagine it would be, but overall not that bad. What are some pros and cons of being a sperm donor?

The pros of being a sperm donor are that you earn money, help others start a family, and get free medical screenings. The cons are that it could cause emotional complications if provided for someone you know and that the requirements of sperm donation are fairly strict.

In this article, I’ll be going over how sperm donation works, its pros and cons, and lots of other relevant info you might want to know about sperm donation.

Letter W IconWhat Is Sperm Donation?

Medicine is very successful these days, but infertility is still sometimes an unfortunate problem that stands between a couple and their dream family. With the help of generous donors, anyone can have a family.

Sperm donation is a procedure where a fertile man donates his sperm-rich semen to help infertile families conceive children. The sperm sample is usually inserted into a woman’s reproductive organs or used to facilitate in-vitro fertilization of eggs.

Donation is a simple process, despite its extensive screening process.The screening process of sperm donation is to ensure donors have high-quality genes that could be passed down to any prospective children conceived via IVFexternal link icon. Clinics usually prefer a tall 5’ 10” (1.78 m) or taller man who has a college degree and no significant family history of genetic or medical conditions on either side.

When donors provide samples, they’re mixed with a cryopreservative agent and frozen with liquid nitrogen, then they’re stored in a freezer. Whenever the sample is chosen to be used by a client, the sample is thawed out and typically used in an IVF procedure. A client may choose to carry the pregnancy themselves or have a surrogate, depending on their wants.

Letter K IconKnown vs. Anonymous Donation

There are two major types of sperm donor: known donors and anonymous donors. They’re radically different, as the decision to know who’s using your sperm can affect your personal life. Anonymous donors commonly donate for money or altruistic reasons.

Being a Known Donor

To be a known donor, someone who knows you would have to first make the decision to ask you to donate. Then you would go to a clinic and have some basic medical screening performed, and you would provide a sample. As a known donor, you aren’t compensated and do it for altruistic reasons. Being a known donor also doesn’t have minimum requirements.

Anonymous Donation

Anonymous donation is done through a sperm bank or clinic, which will first put you through the qualification process. Then you’ll be compensated with cash for ‘your time’ and encouraged to make an appointment for your next donation. The entire process is rather impersonal and you will never have to meet the people who actually use your sperm – in fact, you can choose to remain entirely anonymous.

Anonymous sperm donation is usually motivated by the money you get from donating, although altruism may be a secondary factor.

Letter H IconHow Does Sperm Donation Work?

From start to finish, sperm donation will take a fair bit of time just to initially qualify as a donor. The donation process has three steps: questionnaires, medical screening, and finally, the sperm sample.


Sperm donors fill out a lot of questionnaires. You’ll be asked for medical information about your parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, and extended family. During this stage, applicants who have a history of cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia are disqualified.

Other things the clinic looks for are drug use and homosexuality – you can’t donate sperm if you’ve ever used drugs with a needle or had sex with another man. Similarly, applicants with herpes, syphilis, hepatitis C, or HIV are all disqualified from donating sperm.

You’ll also be asked questions about if you have tattoos, have ever been in the military or lived out of the country. The clinic hopes to gather as much information that could pertain to your health and the genes you can pass on to children.

Medical Screening

After the questionnaires are the medical screens. You have to undergo a full physical exam, including a blood, hair, and urine sample that the clinic will test – these tests are typically to screen for STDs. You’ll also be tested on your hearing and vision, including a color vision test. They ensure you’re in the best possible physical health before proceeding in the donation process.

Sperm Sample

Finally, you’ll be asked to provide a semen sample for the clinic to analyze for sperm count and sperm motility (how well the sperm swim), among other variables. You provide the sample by masturbating alone in a private room, usually stocked with a variety of pornography to make the task easier and more pleasant.

This first sample isn’t ever used to conceive children, so don’t worry about that at this point. This first sample will be destroyed after it’s tested, and you will usually get lab results for your sample as well.

Letter H IconHow Much Does Sperm Donation Pay?

Phoenix Sperm Bank pays its donors $70 per donation – $50 at the time of donation and the other $20 when the sample is cleared. At this rate, a donor can score up to $1000 a month by donating three times a week.

Other sperm clinics vary in how much they compensate donors; California Cryobank advertises they pay up to $1500 a month, and Seattle Sperm Bank pays up to $1000. Officially, they aren’t paying for the sperm, because that’s technically illegal – rather, they’re paying for your time, expenses, and commute.

Letter W IconWill I Be Informed If My Samples Are Used?

Generally speaking, you will not be informed if your sperm sample is thawed and used in an IVF or surrogate procedure. The main reason is to ensure the privacy of donors and recipients.

On rare occasions, a child conceived using a sperm donation may inherit rare genetic conditions that the sperm donor may not be aware of. If such a thing happens, the sperm bank will contact the donor and inform them of this development so they can have a more complete picture of their medical data.

If the clinic determines that your sperm is the cause for this condition, you’ll probably be disqualified from donating sperm effectively immediately.

Letter D IconDo Sperm Banks Provide Pictures of Donors?

You might be worried that you will have to provide a picture of your face that donors will see at some point down the line. Rest assured, very few clinics take pictures of donors for clients to browse from. More commonly a donor will remain completely anonymous.

Sometimes, a donor can choose to provide a handwritten essay for clients to look at, or they provide copies of pictures of them from their childhood or adolescence. Facilities like Cryos International provide a database with donors’ faces. This database is available for clients to browse if donor appearance is important to them.

For example, an infertile couple might want a donor who looks as similar to the father as possible. The physical traits of the donor might be a dealbreaker in other cases.

Cryos also has voice clips of donors and emotional intelligence profiles that allow a peek into what kind of person the donor is. This can further help clients decide between prospective donors.

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Letter P IconPros and Cons of Being a Sperm Donor

As with any medical procedure, there are pros and cons to donating sperm. In this case, donating sperm is relatively safe and non-invasive.


For most people, the pros of donating sperm greatly outweigh the cons, especially since it’s an easy process that earns money.

Help Others Start A Family

You can’t put a price on family, and that’s the top intangible benefit of sperm donation – you can help families conceive and have children of their own. Infertile couples, single women, and lesbian couples all take advantage of IVF procedures to make their dreams of having a family come true. You can go to sleep assured that you’re doing a great thing – helping create families!

Earn Money

This is arguably why most men look into becoming a sperm donor – if you qualify, it can be a great way to earn some extra money on the side with minimal time investment. Depending on the sperm bank, you could earn as much as $1000-1500 in a month.

Free Medical Screening

While physicals aren’t by any definition exciting, they can be an informative process to get a free medical screening that includes STD testing. Virtually any other way of getting a physical would cost money, so it’s not a downside by any means. Most sperm banks provide one or two free physical screenings a year while you donate with them.


The cons of sperm donation are primarily that it’s difficult to qualify as a donor in the first place, and if you donate for someone you know, it could cause emotional complications between you and strain your relationship.

There Could Be Emotional Complications

This caveat applies mainly to men donating to people they know. If you donate your sperm to someone you know, it could dramatically affect your relationship with them, whether you intend it to or not. It’s crucial to talk through the process before agreeing to be a sperm donor to someone you know, especially a friend or family member.

This articleexternal link icon details one such story, of a brother who donated his sperm to his younger brother and wife. After they had the baby, the younger brother and his wife began giving his donor brother the cold shoulder – it’s explained that any donor involvement poses a psychological threat to the new family.

It’s typically agreed beforehand that you, as the donor, will have no responsibilities or legal claims to the custody of any child(ren) conceived with your sperm. Still, new parents can get antsy if you want to get involved in the child’s life.

Strict Requirements

There are a lot of requirements to become a sperm donor, which usually includes a minimum education level, minimum height, and so on. Even if you’re in perfect health, sperm clinics ideally want men who have or are pursuing college degrees.

Letter I IconIs It Hard To Become a Sperm Donor?

Surprisingly, it’s quite difficult to become a sperm donor. Phoenix Sperm Bank estimates only 5% of menexternal link icon fully qualify to donate sperm on a regular basis. There are a lot of reasons you can be disqualified from donating sperm.

Some of these reasons include:

  • Being too old. Sperm banks typically require you to be between 18 and 28.
  • Genetic health conditions.
  • Low sperm count.
  • Little to no education. High school is usually the minimum, though college is preferred.
  • Being too short. 5’8” (1.73 m) is a common height requirement.
  • Having an STD

As you can see, there are a lot of things that could keep you from donating sperm. If you happen to qualify as a donor and any of these factors change, you can and will be disqualified from donating.

Letter H IconHow Often and How Long Can I Donate Sperm?

Most sperm donors donate at least once a week, but sometimes donors can donate as often as three times per week. It should be noted that a donor has to be fully qualified (e.g, pass all tests) to perform repeat donations.

In theory, you could donate sperm until you ‘age out’ or become too old for the sperm bank to accept your donations anymore. This age limit varies a lot between sperm banks – some only accept sperm from donors aged 18-29, while others accept sperm from donors as old as 45.

Call your nearby sperm bank to confirm what age range they accept donations from.

Letter W IconWhat To Know About Donating Sperm

Before you donate sperm, there are a few things you should be aware of that might impact your decision to donate or not. It’s vital that you take these into consideration when making your choice to donate.

The Children May Have a Right To Contact You

Donating sperm could have huge implications down the road, namely the children wanting to find you! Some sperm banks will ask you if you want to ‘ID Release,’ which means that children conceived with your sperm can choose to contact you when they turn 18. Alternatively, you can choose to remain anonymous, but even anonymous doesn’t mean what it used to.

The advent of genealogical technology like and 23andMe has put many children of sperm donors in contact with each other. The NY Times reports that there are hundreds of separate groupsexternal link icon of donor children who have 20 or more biologically related siblings. Some of these people didn’t even know they were donor-conceived before they took the DNA test!

What this means for donors is that if the children conceived really put their minds to it, they could track down the donor’s identity with some genetic sleuthing and savvy emailing. If you donate sperm, you should definitely be aware that this is a possibility.

It Can Affect Your Sex Life

If you donate sperm, it’s expected that you won’t masturbate or have sex ending with ejaculation before your appointments.

Masturbating to provide sperm can reduce sex drive. If you provide samples three times a week, that could dramatically reduce your desire for sex, or even the ability to perform sexually. This is a little-known side effect of donating sperm, and usually not a big one, though it could be if you already have a low sex drive.

If you have a partner, it’s important to talk to them about you donating sperm and the possibility of your sex drive being affected.

The Sperm May Not Be Used for Years, if Ever

Many sperm donors have a mental image of hordes of children conceived via their sperm, but this isn’t very common in reality. While many donor-conceived children have dozens of half-siblings, the chances are high that your sperm sample may never be used.

Sperm frozen in a sperm bank is usually kept for 10 years, but some facilities may keep it longer – in theory, sperm is viable for about 50 years when frozen.

What Not To Do When Donating Sperm

For best results, there are some things you should abstain from in the hours and days leading up to a sperm donation.

Some of these include:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, cocaine, and other types of drugs 2-5 days before a sperm donation. These can affect your sperm count and motility.
  • Don’t take herbal medication, like St. John’s Wort.
  • Don’t take hormone medication – if in doubt, ask your doctor and/or the sperm clinic.
  • Avoid ejaculation for 2 to 5 days before the donation.

Letter S IconFinal Thoughts

Sperm donation is a wonderful way to help complete families and make some cash on the side, too. While donating for someone you know can be tricky, sperm donation is generally an easy and painless process that’s good for everyone involved.

This Content Was Written By...

Author & Site Owner | Website
Chris is the owner and creator of Penis Enlargement Resource. He has years of knowledge in the male enhancement niche and has tested and assessed numerous products over the years.

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Chris Sabian Author & Site Owner

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So I’m Chris Sabian, the creator and owner of the Penis Enlargement Resource website.

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This Content Was Written By...

Author & Site Owner | Website
Chris is the owner and creator of Penis Enlargement Resource. He has years of knowledge in the male enhancement niche and has tested and assessed numerous products over the years.

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