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The Story of a Sperm Donor

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a blog by Michelle Ottey, PhD, Director of Operations, Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc. September 10, 2010

When I started at the sperm bank, I was impressed with the ability of the staff to match all of the donors with their donor numbers and with their personal stories. The staff managed them and the lab flow so smoothly. They also knew the guys and were able to speak very comfortably with them.

I was happy to see that the process is set up in such a way that the staff really does come to know the donors. The screening process consists of clinic visits, interviews, e-mails and calls. Then, once a donor makes it through the rigorous screening, we see them at least once a week.

Getting to Know a Donor

There was one donor that I really enjoyed talking with from the start. He was a medical student and had been donating for a few months already. We talked about school, his wife, their vacations, television shows and about the donor program. I found him to be a really wonderful man: genuine, smart, and charming. He got along with all of us on the staff and was very invested in the process.

One day he popped into my office on his way out to say “hi,” and I told him that I had always wondered why he had decided to participate in the donor program. He sat down, and we started talking. He shared with me that his sister had fertility issues and that she and her husband weren’t able to conceive on their own, and they had used an egg donor. He said their process made him aware of infertility early on and that seeing what they went through inspired him to apply to be a donor. Once he saw our website and read some of the testimonials, he was convinced that it was the right thing for him to do.

One of the Best Things He Had Ever Done

He continued to donate for some time, and eventually the time came for us to stop him due to internal production limits that allow us to control the number of offspring from our donors. When we informed him of this, he understood and said that he hoped that his specimens were helpful. He sat down and shared with us that he was so happy to have been in the program, that he hoped people were able to start their families, and felt strongly that this was one of the best things he had done in his life.

Not every donor has this kind of relationship with the staff. Some are shy and tend not to talk too much when they come in to leave their specimens. Some are busy and are coming in to donate in the middle of a busy day. But every so often we get a donor like this and it is a real pleasure to work with him.

This donor continues to keep us updated. He emailed us when he graduated medical school, and he responds to our annual update requests. As it turns out, he is one of our most popular donors, just as the staff had predicted.

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