Posted by: thatjen | October 23, 2007

More Details and More Complications. Of Course.

Grrr. I *thought* I was buying more sperm, but of course, nothing is simple.

First, a little background info. The donor we used is no longer “producing” and all of the samples that were for sale through the bank are long gone. The bank keeps a waiting list, but since we got the vials originally as a gift from a friend, we don’t qualify for the waiting list. So we signed up with the Donor Sibling Registry and indicated we were interested in buying additional vials. I was not optimistic, but to our surprise we were contacted within a few months by another family who wanted to sell 12 (12!) vials they no longer needed.

We would buy all 12 if we could, by the way, but it’s just not financially possible, particularly given that this entire transaction is meant ultimately to bring us another child which will ratchet up our expenses even further. And for those of you surprised at the cost of donor sperm, this is actually somewhat of a bargain, as we’re buying it at the original price the other family paid several years back. The cost of similar vials today bought directly from the bank would be more than 10% higher – and they’re not the most expensive vials out there by a considerable sum!

So we crunched our budget, settled on 7 vials, and began to work out the complex logistics of the sale. Again, because we aren’t on record as purchasers with the bank, the bank won’t just ship them to us. They wanted to charge somewhere between $300-$500 to open an account for us (every time we called we got a different number) so that they could put our name on a FedEx form and ship them to our RE. They’d also charge us for three months of storage even though they’d only be “stored” in our name for seconds (ok, maybe minutes or DAYS, tops). Me being me, I couldn’t stomach that, and went through weeks of machinations trying to figure out a solution. The simplest answer was to have the bank ship them to our RE in the other family’s name, but given our clinic’s ability to mis-handle sperm with our name clearly on it, I was a bit hesitant. However, in the end, that was the best option we could come up with so we are giving it a try.

Then we get to the part where we are contemplating sending huge sums of money to people we have never met, on pure faith. While it seems a huge amount of effort to try and scam people out of money using the DSR, stranger things have happened. I was not comfortable sending a check to people I don’t know (who happen to be in another country, just to make this even MORE complicated) on the assumption that they will follow through. A friend suggested using an escrow service, and that seemed like a fantastic solution.

And then I realized that I wasn’t 100% sure that reselling sperm is legal, so I tried to be somewhat vague in my description of the “product” but the escrow company is refusing to process the payment without a more detailed description. I just bit the bullet and sent them a complete description, so cross your fingers that they will let it go through.

As to the finite nature of our conception process, no, sperm is not a limited resource (although in our circumstances it is rather a pricey one) and we don’t have a problem with having kids with different donors. The issue is financial – if we haven’t succeeded after 8 more attempts (the last one being IVF and god only knows how we’d pay for that) there won’t be any more money to buy ANYBODY’S sperm. So who knows what or how we’d approach things at that point. I just hope we never have to find out.



  1. too bad they don’t have a paypal account set up.

    You could also send them a “deposit” and the remainder when your RE gets the sperm…

    Just a thought.

  2. wow- what a process! When will you hear back from the escrow place?

    This is all pretty exciting tho! I am so glad that you found the sperm from the same donor that helped make Nat. She is amazing in every way!

  3. They do have a defunct paypal account, but the fees on a $3000 transaction would be really, really big. Plus, it doesn’t offer us any protection in the way an escrow service will.

    The escrow company will not allow us to pay by credit card, but they will accept a wire transfer. I am vaguely familiar with the concept but have never done such a thing. Should be interesting.

  4. I am eager to hear about this transaction as it unfolds! This is a great story to tell baby #2 . . .

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