How We Chose Our Sperm Donor: Navigating IUI as a Same Sex Couple

How We Chose Our Sperm Donor: 
Navigating IUI as a Same Sex Couple

If I had a dime for every time I opened a blog post with the phrase: “I get asked this question all the time, so I thought I’d write a post about it….” Well, then I probably wouldn’t need to be blogging at all because I’d be filthy rich already!


But also, seriously, my wife and I really do get asked this question all the time:

“How did you choose your sperm donor?”

I get it, the process of making a baby in a fertility clinic is definitely different from good ‘ole fashioned sex. So people naturally have a lot of questions about how it works. I will say that while this question doesn’t offend me in the slightest, I do know that some people find it pretty intrusive. I only mention this so that you can be mindful about who you ask, and how you ask it. If it’s your best friend, they probably won’t care. If it’s a stranger on the internet, they might. Just keep that in mind 🙂

Like I said, I personally am not bothered by this question, which is probably why I’m writing a whole blog post about it! Plus, I’m hoping it can provide a little insight into how it all works so you can understand what your queer friends are going through when they’re trying to expand their families with babies. 

Remember, this process looks different for everyone, so our preferences, needs, and wants might be a whole lot different than yours. And that’s okay.

How We Chose Our Sperm Donor: 
Navigating IUI as a Same Sex Couple

How We Chose Our Sperm Donor

Choosing a Sperm Donor You Know Versus an Anonymous Sperm Donor 

I still can’t believe we were fortunate enough to have TWO fabulous men that we absolutely adore offer to donate their sperm to us. If you’re in the process of finding a sperm donor, then you’ll know that buying sperm is NOT cheap. In fact, it’s about $1,200 a vial. 


Even with incredible insurance, the cost of the sperm is not covered in the slightest. Which means you’re looking at a few thousand dollars out of pocket for freaking SPERM. The reality is that it doesn’t work in the first round for a lot of people. So you’ll definitely want to buy more than one vial. Plus, if you know you want more than one child, and you want both kids to be related, then you’ll want some back up for when that time comes, too. 

In the end, we bought 7 vials of sperm from one donor, because we wanted to make sure we had enough. And we wanted our future kids to have the same DNA. You do the math. That’s a lot of money out of pocket before you even start the process. 

I think it’s pretty obvious that many queer couples choose to ask someone they know to donate their sperm instead of buying it, because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. However, it’s still not totally *free* if you plan on having the sperm tested, washed, and stored. The only way it’s free is if you don’t go the fertility route, and shoot it up at home. 


Now, what I say next might shock some people. Because I know it actually shocked me when I first heard it. Once it settled in, I understood why some people would choose this option (while still not wanting to go down this road myself). 

Okay, so clearly if two women are trying to make a baby, one of them won’t be genetically related to the child. Even if one woman carries the second woman’s eggs, the womb doesn’t provide genes to the child. This is why some people choose to use the eggs from one of the women. And the sperm of the other woman’s brother or relative. In this case, you clearly couldn’t go the anonymous sperm donor route.

Family dynamics vary so much from family to family. So all I’ll say here is that it’s really important to have clear boundaries of roles going into all of this. I’m a big fan of contracts, even for family. So I’d definitely still get everything in writing just to make it crystal clear. 


Piggybacking off of the last point, it’s vital that couple’s agree on specific parenting roles in their future child’s life. Alix and I agreed that we didn’t want whoever the donor was. Whether we knew them or not, to be the kid’s “father” just because they biologically were. We don’t want to co-parent with three people. Simple as that. 

I know there’s plenty of people who feel exactly the opposite, and that’s great! One of our good friends co-parents with three people, and it works really well for them. Even in witnessing the health and true abundance of their beautiful family, Alix and I still feel clear in our decision to co-parent between the two of us. 

Of course this doesn’t mean we won’t have help from friends and family. It does take a village, after all. But there’s a big difference in my parents being hands-on active grandparents, and another person making parental decisions. 


As I said previously, I’m a big fan of contracts. Contracts are clear boundaries. While you can certainly draw up a contract with a sperm donor that you know, Alix and I personally felt safer going the anonymous route. Safety occurs within boundaries. 

Is it possible to donate sperm to your friend, and maintain the same relationship?

This thought was going through my head on repeat after the first person offered his sperm to us. Because, here’s the thing, he’s perfect on the outside and the inside. Truly. But at the end of the day, I had this gut feeling that even if he signed on the dotted line, the boundary would shift between us. 

What would it be like seeing this person with our baby in tow? 

How would he respond emotionally at the site of a child that he’s biologically connected to?

There’s a big difference between a guy going to a sperm bank to get a little extra money in college, doing the damn thing, and then going on his merry way without ever knowing who or where his little swimmers went- to someone that you have an actual friendship with, and see on a yearly basis. 

This, of course, looks different for everyone. And some people wouldn’t mind the potential shift in boundaries. Alix and I, however, wanted to have the reassurance that we wouldn’t be managing the emotional state of this friendship alongside an infant. 

Future Conversations

This one is tricky no matter which way you slice it. Regardless of how you choose your sperm donor, your children are inevitably going to want to know who their donor is. While it’s way too early for us to know how to navigate those specific conversations just yet, we still needed to imagine how they might go. 

Would the child feel betrayed if they found out their favorite “uncle” was actually their biological father, or would they love that?

Would the child be hurt to know the donor didn’t want anything to do with them, and to remain private?

We don’t have the right answer here, simply because we don’t know the child yet. And this will really depend on their specific personality. What we do know is how we’ll feel when that situation arises. Meaning, if they found out their fun uncle was our donor, and then asked to stay at their house anytime they were mad at us- we’d be hurt. We don’t want to share our kids with another parent, and that’s just the selfish truth of it. 

Quality and Safety

A huge component of buying sperm from a sperm bank, compared to accepting it from a friend or family member, is that the sperm from the bank has already been washed, tested, and approved for IUI or IVF. It’s important to note that not all sperm is created equal. And even within the banks, there are different qualities of sperm. Meaning, not all of it is available for IVF or IUI. 

So, even if you have that magical human offering his sperm to help grow your family, just know that it might not actually be the best fit for you. I’d highly suggest for the person whose eggs will be fertilized to get genetic testing. And also to get the sperm tested if you get it from a loved one. Sperm banks will already provide the genetic testing results of all sperm available for purchase. 

Same Sex Couple IUI

What To Consider When Choosing Your Sperm Donor

Whether you’re leaning towards anon sperm, or a donation from someone you know and love- there’s 3 main considerations to keep in mind when you’re deciding. 


Look, I get that this might not matter to everyone. And I’m not just talking about wanting the kid to be attractive, ok? I’m talking about the way they look in relation to you both as their parents. Alix and I wanted to create a little angel baby that might actually look like they were biologically connected to us both. This felt important to us, while I can understand how it’s not at all important to other people. 

Health and Genetics

After getting my genetics tested, we were able to select a donor that didn’t have any of the same mutations as I do for added peace of mind. That’s not to say that there couldn’t be other things that pop up. Because you never know what curveballs life will throw. But it did feel like a little jump start. Plus, by buying sperm at a bank, we’re also able to look into the health history of their family, as well. 

Personality and Interests

This sounds so silly, but I guess this just gives you an idea of my wife and I: we loved that our donor is also a Pisces who works in finance. We joke that he’s basically Alix in a dude’s body, because of it. Ok, but seriously, we weren’t scouring sperm banks for only Pisces men by any means. But it was this little added bonus that we thought was kind of fun and cool. Astrology does make up our personalities, after all, and we both love a watery human. 

Choosing the sperm is really just the beginning of the fertility journey for same sex couples. Make sure to read my post on how the IUI process works if that’s the route you’re going down with your partner. I’m here to be your virtual bestie holding your hand along the way. Because I know this path can be a bumpy one. 

I’m with you. 

You’ve got this, my friends. 



How We Chose Our Sperm Donor
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