Sex + Dating

Things You Should Know Before Donating Sperm


Most men, whether they'll admit it or not, have at least pondered becoming a sperm donor. After all, when money's tight, it's hard not to be tempted to get paid, and paid well, for doing something you're already doing on the all-too-regular. However, qualifying as a candidate requires a lot more than just a dexterous wrist and a Y chromosome. In fact, most guys have no clue how complex and selective the screening process is, not to mention what to prepare for when you become the anonymous father to dozens of children.

We surveyed the practices of Cryos International, the world's largest sperm bank, to put together the essentials for you. Because for something this potentially life-altering, there's only one thing you should be doing solo.


Don’t bother if you’re old, short, out of shape, or otherwise less than perfect

The cruel reality is that sperm banks are only in the market for man jam from the types of guys that potential parents would want contributing their DNA. So, if you’re not a near-perfect physical and mental specimen under the age of 44, yours isn’t going to be picked.  Also, if you’re a redhead you may be even denied from the get-go. And don’t think your hidden flaws will go unnoticed, because…

You’ll undergo a thorough pre-screening before you arrive

Before you even step foot inside the sperm bank, you’ll need to make it through the online application process. It covers everything from family medical history, to your sexual exploits, drinking habits, and number of tattoos. One wrong answer on the questionnaire and you’re out of the running. 

Your first donation is just a test

Once you’ve passed the initial screening phase, the bank will bring you in to deposit a specimen in order to judge it’s quality. Only if it meets their count standards will you move forward in the process. Pro-tip: eat these foods to boost your sperm count and improve your odds of approval.


You will be medically examined. Twice.

Once your specimen has been determined of acceptable quality, the bank will schedule a soup-to-nuts (!) medical exam to ensure you’re in excellent health. They will screen for all manner of STDs, genetic diseases, and even chromosomal abnormalities. If you pass, you’ll be asked to deposit a series of samples, which will go into cryogenic quarantine for six months. At the end of the six months you’ll be examined and tested again, as some diseases (like HIV) can take up to that long to be detected.

Your future kids could easily find you, even if you donate anonymously 

Once you’re a qualified candidate you have to decide whether you want to be an anonymous or “open” donor, the latter meaning that you’re comfortable with any children you father learning your identity once they turn 18. However, thanks to advanced genetic and DNA testing, it’s pretty simple to track down the identity of any anonymous donor, too. Surely your future spouse will love answering that knock at the door.

It will definitely affect your sex life

In order to ensure the highest sperm count, you’ll be asked to refrain from ejaculating at all for two to three days before you make any of your deposits, which you will likely be doing on a weekly basis. So you'll need to coordinate the times you're having sex (with or without a partner) with your "work" schedule.


Be prepared to submit your whole life's story

Should you choose to flesh out an extended profile (which, like non-anonymous donations, comes with a substantially more lucrative payday), you’ll need to include a bundle of info that paints a comprehensive picture of “you.” Beyond the basics (education, profession, physical traits, etc.), this means baby and childhood photos, audio recordings of your voice, a handwritten greeting, an EQ test and more.

You could become a father for the first time decades after your last donation

Sperm can be frozen indefinitely, though most banks will likely use it, if at all, within a dozen years of its donation. Not always, though.

You are contractually obligated to masturbate up to twice a week

That’s right. If you make it through and decide to donate, you’ll need to meet their minimum donation schedule in order to get paid. And to think, you've been unknowingly abiding by that same contract—and then some—since you were 15.

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Joe McGauley is a senior editor for Thrillist Media Group, and childless as far as he knows.