Sperm Donor Pay Rates & Qualifications (+ Sperm Bank Locations Listed)

Short Answer: Clinics and sperm banks have strict requirements for sperm donors, ranging from age and height regulations to minimum educational requirements. Additionally, there is an intensive family medical history and health screening process for potential donors. Once accepted, a donor’s sperm will have to survive a freezing and thawing test, then the donor can be signed on for a long-term donation contract. Payments are typically between $50 and $125 for each acceptable sample, up to about $1,500 per month. For more about payment and the qualification process for donating sperm, see below.

Pay Rates for Sperm Donation

Sperm donors can typically expect to be paid between $50 and $125 per acceptable sample of sperm. However, donors are generally not permitted to donate just once. Most sperm banks have donors sign an agreement that requires them to donate one to three times per week for a predetermined period (usually six to 12 months). Since clinics must spend quite a bit of money on each applicant in terms of blood tests and health screenings, they try to get the highest possible return on investment by issuing long-term contracts.

With donations multiple times per week, some men make up to $1,500 per month. Certain desirable traits, such as having a doctorate degree, can earn donors higher payments. Donors are typically paid by check or cash, either once a month or every other week. Some sperm banks may offer partial pay in cash upfront, then pay the rest after the sperm is analyzed. The money made from sperm donations is considered taxable income, so most clinics will send you a 1099 form if necessary.

Other Incentives

Some sperm banks offer additional benefits and incentives, such as periodic gift certificates, movie tickets, etc. Some offer compensation for travel costs on a case-by-case basis, and some may offer a small stipend at the completion of a contract. Extra incentives are often related to additional time and effort on the part of the donor, such as providing a baby photo, referring other donors, or participating in an exit blood test. Additionally, all sperm banks offer regular blood, urine, and physical exams to donors at no charge.

Six-Month Freezing Period

An important factor in whether or not a person can donate sperm is if the sperm can withstand freezing for an extended period of time, and subsequent thawing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that a donor’s initial samples must be frozen for six months and survive thawing before the person can be considered an eligible long-term donor. Sperm banks cannot add donor’s sperm to their catalog of specimens ready for sale until after this period. Some banks may choose not to pay donors during this time, and may instead provide back pay after the initial samples are proven viable.

Most sperm banks, though, will enter into a contract with a donor who passes all initial screenings and allow him to begin making regular deposits (and receive payment) right away. However, if the initial samples don’t survive the freezing process, the bank will terminate the contract. Note that donors will only be paid for viable specimens.

Sperm Donor Requirements

The requirements to be a sperm donor are strict, and most are imposed by the FDA. While some organizations have more specific requirements (listed with each bank below), men must generally meet the following requirements to be considered for donation:

  • Between 18 and 40 years of age
  • Minimum height between five feet seven inches and five feet nine inches
  • Must have a post-secondary education, or be enrolled in a four-year university at the time of donation
  • Must not use drugs or tobacco products
  • Must have a clean personal and family medical history
  • Must be legally allowed to work in the U.S.
  • Any sexual partners must be exclusively female for the past five years
  • Must be willing to abstain from sex for 48 hours prior to each donation
  • Must live close to the clinic location (usually within 25 miles)

How the Donor Qualification Process Works

To ensure the safety of potential parents purchasing sperm, banks are extremely particular about who they allow to donate. When you apply to be a donor, you will be required to complete the following:

  • Preliminary application with basic personal information
  • In-depth personal questionnaire; potential topics include hobbies, talents, educational background, recent travel, and sexual history
  • Thorough family medical history questionnaire (as far back as four generations)
  • Physical health examination
  • In-person interview
  • Blood test
  • Initial unpaid sperm sample (analyzed for sperm count and motility)

The screening process typically takes one to three weeks. If you pass all screenings and the initial sample meets sperm count and motility requirements, you may be signed on as a donor. As noted above, if the sperm cannot survive long-term freezing, the sperm bank will likely void your contract.

Once you enter into the long-term contract, you’ll be expected to donate one to three times per week. Most clinics will continue spot-checking the sperm count, and if it falls below the desirable range, they may prescribe a certain diet or regimen to increase the count. If the counts consistently register low, you may not receive payment for those samples.

Most clinics will also require donors to abstain from sex for 48 to 72 hours prior to donating in order to keep sperm counts high; exact requirements will be noted in the contract. Once at the clinic, the entire donation process typically takes between 15 and 45 minutes, and men are provided with private rooms and sterile containers.

Anonymity

The default policy of most sperm donation organizations is anonymity. In most cases, the recipients will not receive identifying details about the sperm donor. However, many clinics offer an “open donor” program, also known as a Willing To Be Known (WTBK) option. Under this program, a child that was conceived with donated sperm has the option to request contact with their biological father when they turn 18 (or 16, in some cases). Only the child is allowed to initiate this contact, not the parents. Exact policies vary by clinic.

If you are concerned about the discretion of sperm banks, note that the clinics are rarely standalone buildings, and they usually do not have any signage that explicitly identifies them as sperm banks. If the clinic needs to contact you, it will typically be discreet when leaving voicemail messages or sending anything in the mail.

Major Sperm Banks in the United States

There are several major sperm banks across the country, and while most adhere to the general FDA requirements, some have even stricter regulations for donors. To help you determine if it’s worth starting an application, we’ve listed the basic details about some of the top sperm donation centers in the United States, including each sperm bank’s core requirements and available compensation information. If none of the clinics listed below have locations near you, there may be smaller, regional sperm banks in your area.

California Cryobank

  • Age: Between 19 and 38 years old
  • Height: At least 5’9″
  • Minimum education level: Donors must hold at least a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled in a four-year university
  • Where the clinic has locations: Los Angeles, CA; Los Altos, CA; Houston, TX; Cambridge, MA; New York, NY
  • Minimum time commitment: Donors are expected to participate for nine to 12 months with at least one donation per week, but more donations are encouraged
  • How much donors are paid: Up to $1,500 per month
  • Source: California Cryobank’s FAQs page.

CryoGam Colorado

  • Age: Between 18 and 35 years old
  • Height: Not disclosed online
  • Minimum education level: Donors must be a college graduate or currently enrolled in college
  • Where the clinic has locations: Loveland, CO; Denver, CO; Boulder, CO
  • Minimum time commitment: Donors are expected to participate for six to 12 months with at least one donation per week
  • How much donors are paid: Not disclosed online
  • Source: ryoGam Colorado’s Become a Donor page.

Cryos USA

  • Age: Between 18 and 44 years old
  • Height: 5’9” tall for most donors (5’6” for donors of Latino descent and 5’4” for donors of Asian descent)
  • Minimum education level: Donors must be college-educated professionals, students pursuing a degree or certificate beyond high school, or in a successful, long-term career (i.e. civil service, trade specialty)
  • Where the clinic has locations: Orlando, FL
  • Minimum time commitment: Donors are expected to participate for a minimum of 90 days with at least one donation per week
  • How much donors are paid: Cryos states that the payment amount is calculated on the basis of sperm quality and volume together with certain bonus amounts. Therefore, the amount paid will vary.
  • Source: Cryos USA’s Become a Sperm Donor page.

Fairfax Cryobank

  • Age: Between 18 and 39 years old
  • Height: Not disclosed online
  • Minimum education level: College-educated professional
  • Where the clinic has locations: Austin, TX; Fairfax, VA; Houston, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Roseville, MN
  • Minimum time commitment: At least three to six months
  • How much donors are paid: The average donor earns $4,000 in a six-month period, although some will make more based on a healthy lifestyle and optimal abstinence hours. Only applicants that are fully accepted into the program are compensated.
  • Source: BeASpermDonor website, associated with Fairfax Cryobank, the Genetics & IVF Institute, and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc.

Manhattan Cryobank

  • Age: Between 18 and 39 years old
  • Height: Not disclosed online
  • Minimum education level: Not disclosed online; website only says donors must be “educated”
  • Where the clinic has locations: New York, NY
  • Minimum time commitment: Not disclosed online
  • How much donors are paid: Up to $1,500 per month
  • Source: Manhattan Cryobank website.

New England Cryogenic Center

  • Age: Between 18 and 38 years old
  • Height: 5’8” to 6’6”
  • Minimum education level: Donors must be a college student or graduate, a technical or trade school student or graduate, or military
  • Where the clinic has locations: Brookline, MA
  • Minimum time commitment: Minimum 12-month commitment with at least one donation per week. Months need not be consecutive.
  • How much donors are paid: Donors are paid $100 per viable specimen.
  • Source: New England Cryogenic Center’s Become a Sperm Donor page.

NW Cryobank

  • Age: Between 18 and 35 years old
  • Height: At least 5’10”
  • Minimum education level: Post-secondary education (college, vocational or technical)
  • Where the clinic has locations: Spokane, WA; Pullman, WA; Missoula, MT
  • Minimum time commitment: Six to 12 months with donations two to three times per week
  • How much donors are paid: Up to $1,000 per month
  • Source: NW Cryobank Sperm Donation page.

Pacific Reproductive Services

  • Age: Between 19 and 36
  • Height: At least 5’8″
  • Minimum education level: Preferred donors are registered college students or graduates, or — whether in training or on the job — a police officer, firefighter or EMT
  • Where the clinic has locations: Pasadena, CA; San Francisco, CA
  • Minimum time commitment: Nine months, with at least one donation per week
  • How much donors are paid: $300 signing bonus and another $200 when the program is completed; $100 per acceptable donation
  • Source: Pacific Reproductive Services’ How to Become a PRS Donor page.

Phoenix Sperm Bank

  • Age: Between 18 and 39 years old
  • Height: None specified
  • Minimum education level: None specified
  • Where the clinic has locations: Tempe, AZ
  • Minimum time commitment: None specified
  • How much donors are paid: $70 per sample; $50 cash is paid at the time of donation, and $20 is paid after the sample is analyzed. If sperm count is low, the remaining $20 will not be paid. Healthy men can make up to $1,000 per month.
  • Source: Phoenix Sperm Bank’s FAQs page.

Seattle Sperm Bank

  • Age: Between 18 and 39 years old
  • Height: No height requirements
  • Minimum education level: No education requirements
  • Where the clinic has locations: Seattle, WA
  • Minimum time commitment: One year with donations at least once per week
  • How much donors are paid: $70 per donation ($50 immediately and $20 after the sample has been analyzed); maximum of three donations per week.
  • Source: Seattle Sperm Bank’s FAQs page (not all the information was available on the website; we used the customer service chat to verify requirements)

The Sperm Bank of California

  • Age: Between 20 and 39 years old
  • Height: At least 5’7″
  • Minimum education level: Donors must have completed or be currently pursuing a college degree.
  • Where the clinic has locations: Berkeley, CA
  • Minimum time commitment: Six- to 12-month commitment
  • How much donors are paid: $125 for each acceptable sperm sample. Most donors donate once per week and earn $400-$600/month. Donors can earn an additional $100 for providing a childhood photo of themselves and $500 if they complete the exit blood test.
  • Source: The Sperm Bank of California website.

Xytex

  • Age: Between 18 and 38 years old
  • Height: Not disclosed online
  • Minimum education level: Donors must have a college degree or be currently enrolled in college.
  • Where the clinic has locations: Atlanta, GA; Augusta, GA; New Brunswick, NJ
  • Minimum time commitment: One year, with at least one donation per week
  • How much donors are paid: Not disclosed online
  • Source: Xytex’s Become A Donor page.

In Summary

With a long-term contract, sperm donors can expect to earn between $50 and $125 per viable donation, or up to $1000 or more per month. The physical health, education, and sexual history requirements are strict for potential donors, and the testing process is rigorous. If you are accepted as a sperm donor, you can expect the clinic to uphold your anonymity and practice discretion.

For more about donating reproductive tissue, we explain the process and compensation for egg donation.