Shipping Dollars and Sense: A Recipient's Guide to Shipping Sperm

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Shipping sperm can be an effective way of working with a known donor, and not as expensive as a sperm bank. However, it requires that the donor be well educated on how to properly prepare and pack sperm, and the use of the right kinds of shipping methods.

Who pays for the shipping supplies?

It's generally accepted that the recipient is responsible for covering the cost of shipping supplies and overnight delivery.
The most important thing to realize is that you (the recipient) can pay for all the costs of shipping directly. It is never necessary to send money to your donor. Covering the costs yourself makes good financial sense, and it will reduce your risk of being taken advantage of, intentionally or unintentionally.

What does the recipient pay for?

There are two costs associated with shipping sperm:

  • The donation kit, which is ordered online or on the phone, and drop-shipped to your donor. you can pay for the cost of the kit and that shipping fee, directly to the seller of the kit.
  • The costs of overnight shipping (FedEx, UPS, etc). you can easily set up an account at the courier's website and have your donor charge the shipping costs to your account, so they show up on your credit card.

How much does it cost?

Here are some cost numbers for a few typical options.

Notes: the shipping costs are approximate, and assume shipping within the continental US, so check with your courier company to be sure. Kit costs below are from

Single insemination

  • Recipient pays for shipping kit: $60 (for single-vial kit) + $60 (drop-shipping to donor)
  • Recipient pays for donation shipment: $60
  • Total cost to recipient: $180
  • Cost per insemination: $180

Two inseminations in the same month

  • All costs from the previous example double, since you're buying two kits
  • Total cost to recipient: $360
  • Cost per insemination: $180

Two inseminations in two months (one per month)

  • Recipient pays for shipping kit: $100 (for four-vial kit) + $60 (drop-shipping to donor)
  • Recipient pays for first donation shipment: $60
  • Recipient pays for second donation shipment: $60
  • Total cost to recipient: $280
  • Cost per insemination: $140

Five inseminations in five months (one per month)

  • Recipient pays for shipping kit: $100 (for five-vial kit) + $60 (drop-shipping to donor)
  • Recipient pays for first donation shipment: $60
  • Recipient pays for second donation shipment: $60
  • Recipient pays for third donation shipment: $60
  • Recipient pays for fourth donation shipment: $60
  • Recipient pays for fifth donation shipment: $60
  • Total cost to recipient: $460
  • Cost per insemination: $92

Some things to keep in mind:

Ask your donor if he has extra shipping supplies

An experienced shipping donor might have some extra supplies lying around, like shipping containers and maybe even some TYB vials left over from other recipients who didn't need them. Check with your donor if this is true. If he owns them himself and if he's willing to provide them to you, then it might save you some money. However – make sure he actually owns the supplies and they are not the property of another recipient! Obviously, a donor should never charge for items that has left over that someone else paid for.

Again, it should not be necessary to send money directly to your donor.

Reimbursing a donor for shipping supplies he has purchased

In some cases an experienced shipping donor might buy donation kits himself to make things easier for his recipients. If he offers to sell you a kit that he purchased, make sure to ask for the receipt BEFORE you send any money. You want to make sure the kits are purchased from a reputable source and that you are not asked to pay more than the cost of the supplies plus shipping.

Please be careful in this case, and remember that you're basically sending cash to a stranger you met over the Internet.

Shipping empty container back to your donor

There is a small extra charge each month that isn't mentioned above: the cost of sending the empty shipping container back to your donor for the next attempt. If the insemination does not result in pregnancy, then you would send the container back to him via parcel post or FedEx/UPS Ground. It will get to him 8-10 days later, in plenty of time for the next try. This allows you to use a slower delivery service, so it should only cost $10-$15 or so each time.

User reviews

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5.0  (1)
Good breakdown... but...
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This is a pretty good breakdown of costs, but it should be kept in mind that $60 for shipping is an optimistic figure, and shipping across the country overnight can easily be $100, and both the major carriers charge extra for saturday delivery, residential delivery, pickup from the donor for the shipment (you can't assume that a donor should have to go out of his way for shipment if UPS isn't close by), extra cost for more weight for ice packs in the summer, etc etc. Some donors also don't give out their home address for privacy reasons and set up a post office box. That is an extra costs that has to be factored in, as well as the various other charges for fuel, beakers, sperm friendly lube (let's be real here), and of course this makes no provision for a donor's time, but that is understandable as that is a debatable issue.

As such, I just have a flat cost myself per donation, and sometimes I lose a little, and sometimes I make it back, but overall it ends up *almost* break even. A little loss is fine as this is for a good cause, but a recipient nit picking over this stuff to get me to shave off on the amount makes me just ignore them and move on. I think it is great that you provided such a break down on costs so that people see there is costs to pay for in this. Thank you!
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