Today sperm banks create possibilities for famiy planning unimagined 20 years ago.One in seven married couples,as well as single women who want to have children,can turn to a sperm bank for semen from an anonymous donor.The worlds largest sperm bank pays it donors(often medical students) $25 for each specimen deposited. It charges its clients $200 to $425 plus packing and shipping for each specimen ordered. A woman may need to be inseminated several times before a pregnancy results.For those cosidering artificial insemination,the first step is selecting a doctor they really trust.The doctor then coordinates with the sperm bank and performs the artificial insemination.Some sperm banks are not subject to federal regulation,and state laws vary widely. Since many physicians are unaware of the disparity between various facilities, itis inportant to know what to look for in a sperm bank. Does the bank have a full-time medical director,and he is a pathologist? Is there an affiliation with a university or hospial? Is the bank a member of the America Association of Tissue Banks? Does it follow the recommendation of the associations Reproductive Council? How are the donors screened? A complete physical description, personal and genetic histories, medical evaluation and lboratory analysis of the semen should be standard.The donor should be tested for such things as genetic disorders,damage resulting from environmental conditions, diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis, and sperm count and motility(ability to move) Some sperm banks subject a donors semen to more then 40 different tests,far more then the averge blood donor would undergo. Will you or your doctor receive a detailed description of the donor, including general information about his education, background and interests? Some banks supply only-limited informtion that is of question-able accuracy.Although donor anonymity should be scrupulousy maintained,is there a coding system that allows you to see whether sperm from the same donor will be availale if you decide to have a second child? What is the banks minimum accepable sperm count?The average sperm count is just over 50 million motile sperm per milliliter.Banks vary in their criteria,and donor sperm may contain from 65 million to more then 100 million sperm per milliliter.Some men arrange for long-term storage of semen before a vasectomy,chemothrapy,exposure to hazardous waste or numerous other situations. Essentially they are purchasing fertility insurance,putting aside a deposit of sperm on the chance that they may want to father a child at a time when they are no longer fertile.Pregnancies have resulted from sperm that was stored for more than 20 years. A complete deposit of three to five cubic centimeters of semen may take two to three days of abstinence to accumulate. That is how a sperm bank works.