We'll start off with types of male genetic donors. There are Known and Unknown donors. Each will take you down a seperate path in hopes of achieving the same result, a baby. Now of course I don't know everything about everything, so I will try to keep it simple with what I do know.
A known donor would be someone that you know/meet in real life. Since this is not the path that I'm taking, I don't have first hand knowledge of how it all works. Here's what I get from it though. This guy could be anyone from a lifelong friend who would like to help you achieve your dream of becoming a mom to finding a donor ad on craigslist or facebook. Your TTC adventure could look like mine, by having the donor tested and having donations go through the same process an unknown donor (cryolab/bank) and having a doctor/nurse perform an IUI. The donor could give you "fresh" donation, and you could attempt the "turkey baster" method (though they have actual kits to use). Right down to the old fashioned way of conceiving a child.
I do know that this method can be a little trickier legally. Drawing up and signing documents, especially if you plan to be a single mom by choice and not co-parenting a child. Then I've hear discussions on whether these documents would even hold up in court should the donor decide that they want to become involved in the child's life. There would also be the decision on how the donor would be part of the child's life, their role, and how to explain the donor relationship to your child. Or how you deal with things should the donor decide against actually being the donor once you are ready to TTC.
I know I'm really glossing over things here, and I don't know personally (or if I do, they haven't told me) anyone who has gone this route. Things may be way more easy than I'm alluding to here, or for some what I have laid out here is an oversimplification of what they have gone through.
An unknown donor, and what I did/would continue to use, is someone that you don't know. These are men who donate, after going through what should be a very thorough process to even be accepted by a cryogenic lab (sperm bank), let alone more tests ran to ensure they are a healthy specimen ;) They have signed papers saying that they do not want to father any offspring that may result from using their genetic material. Then I sign papers. Heck, I had to sign the papers before having the IUI saying that I would't return any child that may result from said IUI to the RE's office, that they are mine. Basically, it's all legal, you are the child's only legal parent (or parents if you are a couple and not a single lady.) (Sorry if you now have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. If you don't know what I'm referencing, then you don't have a song stuck in your head :) )
There are many cryogenic labs, that a simple google search alone will bring up. Each lab is different. From what genetic tests they do, to what types of information they have for their donors, to prices, to family limits, to. . .you name it.
How about we save all that good stuff for another installment though? Though I think our next installment I'll touch on Anonymous vs Willing to be Known donors.
*I hope this was a wee bit informative and helpful to understanding just how complicated it can all get. I'm just writing from what I remember reading and listening about.*