I was sitting at my local Starbucks enjoying a low-fat Grande Chocolate Creme White Java Chip Frappuccino, when I came across an interesting headline in the paper:
“Fertility clinics are facing a “national crisis” because of a shortage of sperm donors,” say experts.
Based partly on a sense of heart-felt humanitarianism and partly on how much I just paid for my drink, the article piqued my interest. This could be the beginning of a whole new career. After all, I already have years of experience, it doesn’t require a special degree and I wouldn’t mind putting in overtime, practicing. The only drawback as far as I could tell, was telling people that I have a career that revolves entirely around masturbation. Nevertheless, I decided to look into it.
I made a few calls just to see what I’d be getting myself into, should I decide to make this life-changing career move. Granted, my current job is boring but it does provide business cards, an expense account, mileage, a monthly uniform allowance, health care benefits and two weeks of vacation; things I’m sure aren’t included in being a “freelance” sperm donor.
The first step toward financial freedom as a donor is to find a reputable sperm bank to do business with; sort of like finding the right agent. Sperm banks take care of all of the donor screening, specimen collections as well as “banking” sperm for future use. This isn’t as easy as opening a new saving account at Citibank, but with the resources on the Internet, it’s not that difficult, either.
Because I live in a remote area of Colorado, the closest sperm bank that I found was CryoGam Colorado, LLC in Loveland. They had a very professional web page that provided straightforward information on the entire process.
To be eligible to be a sperm donor, men need to be between 18 and 35 years old’s, in good physical health, free from all of the usual diseases (HIV, AIDS, STD’s, genital warts, herpes, Ebola, leprosy, typhus, cholera, tuberculosis, dysentery, Grocer’s Itch, scurvy, ringworm, etc.), and be able to provide a complete physical history of their family, going back as far as the 14th century. Most sperm banks also require that you either be a college graduate or attending college; preferably a Doctorate program from an Ivy League school. Since I have an MFA in Comparative Ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts, I felt that my educational background would be more than adequate.
After you’ve completed all of the paperwork and returned it in a plain, brown envelope, it’s time to make your first preliminary “deposit.”
Before you’re considered a card-carrying sperm donor, you’re required to make a series of three “introductory offers” to test your sperm for viability, so its off to the Masturbatorium, you go. Specifically, they’re looking for sperm count, motility (how fast your boys can swim), how well they freeze and thaw and morphology, or general characteristics. I was informed that only 20-50% of all applicants get past the first audition: odds just a little better than landing a starring role on Broadway.
Assuming that you’re asked back for a second audition, you’ll need to volunteer a second and third sample; the operative word being “volunteer”. So, its off to the Masturbatorium again. Up to this point, you’re still not being paid for your service to the community. The tough part is accepting the basic rules of donating, should you be selected: you’re not allowed to make any “unauthorized withdrawals” for anyone, including yourself, at least three to five days prior to each donation. Hmmm…
Next, is the physical examination. During this phase, donors are poked and prodded for ABO-Rh blood typing, complete blood count (CBC), full chemistry panel, cystic fibrosis carrier screening, semen analysis, sickle cell carrier testing, Tay-Sachs carrier testing and a urinalysis. If you’re lucky enough to make the cut, you are rewarded by more tests for ALT, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis . Lucky you.
After successfully passing the physical examination and health history, you are ready to take the final step: signing the contract. This isn’t as important as getting your first record deal, but almost.
As an active member of “Wankers Anonymous,” you’ll be required to agree to a number of specific guidelines and requests; after all this is a business. These include agreeing that you have absolutely no legal responsibility to any child that is conceived from your sperm, you have no rights to the child and that you will remain anonymous.
Most programs also require a commitment from you for six months to three years; I got a better deal from my Naval recruiter. And finally, you will not be able to provide more than 10 children from your sperm, although there have been a number of cases to contest this. One donor was refuted to have provided sperm for more than 450 children. He was a professional, though with years of experience. Many states have strict laws governing consanguinity.
Finally, the matter about money. Although arrangements vary from one sperm bank to the next, you can usually count on “earning” around $50.00 per specimen, plus $5.00 for each vial that is taken from your specimen. Since most specimens yield 10-14 vials per specimen, you could make as much as $200.00 per specimen. Of course, this is before taxes, so don’t forget to make arrangements with the IRS. You’re working as an “independent contractor.”
After I finished evaluating all of the requirements, I ultimately decided to keep my daytime job and pass on the opportunity. I like being able to take liberties with myself, based on my own schedule.