Let's talk about sperm banks and private donors

Jayne B. Stearns

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The pandemic has created several types of shortages since it first infected our country back in February 2020. The frantic rush to buy paper towels, toilet paper, and other necessary items at the beginning of the virus left many supermarket shelves bare for months. Hand sanitizer was a rare commodity. And you couldn't find an N95 mask anywhere, even if your life depended upon it, and, for some, it did.

Yet, there was and still is another commodity shortage that few mention or are aware of: sperm.

Yes, that's right. Sperm. But, let's face it, it's not something you talk about over cocktails or while waiting in line at the pharmacy.

Those prolonged periods home either quarantined, working remotely, or obeying COVID social distancing rules, left many with lots more time on their hands but fewer things to do. Like a naughty child in time out, this lack of activity created by the pandemic caused many to reevaluate their lives and daily choices. Some quit their jobs and changed their life course dramatically, and some decided it was the perfect opportunity to begin a family or add to the one they already had.

Wonderful.

Yes, having a baby is wonderful if you're a Fertile Myrtle and produce more eggs monthly than a Perdue© hen house. And it's terrific if your sperm count is around 100 million per milliliter. But if you're infertile for whatever reason, like 8 million couples and 186 million individuals are globally, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine fertilization (IUI) are your only options besides adoption. For the first two, you need sperm.

In-vitro fertiliztion (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI)

There are two ways to assist someone in conceiving children:

  • Intrauterine insemination - A procedure where sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a small catheter. This treatment can improve the chances of fertilization by increasing the number of healthy sperm that reach the fallopian tubes during a woman's ovulation.
  • In-vitro fertilization - this procedure is more complicated than IUI. Mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab, then implanted into the woman's uterus.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has created a surge for sperm, leaving many sperm banks almost depleted. Not only did this rush to the sperm banks weaken the availability of sperm, but many sperm banks also closed, and fear of infection and social distance protocols prevented donors from contributing sperm. Now that the need for sperm is so high, sperm banks are having difficulty keeping up with the demand.

This perfect storm of sperm scarcity led many people to seek private sperm donations. Unfortunately, these private sperm donations are unregulated, not trustworthy, and usually expensive. In contrast, sperm banks are FDA regulated, test their donors for disease and psychological well-being, and screen for genetic diseases. Let's take a look at both options for obtaining sperm.

Private sperm donors

I visited a few online private sperm donor forums to see just how 'private' they are. And discovered they're anything but private. Email addresses are posted and some phone numbers for all to see. These forums appear more like a dating site than anything else. But most have less information about the donor than a dating site would for a potential date.

Here's an example of one sperm donor's profile:

Tampa Donor Here: Tall, Athletic, Attractive, Educated, Caucasian, Successful Previous Donor

"Hi there, I am 29, 6'3", 220lbs, attractive, caucasian, a former professional athlete, and current medical professional. I have in the past (2014,2015) successfully donated to two couples so far, and they both had beautiful, healthy baby boys. I have not taken the "jab" and therefore have pure, healthy sperm to donate. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in knowing more. My requirements are that you are disease-free, financially capable of raising a child, and would require nothing further from me upon a successful pregnancy and would be willing to discontinue contact. I prefer donating to couples, but would consider single females in certain circumstances.My contact email is: ******************"

This was posted on January 19, 2022. All a would-be recipient needs to do, is email the gentleman and move forward with the process. It's that simple and that potentially dangerous.

Here's another one, posted on January 20, 2022:

Caucasian Donor 6'1 Brown Hair Hazel eyes.

I am 32 years old. 6'1 175 pounds Caucasian brown hair, Hazel eyes. I have a degree in computer science and I'm naturally friendly, outgoing and like to help people.I have 2 gotten two women pregnant recently. One via natural conception.The second via artificial conception.Looking to help women that are serious about conceiving as soon as possible.To qualify, you must be between 18-40 years of age (21-35 prefered). clean std documentation (I will do the same) Be able to care for a child on your own or sign an agreement to co-parent with me. (We can talk and make terms). Commit to 3 months of conception trial. Open to Artificial, Partial and Natural conception depending on what will work best for the situation.Be ready and willing to track your cycle and peak ovulation. If you are interested, send me a message telling me about your situation and how I can help you. Cellphone: ************* "

There are forums such as this that read more like a Craigslist ad, but there are also Facebook pages that anyone can join, dedicated to connecting with sperm donors as well.

Sperm banks

Google lists five sperm banks in Massachusetts, but many local hospitals have similar cryogenic storage for use within their own reproductive and fertilization departments.

All sperm banks have helpful information explaining their cryogenic process, storage, transport, lab work, and testing.

Each bank also has a donor catalog where the buyer can enter specific characteristics like eye color, hair color, height, weight, and I.Q. of a potential donor to find the sperm most closely aligned with their own physical and mental characteristics.

The donor's adult and child pictures are also available, although some banks charge extra for this service. Price lists are for each procedure are posted on each sperm bank website, including the sperm donors per vile payment.

Sperm banks are the safest way to begin or continue your journey into parenthood. And although we're experiencing a worldwide sperm shortage, Massachusetts sperm banks are beginning to recoup their losses.

Sources:

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility

https://www.iflg.net/new-york-cpsa-sperm-donors/

https://cofertility.com/fertility-statistics/

https://www.co-parentmatch.com/sperm-bank-massachusetts.aspx

https://www.necryogenic.com/contact/

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Jayne is a freelance writer, published poet, and award-winning playwright who specializes in writing human interest stories and anything else that satisfies a multitude of curiosities.

Holyoke, MA
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