Male students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando now have another option for college debt reduction—they can sell their future progeny to the sperm bank that just opened next door.
Keeping with the ever-growing trend to solicit young college men for sperm donation, Cryos International, the world’s largest sperm bank, this week relocated its main office from New York to Orlando, just yards from one of the largest universities in the country. The company hopes to tap into the lucrative donor opportunities not only offered by UCF, but also near-by Florida Technical College, Valencia College and Seminole State College, according to the Daily Mail. UCF alone enrolls 23,000 new male students per year.
Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, believes such solicitation preys on students who often have not yet developed the maturity to think ahead.
“They aren’t thinking that children will be born with their DNA and their medical history,” she told me. “They don’t realize that they are selling a child. This is not a blood donation, this produces another human being.”
Federal law prohibits credit card companies from advertising on college campuses because they believe this age demographic doesn’t yet have the ability to understand the future ramifications of their choices, Lahl said.
“Tempting college students to apply for a credit card is illegal, but enticing them to sell a potential child is not,” she noted.
Sperm donations are an abdication of parental responsibility, D. Joy Riley, a physician and the executive director of The Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture told me. “There are reasons why God properly locates a child in a family and donor gametes are an end-run around this,” she said. We all have an obligation to our children. When a husband and wife have a child, they have chosen who the other parent of that child will be. When a man donates to a sperm bank, he has nothing to say about who will receive the sperm and what type of home environment the child will have, Riley said.
Although some infertile heterosexual couples use sperm banks to get pregnant, a large part of the market is made up of lesbian couples and single women, Cryos Vice President Angela Tillis told News 13.
And then there is the issue of sample procurement, which usually involves the use of pornography, Riley said. “This is not God’s design for our sexual functioning,” she added.
Sperm banks that set up near college campuses are nothing new. In 1994, the Bangor Daily News reported there were 100 sperm banks in the United States, most located near selective universities. Cryobank, a Cryos competitor, admitted aggressively recruiting on college campuses where it ranked among the largest advertisers at campus newspapers such as Harvard Crimson. Eighteen years later, the number of U.S. sperm banks had grown to 700, according The New York Times.
Cryos delivers sperm across the United States and to 80 countries worldwide. After it opened clinics in Copenhagen, sperm became the third top export for Denmark following beer and Legos, according to the Daily Mail. The company estimates it is responsible for between 20,000 and 30,000 pregnancies a year.
The term “donation” is used because it is illegal to sell body parts, Riley said. The company gets around that prohibition by claiming it is reimbursing men for expenses, such as travel.
But sperm “donors” can make up to $750 a month, tax-free, for twice-weekly donations. The payment depends on quality and quantity of the sperm, with bonuses being offered for “other factors,” according to the Orlando Weekly.
Customers can purchase sperm online and have it delivered to their home for between $200 and $800. For an additional fee, they can even get an artificial insemination kit to go with it.
— by Julie Borg