Selling Sex Cells: Money Is the Motivator, but Eggs Are Considered “Gifts” Whilst Sperm Is a “Commodity”
Posted by: Toadsly on Oct 03, 2011
Did you know it’s easier to get into Harvard than be accepted as a sperm donor? California Cryobank, a large Los Angeles-based sperm bank, accepts approximately 1% of its donor applicants. Harvard accepts 6.9%. Straight from the pecker’s spout – sorry, Freudian slip – horse’s mouth: “It's not free money,” says Scott Brown, head of communications for Cryobank.” Donors must be at least 5 feet 9 inches tall and enrolled in -- or have a degree from -- a four-year university. Plus, they have to pass an assortment of genetic and medical tests, screenings, not to mention an investigation into their family's medical history to look for the early onset of heart disease, cancer, etc.” Rene Almeling, an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University, spent four years researching egg agencies and sperm banks for her new book “Sex Cells,” and here are some choice tidbits:
- Men are usually paid $75 to $100 per donation. Many donate weekly and all must abstain from ejaculating for 48 hours before specimen collection.
- Women average $5,000 per donation. But because it’s difficult to recruit suitable African-American and Asian-American donors, many egg agencies will pay a $2,000 bonus to attract them.
- Female donors must self-inject fertility drugs for several weeks before undergoing outpatient surgery to extract the eggs. Short-term, approximately 2% of these women develop serious medical complications. No relevant studies have been conducted on long-term effects.
- In America, collecting “reproductive materials” is a $3 billion per year industry.
- Cryobank prefers to recruit male donors from top-rated universities like Harvard and Stanford. Men can donate till age 40, and there are no weight requirements.
- Egg agencies have no minimum height or educational requirements for women. But they enforce rigorous height to weight ratios and will not collect eggs from women over 30. This is done to insure maximum viability for collected eggs.
- Since the U.S. economic downturn, the “reproductive materials” industry has seen a 20% increase in donor applications. In Australia and the U.K., there has been a sperm shortage due to the enactment of laws that grant children the right to know the identity of their donor fathers.
- The “collection” industry seeks male and female donors who are motivated to donate so childless couples and single women can become parents. But here’s the rub: A male donor who admits his primary motivation is money will not be eliminated from consideration. A woman who confides that remuneration is her motivation is eliminated from consideration.
- Many egg agencies frame their donors as altruistic egg givers and encourage recipients to send donors thank you cards and notes. Egg agencies are constantly thanking donors for the wonderful difference they are making in the lives of recipients. Sperms banks rarely, if ever, mention the recipients. Women’s remuneration is called a “gift.” Sperm is viewed as a commodity that men produce for monetary compensation. It’s just a job.
- And now for Professor Almeling’s most interesting revelation: Egg donors do not see themselves as mothers while sperm donors do identify as fathers. This finding is the opposite of what most people would expect. But women can make this distinction because they can separate maternity into several parts: One woman can provide the egg; another woman can carry the embryo and a third can raise the child. In a woman’s mind, all three women can lay claim to maternity. But men make no such distinction. The male whose sperm fertilizes the egg is the father. Period!