A LITTLE-DISCUSSED BUT POORLY KEPT SECRET about human sexuality is that the typical male starts preparing for the role of Anonymous Sperm Donor during puberty. Willfully. Blissfully. Without remuneration. And he never stops.
Though there’s a hint of altruism to serving officially in that capacity, sperm donation’s bizarre linkage of parenting and anonymity—of being a father to many and a dad to none—prevents most capable wankers from going pro. But there are plenty who do.
Not many job sites, though. Infertility clinics are sprouting up all over, but sperm banks that accept deposits from anonymous donors are going the way of comedy clubs: Like many other clinics in the area, the Dominion Fertility Institute in Arlington closed its on-site depositories last year because of increasing operational costs. The lab now procures anonymous sperm from a large California mail-order lab.
That leaves Fairfax Cryobank of Fairfax, Va., and the Washington Fertility Study Center in the Watergate as your best chance to get paid for a lovin’ spoonful. Both sperm banks solicit through ads in college newspapers, but will audition applicants up to the doddering age of 35.
If you clear the first round—a physical exam, plus questions about your family health history—you’ll be ushered into a small room and asked to provide a test batch. The Washington Fertility Center’s library helpfully features Playboy and Hustler.
For the best results, you should have abstained from sex, self-administered or otherwise, for no less than three days and no more than five. And you’ll certainly want to be at your best. The microscopic screen test must show that your 10cc’s pack plenty of movers and shakers: Fairfax Cryobank insists that each load host a minimum of 12.5 million living sperm cells, at least 40 percent of them motile; and the Washington Fertility Study Center demands 15 million cells and 50 percent motility. Then, and only then, will you be deemed fit to exchange your fluids for cash.
Now the really bad news: The fertility industry won’t pay much for your efforts. A book of guidelines distributed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine notes that the amount of compensation “should not be such that the monetary incentive is the primary factor in donating sperm.” The going rate for a mail-ordered batch from a major sperm bank is between $100 and $200, but Fairfax Cryobank pays its donors just $65 per sample, and the Washington Fertility Study Center won’t even divulge its fee scale.
And don’t think you can beat the low per-specimen wage by adopting a volume strategy—even if you produce more semen than the Naval Academy. Clinics generally limit to 10 the number of pregnancies you could have, er, a hand in.