Whether it's due to their male partner's infertility, their desire to have a child with or without a male partner or for other reasons, many women choose to use a sperm donor to produce a pregnancy. Through artificial insemination, a man's sperm--taken from his semen--is placed into the woman's reproductive tract; if fertilisation is successful, the woman becomes pregnant. But who donates the sperm? And why do they do it?
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Although the donor may be personally selected by the woman, to prevent future custody problems, the procedure is normally done via the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Anonymous donations are made through a sperm bank. Generally, the donor must enter into a contract with the sperm bank, agreeing to donate sperm a certain number of times within a specified time period.
For a man to be eligible for sperm donation, he must meet specific medical and physical requirements. First, the donor must be between the ages of 18 and 34. Additionally, the man must also be at least 5-foot-11 and of a healthy weight. Most sperm banks also require donors to have a high school degree, and some even require college degrees. The donor's medical history will be screened, which includes testing for various infectious diseases. In addition, to qualify for a donation, a sperm donor cannot currently have or previously have had hepatitis B or C, HIV, herpes or venereal warts. Finally, the donor cannot masturbate or have sex with others for 5 days before each donation.
Although a sperm bank does not legally have to pay its donors any certain amount (or anything at all, in fact), most pay about £32 per sample. The exact amount usually depends upon the quality of the sample. Depending upon the terms of the contract, some centres pay up to £130 a week for 6 months of weekly donations. Particularly good-looking or exceptionally intelligent donors may receive a higher payment, however.
Once a donor is accepted into the program, he will make an appointment to visit the clinic. Generally, the donor is brought into a private room and given masturbatory aids, such as videos, magazines and photographs, to help produce a semen sample. Once a sample is obtained (assuming it is of good quality), he will make several return visits until the terms of his contract are fulfilled.
The amount of compensation provided to donors varies according to location and donor, but typically, a sperm donor who enters into a long-term contract with a sperm bank can expect to make, at most, a few hundred dollars per week (for multiple donations). Although this amount is much less than women are paid for egg donation, the process is much easier and requires a lot less time. Additionally, federal law does not require sperm donors to pay income taxes on their donations, so it's tax-free cash (not so for egg donors). So for men who do not mind committing the time and have no qualms about having up to 10 children they do not know, sperm donation is a relatively easy way to make some cash.