All you need is empty pockets, free time & a healthy sex drive.
College students and sperm donation seem like a match made in masturbation heaven. In fact, it was a student who donated the sperm for the first human artificial insemination at Jefferson Medical College in 1884.
Even today, most banks only accept donors with some college education. Don’t think that your university hoodie and “visual aids” are all you’ll need to donate, though. Standards are high in the sperm donation game. To get accepted you not only need to have attended some college, but also be willing to donate over several months, have a near perfect medical history and produce semen samples powerful and accurate enough to destroy the Deathstar.
But first, you’ll just need to find a bank that pays. Banks that offer money are rare, so your best bet is to ask a doctor or a fertility specialist.
Any bank you find will then require a long series of tests to find out just how much your sperm is worth, if it’s worth anything at all. It usually starts with a short questionnaire to check minimum requirements of breed-worthiness, like height, weight, ethnicity and education. There’s no gold standard, but your 5’8” Italian author suddenly feels too short or too average to reproduce.
If you pass that initial test, you’ll then have to submit a detailed personal history several generations deep. Dad with diabetes? Sorry. Mom with melanoma? Nope. Great-grandma with a goiter? No sperm cup for you. A clean history will finally earn you a trip to the bank… to give blood and semen samples for more tests.
STDs are automatic disqualifiers, but even if you’re clean, there are hosts of genetic deficiencies that could kill your chances. Furthermore, your little soldiers need to be extrapopulous, extra motile, and extra strong to survive the freezing process. If your sperm can’t survive gamete-Antarctica, you’re out of luck.
Consistently passing these tests for several weeks puts you within five percent of applicants ever to donate. But you’re not done yet. Then you’ll have to sign a contract guaranteeing a couple of donations each week for at least six months to pay for all the testing you underwent.
Donors also usually have to complete detailed personality portfolios, equal parts college admissions application and eHarmony profile, covering topics from your SAT scores to your religion and hobbies. Some banks record audio interviews; others want essays. One asks you to rate yourself on a 1-to-5 scale between “artistic” and “Michael Angel Who?” Prospective parents will use all of this to help them choose their donor, but your name will usually remain anonymous.
Navigating that whole path can easily net you between $75 and $100 per specimen, and particularly breed-worthy applicants, like, say, a 6’6” Ashkenazi Jewish neuroscientist with semen the consistency of wood-glue, can make much more.
And if the money’s not enough, think of the children. One client calls her artificially conceived children her “three little miracles.” Good karma, by the way, is all that that Jefferson Med student ever got, but then again his entire screening process was an election by his class to find “the best looking.” The standards, and of course the rewards, are higher today, but here’s hoping you’ve got the health, genes, and high-octane spermatozoa to pass the tests and make bank.
For a sperm bank that pays near the D.C. area, checkout: Fairfax Cryobank in Fairfax, Va., 1-800-338-8407
Brian Cognato > University of Maryland College Park > Sophomore > English and Government and Politics
*Originally published in College Magazine’s print publication, Spring 2008 D.C. issue.