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Best Side Gig Ever? Here’s What You Need to Know About Selling Your Sperm
Yes, you read the headline right.
Let’s talk about how to make money by selling your sperm.
Don’t laugh, it’s a completely legit way for guys to make a buck — and more people do it than you think.
I mean, I can’t give you an exact number or anything, but a sperm bank in Fairfax, Virginia, puts the number of anonymous donor-inseminated births at around 130,000 over the last 30 years.
That’s more than 4,000 men a year who donate a piece of themselves for altruism and humanitarianism or for fun and profit.
So, is sperm donation a viable way for men to make some extra cash?
But there are physical, ethical and emotional aspects of becoming a sperm donor that deserve careful consideration before you take the plunge.
Also, don’t expect to pop in to your local sperm bank, make a contribution and walk out with a check that afternoon.
That’s not how it works.
3 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Sperm
In theory, sperm donation sounds fun, but it’s really sort of a minefield.
Ask yourself these three questions before you decide it’s the perfect side gig for you.
1. Are You Physically a Good Candidate for Sperm Donation?
Each sperm bank will have its own list of minimum physical requirements but they’re all fairly similar.
Most donation centers require donors to be:
- Between 5’8” and 6’6”
- Between 18 and 40 years old
- Height and weight proportional
- In good overall health
- Educated with a college degree or vocational training, or possessing a military service record
- A non-smoker and non-drug user
2. Have You Considered the Ethical Aspects of Sperm Donation?
Some of the ethical aspects of sperm donation are managed by the donation centers themselves.
For instance, U.S. sperm banks limit the number of donor offspring to 10 to reduce the chance of brothers and sisters from the same father accidentally having children of their own.
Sperm banks also regulate the age of contributors, ensuring that all sperm donors are legal adults.
Other ethical considerations vary from bank to bank and may or may not align with your particular values.
For example, most reproductive centers allow anonymous donations to protect the privacy of both the donor and the recipient family.
Those donor-conceived children will never be able to track down their father. That could be a problem because some studies suggest anonymous donations may contribute to emotional difficulties in donor-conceived children.
If you’re not comfortable with anonymous donations and want to leave the door open for a child to find you down the road, look for a sperm bank that allows open identity sperm donation.
3. Are You Emotionally Prepared to Be a Sperm Donor?
Even if you sail cleanly across the physical and ethical bridges, there’s still an emotional component to becoming a sperm donor.
Will you be okay knowing you’ve possibly got one or more kids out in the world that you may never know?
If you had a non-anonymous donation arrangement, are you comfortable knowing that your future offspring could one day pop up to meet you? It’s a potentially life-disrupting possibility that will exist for decades.
There’s also a chance you might not be accepted as a donor, and sperm banks won’t always tell you why.
Are you prepared to be left wondering whether you weren’t chosen because they don’t need more donors with your hair color, or whether there’s a problem with your sperm?
The Sperm Donation Process
If you answered “yes” to all three questions and think you’re ready to be a sperm donor, here’s how the process works.
First, try to track down a sperm bank that’s geographically close to you, because if you’re chosen to be a donor, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in that facility.
Next, you’ll either be pre-screened over the phone or fill out an online application.
If you pass the initial screening, you’ll be invited in for a thorough interview that takes a deep dive into your entire family tree.
Cracked contributor and intrepid sperm donor Sean Berkley had to provide “a detailed medical history for every parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparent you have, as well as any children your siblings or cousins may have, going back four generations.”
After clearing all those hurdles, you’ll need to provide a sample of the goods for the sperm bank to test and evaluate.
If they like what they see, you’ll be invited to become a sperm donor and then you’re off to the races.
Being a Sperm Donor Is a Big Commitment
Remember when I said that there’s more to being a sperm donor than just popping in and leaving with a fistful of cash?
Here’s where the rubber meets the road.
The insemination process takes a lot of time and, well, a lot of sperm.
Once the recipient chooses you and your genes, you’ll have to keep up a steady supply (how clinical!) one to three times a week for six months to a year.
You’re probably thinking, “I’ve trained my whole life for this, what’s not to love?” But take a minute to do the math.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
That’s a lot of, er, visits.
I mean, getting to eat tacos three times a week for a solid year probably sounds good on paper, too.
But being forced to do things we like on a schedule sucks all the joy out of things once the novelty wears off.
Sperm banks get this, so they’ve created a workaround to keep you coming back.
“Just to make sure you follow through [with your visits], your paychecks are kept in escrow by the sperm bank until the end of the contract,” Berkley said.
That’s right. You’ll go through interviews and tests, give specimens and samples, show up for visits and appointments, stay limber and hydrated and still have nothing to show for it for as long as six months. (Though some sperm banks now pay monthly.)
How Much Does Being a Sperm Donor Pay?
If you’ve gotten this far and are still interested in being a sperm donor (my hat is off to you), you’re probably anxious to know if there’s any money in it.
Like everything else about being a sperm donor, the amount of money you’ll make varies from center to center.
Still other centers pay on a sliding scale that’s based on a variety of factors.
Just like any other side hustle, be sure to get details on compensation before you sign any contracts or make any commitments.
If you’ve considered becoming a sperm donor from all angles and still think it’s right for you, then go forth and conquer.
You know what they say.
It’s not work if you’re doing what you love.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her browser history is a little awkward at the moment so she’s off to research baby owls and vegetable gardening.