Growning Demand for American Sperm

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“People are very choosy,” Towles says. “We’ve had requests for Brad Pitt’s semen.”

Celebrities and politicians have used Xytex’s services, although Towles can’t name names. And while folks can be very specific in their requests, you can’t yet purchase sperm of the stars.

However, if you want a donation from a blue-eyed, 6-foot, blond doctor who is Catholic and likes the outdoors, many sperm banks can deliver. And that’s one reason U.S. sperm banks have a competitive advantage.

“America is a big country, with a diverse population. It’s easier for us to get what people want than for competitors in homogenous countries,” Towles says.

The Laissez-Faire Semen Trade

You might think foreign countries wouldn’t have to look abroad for sperm. You should be able to count on domestic production. But American companies benefit because the United States has fewer restrictions on the buying and selling of sperm than in other countries.

Denmark also exports a lot of human sperm. But donations there and in many other countries are anonymous. And these days, customers want semen with a pedigree.

Xytex often provides clients with photos of the donor and the offspring he’s helped produce, along with detailed biography.

Middle Eastern and Asian sperm is harder to come by, for cultural reasons. Towles says its quite common for a Japanese couple to travel to the United States for fertility assistance.

Lauren Owenby of the Georgia Department of Industry Trade and Tourism helps promote U.S. human sperm abroad. “It’s funny collecting information on this,” she says. “When I called the Danish Consulate, the man there thought I was asking him for his sperm.

“Then I had to explain, I just wanted his country’s regulations.”

Georgia has 11 foreign trade offices, and Owenby has gathered trade information. “Because it is unusual to export sperm, we investigate local laws and trade practices,” she says. But the practice is becoming more acceptable.