Growning Demand for American Sperm

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Now 35 of Canada’s 49 sperm banks and clinics have been ordered to quarantine some or all of their sperm, leaving an inadequate supply for the 2,000 women and infertile couples expected to seek assistance this year.

“The stocks have decreased dramatically,” fertility specialist Roger Pierson, president of the Canadian Fertility and Adrology Society, told Reuters.

Much of that demand is now being met by U.S. firms, Pierson said, because they can adhere to the tougher new standards.

“It’s an opportunity for us. Right now, we are having trouble keeping up with demand,” says David Towles, spokesman for Xytex Corp. in Atlanta, a major U.S. sperm bank. A third of all Xytex’s foreign orders come from Canada, and the company recently opened a subsidiary in Toronto.

According to the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore, a private, nonprofit trade promotion group, the export of human glands and secretions to Canada topped $1.5 million in the first nine months of 2000, up 139 percent compared to the same period last year.

Towles estimates that in the next year, Canadians will be plunking down $3 million to $5 million for high-grade, U.S. sperm.

Spermatozoa With a Pedigree

Now let’s define “high grade.” The means the sperm has been screened for disease, has a high level of motility (that is, they swim fast enough to reach their target), and comes with background information on the donor.

This reporter was saddened to learn that despite being in excellent health and holding two master’s degrees from an Ivy League university, he is at least an inch and a half too short to donate highly desirable sperm. How humbling.

Although I didn’t make the height requirement (you have to be at least 5-foot-8) it might have made a difference if I were a classically trained musician or a medical doctor. (Advanced degrees in journalism don’t count.) Xytex claims only about one in 10 men make the grade.