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August 07, 2021

Hard times giving extra load to local sperm banks

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Just so you know, that’s about the cleanest title I could think to use here.

In a recession, we turn to a lot of things to make ends meet; some people chop their cell phone plans in half; some ditch their cars in lieu of public transit; some deal without HDTV ‘cause it costs more than what LL Cool J spends each year on lip balm.

Others, though, take matters in their own hands.

Donations to sperm banks – yes, sperm banks – are apparently way up these days as men take advantage of what Minyanville calls a “long … considered get-rich-quick scheme” for guys.

Several donor clinics across the U.S. tell the website that applicants have increased about 15-20% since the recession hit. And while it’s uplifting to think thousands of young men are rushing to donate their DNA just to benefit couples in need, that ain’t likely the case.

According to Minyanville, the majority of new applicants list an “economic incentive” to offering their sample but, quite frankly, it’s hard to blame them.

Donors (in the U.S., at least) can make up to $100 per sample, twice a week. I don’t mean to break your calculator, but that can add up to about $10,400 of extra income per year, which doesn’t include the added joy of becoming the Shawn Kemp of your local area code.

So, bear with me for the inappropriate parallel, but why – with an economy in rags – aren’t more men becoming part-time hand labourers if it could mean being able to keep paying their daughters' way through school?

Well, I’m glad I asked. As it turns out, while applicants are through the roof, enhanced procreation technology has made becoming a workable sperm donor pretty difficult.

Because of ever-improving science helping couples conceive when they once could not, now only the “best and brightest sperm ever make it to market,” according to the article.

In order to even be considered to make some extra cash, potential donors go through a cavalcade of interviews/tests and are generally ruled out if they’re not 5’10” or taller, have a long history of family health and hold a degree from a four-year university.

By the end of the screening process – which a Toronto clinic details as lengthy and seemingly quite miserable – only about 1% of applicants ever see their sperm out on the, uh, streets.

So in case anyone was scratching their heads for some do-it-yourself ways to make an extra buck going into the weekend, now you know that spending a little alone time doesn’t always pay, after all.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...