The prospect of being a sperm donor might seem cool to a lot of guys.
You get paid to “stimulate” yourself, and you’re potentially helping those who want to start families.
So, how much do you get paid for this gig?
Can we even call it a gig?
That’s what we’re going to get to the bottom of in this post.
We’ll also discuss some hindrances and ethical issues surrounding sperm donation that you might want to consider before applying.
Let’s get started.
How Much Sperm Donation Pays
Sperm donors often receive $100 to $150 every donation session.
When donors contribute just weekly or biweekly, they can earn around $4,000 within six months.
But of course, all this depends on where you donate and how “valuable” your sperm is.
Things To Consider Before Applying as a Sperm Donor
Okay, so you “do your business” into a cup, and you get paid? Sounds like a sweet deal.
Well, being a sperm donor is not as easy as you might think.
Here are a couple of factors to think about before you get too excited.
If you think you can make a quick buck by spending an afternoon donating to a sperm bank, think again.
The FDA mandates that sperm be stored for six months and the donor retested for HIV and other infections.
Since the goal here is to make babies, the spread of infection should be prevented at all costs.
Only then will your sperm be added to a sperm bank’s catalog.
So, don’t expect to get paid before then.
Did you know that your chances of getting accepted into an Ivy League school are much higher than qualifying as a donor at a major sperm bank?
You have to check a lot of boxes.
A low sperm count? You’re out.
A complicated medical history? You’re out.
Low-quality sperm? You’re out.
You’re short? You’re probably out.
Most sperm banks won’t accept white donors under 5’9” since their customers want tall kids.
Members of shorter ethnic groups, however, have a lesser standard to meet.
Given the persistent shortage of African-American donors, height may not be a deal-breaker for them.
You should expect to be grilled extensively about your sex life, drug use, career aspirations, interests, skills, and recent travels.
The medical testing is no joke.
You’ll be asked to provide blood, urine, and semen samples in addition to undergoing a variety of physical, psychological, personality, and STD tests.
This is to assess your viability as a donor.
Potential buyers will also want to know these details and may request photos from your childhood.
And to get to you better, they might ask for an essay or recorded interview.
Your ethnicity also has a role to play here, as it will be used for genetic testing.
This is to determine if you’re at risk for inherited diseases.
And while several sperm banks offer free medical exams and other screenings as an incentive, it will still be a grueling process on your part.
It’s possible for a regular donor to earn as much as $1,800 for providing specimens twice a week.
The cost per vial depends on whether the sperm will be used for intrauterine or intracervical insemination and ranges from $500 to $900.
If the bank also offers sperm for in vitro fertilization, which requires less processing but has a lower success rate, the compensation will be smaller.
This is not going to be a one-and-done deal. Most sperm banks require that you commit to donating at least once a week for six months to a whole year.
That’s not an insignificant amount of time spent in small, sterile rooms.
They invest around $2,000 per donor for screening and recruitment, ensuring regular check-ups as part of the process.
And if you want your sperm count to be high enough for each donation, you need to abstain for two to three days leading up to the session.
This is something to think about if you’re trying to maintain a healthy sex life outside of this gig.
While there is no enforced limit in the US, the most prominent sperm banks won’t allow a single donor’s sperm to be used by more than 25-30 clients.
These 25-30 family units can use this specimen multiple times and have the option not to report any births.
If you do get accepted as a donor, you might not know how many children you father.
You’ll have the option to join the Donor Sibling Registry to communicate with your possible offspring.
It can be pretty disturbing to find out that you have dozens of donor conceived offspring.
You can remain anonymous or let your offspring contact you once they become of legal age.
A good portion of them would want to reach out to their genetic parents.
And since DNA testing is now accessible and affordable, even anonymous sperm donors are being sought out by their offspring.
Why Would You Want To Become a Sperm Donor Now?
It’s pretty clear from the previous section that being a donor is that simple. So, it’s natural to wonder what the motivations are for those who still want to do it.
Here are a couple of reasons why:
Helping Infertile or Single Parents
It’s easy to lose sight of the noble cause of sperm donation.
People tend to minimize its value with jokes and false associations.
But the main reason for sperm donation is to help infertile couples and aspiring singles start their own families.
Donating sperm is an incredibly selfless act that can be key to some people’s ultimate dream — to have children.
What you’d earn as a sperm donor is not too shabby.
While you have to be committed to the cause and subject yourself to rigorous testing, there’s not much labor involved.
You might not get paid right away, but I wouldn’t classify this as a job or side hustle anyway.
But if your sperm is valuable, beneficiaries are willing to pay.
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(Usually) Paid Medical Testing
Medical tests can cost a fortune these days, and some people are hesitant to find out the state of their health for fear of high medical bills.
Well, as we covered above, they don’t let just anyone become sperm donors.
Applicants are tested for their sperm quality and overall health.
There is a chance that you might find out some conditions that would have gone undiagnosed if not for this process.
All this might be worth the trouble just to know how you are health-wise, and for free!
Reviewing Family History
You can chalk up a lot of who you are to your family. You are the product of generations of varied characters.
As a sperm donor, you’ll be asked to share your family’s medical (and perhaps anecdotal) history.
This is to prevent any potential risks to you and your possible offspring.
I don’t think anyone would prefer sperm from a donor who is at risk of hereditary diseases.
So before you apply, this gives you a chance to really look back and assess your family history.
Maybe you’ll uncover some interesting facts about your progenitors.
This can also help you keep your health in check should you find out that you’re at risk of something.
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You can lower your risk of ED and male incontinence with this strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles.
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The Ethical Issues Surrounding Sperm Donation
It’s true that you can paint sperm donations as an entirely good deed.
However, we also have to look at the complete picture and consider what others might consider questionable.
There are sperm donors who claim to be somewhat driven by a selfish desire to procreate, a motive that these same men view as morally dubious.
We can’t deny the degree of stigma that “wanting to spread your seed” has.
It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of donors are childless at the time of their contribution.
Donation was promoted as an “insurance policy” for men who might not otherwise become fathers or as an alternative to real, accountable fatherhood.
In other words, they were encouraged to satiate their biological urges without the traditional responsibilities of parenthood.
Intrafamilial Sperm Donation
A third of the cases of infertility treated by IVF procedures involve a male component, meaning it is the aspiring father who can’t produce viable sperm.
When faced with such issues, many couples choose sperm donation from a father to a son.
Because of the genetic connection that’s preserved through this type of donation, the strains on the couple are lessened.
But intrafamilial sperm donation carries a variety of possible dangers.
Health-related, psychological, and moral concerns are paramount here.
What happens is that the offspring’s father is technically its brother.
This can be a complicated situation that could take a toll on the family.
Of course, the extent to which the offspring will accept these complex ties is unpredictable.
Should they be made aware, it will have an impact on their social environment and emotional state.
Donor anonymity policies have shifted in many countries.
The recent decades of change in the field have favored donors who are willing to be identified.
In the past, it was pretty commonplace to provide some information about the donor to the intended parents.
They could be told the donor’s eye and hair color, as well as the donor’s hobbies and accomplishments.
Many countries now require donors to be even more open so that their future offspring born through donor conception can get in touch with them.
This means that the donor’s position within the family will change, which could influence parents’ decisions about whether or not to tell the child.
Unintentional disclosure can be extremely destructive within family relationships.
Another thing to discuss here is egg sharing, which is an option provided by several reproductive centers.
Concerns have been raised about whether or not new regulations are making it more difficult for clinics to secure enough donors.
There’s also the issue of who gets to decide who gets access to specific donor gametes.
Religious and Cultural Differences
Thoughts on sperm donation can also vary depending on cultural and religious backgrounds.
And in today’s increasingly interconnected and diverse world, there’s a focus on how families are conceptualized, formed, and upheld.
New assisted reproductive technologies present opportunities that put social norms to the test, and the pace of change can be difficult to adapt to.
When do you get paid for your donations?
You will likely be paid once you close a batch of donations (roughly 10).
And if your donated sperm survives the 6-month quarantine and rethaw, you will likely receive payment again.
You will also likely be given one-off payments for extra requirements from recipients.
How many donors do it for the money?
It turns out not very many.
Most donors choose to donate because of holistic and noble reasons.
They think about helping others fulfill their dream of having children rather than monetary compensation.
There are few who do it solely for pay, but I would say that there are more reliable ways to make money on the side.
Can you consider sperm donation a side gig?
Yes and no.
If you happen to have valuable sperm and you have a genuine desire to help others, I don’t see why you can’t view sperm donation as one of your side gigs.
You might as well get paid to help, right?
However, there are more traditional side gigs that don’t require this level of commitment and don’t involve sensitive issues.
Many would argue that sperm donation can’t be your job and that you’re better off looking for other ways to diversify your income.
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Sperm donation holds deeper significance beyond payment.
It impacts couples’ lives, donors, and offspring in nuanced ways.
It’s a serious commitment.