Episode 7: Donating Swimmers

On this episode of the DCYB roadshow, Eric Kendall from the European Sperm Bank describes the process of sperm donation and what it takes to become a sperm donor.

Alright, last time you were at the grocery store you had to decide between beer and toilet paper (a decision no man should ever have to make). It’s time to start raking in a little extra cash flow…why not try sperm donation? It’s like getting paid for an extracurricular activity and it looks like a super easy way to make a quick buck. If that’s the case, you might want to start digging for change in your couch cushions, cause chances are you won’t see that sweet, sweet donation dinero for quite a while. Donating sperm is a rigorous process that requires preparation and dedication, and very few make the cut. We sat down with Eric Kendall, Clinic Liaison with Seattle Sperm Bank to find out how to become a sperm donor. The process might surprise you…


Weirdest. Job Interview. Ever.

There’s a reason it’s called being a professional sperm donor. Applying to be a sperm donor and applying for a job are eerily similar. To get started, you look for local sperm banks and fill out their online application. This application looks like something you’d see at a doctor’s office: height, weight, hair/eye color, profession, education, and maternal and paternal ancestry. Once you’ve filled it out and sent it, the waiting game begins. If your online application interested the bank, they’ll contact you and ask you to come in to fill out more detailed paper work and make a donation. This isn’t the donation you’ll get paid for, its a donation that the bank can test to decide if you’ll make it on to the next round. It gets analyzed, frozen, thawed and analyzed again.

If your swimmers make it through the Ice Age, the clinic will ask you for another sample and you’ll get an interview with the bank’s genetic counselor. This interview is a lot like a job interview, with about the same level of sexualization (read: none). You’ll be asked about your medical and professional background and why you decided to donate sperm (beer money should not be your answer). If they like what they hear, they’ll ask you back for some more medical testing.

This time, you’ll get a blood test, a urine test, and a physical from a bank’s medical director. If you are selected to become a donor, congratulations, you are literally part of the 1%. 99% of potential donors are turned away from the clinic, largely due to poor sperm quality.

 Let’s Get Donating

You’ve gotten the job. You’re now a professional sperm donor. So how much are you actually going to make? Well, like most things, it depends on the quality of what you produce. A typical sperm donor makes $40-$60 a donation, and they can make up to three donations a week. That can add up to quite a bit of cash,if you’re consistent. Each donation has to meet the bank’s standards. This means that you have to take a few extra precautions to make sure your boys are always up to snuff.

First, look at your lifestyle. You need to maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated and avoid stress, heat, obesity and toxins. For more info on how to improve your lifestyle for optimum sperm quality, check out DCYB Roadshow Episode 1: A SHOT of Fertility. You also need to abstain from sex for between 48 and 72 hours before a donation. Trust us, the sperm bank will ask you how long it’s been, and if you’re lying, they’ll probably be able to tell.

You Don’t Have to Be a Superhero

Yes, some donor recipients are looking for He-Man with a graduate degree, but chances are, other recipients are looking for exactly your type. The characteristic that sperm banks value isn’t height, weight or personal achievement, it’s sperm quality.

Maybe Baby

Once you make your donation, there’s a pretty big chance it’s going to be successfully used. This means that once you donate sperm, there is a chance you will have offspring walking around without any knowledge of who you are. However, this doesn’t mean they wont be able to find you. With anonymous donations, there is still the chance of your offspring finding you. Several banks encourage Open Identity Donation. This means that once your offspring is 18, they will have the ability to contact you once. This doesn’t mean the sperm bank gives out your personal information, only that the bank acts as a liaison between the offspring and you.

What We Learned

Sperm donation isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. It’s a very complex process that takes a little more dedication than a search for beer money. If you want to learn more about sperm donation, check out the Seattle Sperm Bank or email Eric Kendall at eric@europeanspermbankUSA.com.