Despite my clear stance on the trend in Nigeria towards making money out of babies, as reflected in my earlier write-up, “Marketing mix: Ethics of baby as product”, I can deduce that many are not deterred from making money by all means. Being contacted by some persons who claimed they had opted for selling their sperms in order to make ends meet, and requested for my tips in order promote their ‘weird’ business, was baffling. Indeed one of the callers’ plea of, “please sir, help me with tips to promote my sperm trade”, almost made me shudder.
Marketing features prominently in efforts aimed at deriving financial benefits through meeting (customers’) needs within a society. When such needs are seen to be bizarre, marketing can still be used as tool for aiding societal sanity. Ethics of marketing demands the sustenance of societal sanity, hence the need to put a leash on those ‘free willing’ Nigerian adults desirous of meeting needs by ‘sowing their seeds’ inappropriately, in the name of making money. As ‘What propels sperm sale’ has been treated earlier, let’s continue in this piece with: The sperm bank or fertility centre (including agency); required features for sellers; ethical issues; related laws; place of religion; and few tip on promotion, if required.
This is why we are now faced with a situation where such setups are willing to offer amounts desperate parties view as very attractive. We should not overlook the tantalizing N12,000 to N25,000 per specimen fast growing fertility clinics are now daggling before men who opt for providing their sperms for cash. Even where such transactions are wrapped in anonymity of all parties, who says this is not a gradual ‘kick-starting’ of a sperm-sale industry in Nigeria?
Sperm bank or fertility centre
As the name implies, a sperm bank is a place that stores sperms (semen) for use in future. Health clinics that have what it takes to store sperms are often tagged fertility clinics or fertility centres. In other climes, some operate as agencies. Agencies are not full-fledged sperm banks, but operate mainly within a brokerage arrangement, serving as ‘collectors’ to support fertility centres (e.g. notifying sperm providers of appropriate days nominated by the recipient women; subject them to tests, like in sperm banks; collect only fresh sperms, for urgent application, as agencies do not have provision for long term storage; make available collection kits to sperm providers, containers for shipping in cases of collection, delivery by courier to sperm recipients who prefer to inseminate themselves with these providers’ sperms without medical supervision – ‘Do it yourself’, at home).
Considering what many term ‘the Nigerian factor’, will these fertility centres which are sprouting all around, not go a step further to compel ‘money seeking’ sperm providers (with all the features recipient women crave for) to come under a contractual programme? I am aware that some related contracts even specify the place and hours for donation. I visualizing a situation where such young men get into pacts that range from six to 24 months, going by the number of pregnancies which such clinics intend to produce from what the men ‘generate’.
Sperm traders are no fools, hence they cling to traits that enhance their chances of getting the nod of fertility clinics – Sticking to good nutrition and appropriate exercises; giving a wide berth to drugs, recreational sex, smoking, alcohol, etc; and even avoid under-wears which tend to constrict their ‘vital instrument of trade’. They know that not taking these into reckoning means beckoning at likely reduced sperm count, and bad business subsequently.
Required features for sellers
As these sperm banks are commercial ventures, they operate with ‘an eye’ on financial rewards, hence their obvious inclination towards paying, even more, when sperm sellers have distinct features or physical attributes that women recipients prefer (good looks or ‘knockout’ personality, attaining height of not less than five feet, seven inches). Being within the age bracket of 18 and 35 years easily qualifies any itching to delve into the venture of trading in sperms; some degree of intelligence, impressive lifestyle, and educational attainment (not necessarily being an Albert Einstein or having a PhD) put smiles on faces of recipients, as an “Olodo’s” seeds will be repulsive.
Products of a sperm trader will surely not escape intensive screening or tests, to ascertain if ‘product quality’ fits – Tests for genetic diseases, chromosomal abnormalities and sexually transmitted infections (e.g. HIV, syphilis, etc), talk less of those for hepatitis B and C, sickle cell, and appropriate genotype being ‘sure bet’. To impress their often high profile clientele, fertility clinics even probe sperm providers’ family medical history (if there had been incidents of anomalous conditions or deaths, heart attacks, substance abuse, and even mental conditions along the family tree). With record keeping being ‘wahala’ in Nigeria, I am wondering about the accuracy of such searches here. Sperm providers are inclined to compete with monks through abstinence from sex for a while, to enhance their chances of meeting fertility standards. More so, sale of sperm is not on instant cash-and-carry basis, as money exchange hands only after results of tests fit fertility clinics’ billings.
I do not doubt any claim that money makes a man’s moral compass go haywire. Sperm traders are so caught up in their desire for money through sowing seeds for cash (To be continued).