In a nutshell, Nigerian laws frown seriously at sale or trafficking of human beings, body parts, and also fluids that emanate from such. I am aware that there are laws regulating sperm donation (based on mostly unpaid arrangements and sales in rear cases) in some other countries, such as the US and countries of Europe. In such climes, laws regulating sperm donation even address issues like permissible reimbursement or payment, rights and responsibilities of the donor towards his biological offspring; the child’s right to know his or her father’s identity, and procedural issues. They often limit the number of pregnancies which are permitted from a single donor in general. This has made for something which remains in the realm of imagination in Nigeria – A central register of sperm donors.
Out there, a man who makes available sperm as a donor forfeits all legal and other rights over the biological children produced from his sperm. Nevertheless, within certain jurisdictions, some private arrangements may give room for agreeing on some form of co-parenting. The enforceability of such agreements varies by jurisdiction.
All these are ‘un-Nigerian’, and would not even be given any thought here within the nearest future. So, any form of third party reproduction or impregnating a woman who is not necessarily a man’s known sexual partner will surely raise more than eye-brows in Nigeria.
Place of religion
I am aware that donating sperm is prohibited in Islam. Catholicism officially rejects the use of donor sperm on the grounds that it runs counter to the sexual unity of marital relationship. Members of this Christian faith hold firmly to the idea that the procreation of a human being should come as a result of “the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses”. Even where some religious groups tend to ‘look the other way’ on sperm donation purely on humanitarian grounds, officially these generally maintain that sperm donation from a third party remains an infringement of the marital bond. Among religious groups it is a mantra that “with God all things are possible”. Any thought of opting for insemination or third party reproduction, not only reflects doubt and disbelief in the powers of Almighty God, talk less of impregnating a woman who is not necessarily a man’s formally recognized sexual partner, which is tantamount to sin and even an abomination.
While the above relates to just donating sperm, I do not know of any religious group that gives a nod to the issue of going a step further, clinging to trading in sperm. The issue should not even be mentioned, as many within these groups clearly view it as unimaginable. Unless religion ‘does not hold any water’ among those who now prefer to snick into fertility clinics for the purpose of sperm trading, my advice to such remains “take a look at what your religion says about donating sperm and even earning money from providing it”.
Tips on promotion, if required
Readers should not regard me as inconsistent by providing tips on promotion here. I am doing so for two reasons. Firstly, to live up to my words on ‘doing something’ towards a positive response to callers’ requests which led to this piece (please note title); and secondly, to utilize what I convey here as a prompter to related law enforcement agencies, as tips to nip sperm trading in the bud, before it becomes the vogue. In this vein, this quotation from my earlier write-up, “Marketing mix: Ethics of baby as product” should be noted: “As modern approach to curtailing crimes encourages ‘reasoning as a thief to catch a thief’, while marketing remains the fulcrum of all business endeavours, this piece is intended to encourage those faced with the responsibility of nabbing bad guys to view things ‘through the eyes’ of operators of illicit…business, …using marketing as platform.”
These tools of creating awareness seem the norm in several developed countries when it comes to ‘letting others know’ about subjects pertaining to sperm banks and other associated issues – the Internet (websites, on-line search catalogues, and well known search engines like “Google”, “Bing” will do the trick). Out there, prospective sperm recipients may also approach a “private” or “directed” donor by advertising. A sperm provider has room to advertise his services on “in demand” websites easily accessed by prospective mums. Web groups and registries also exist for those who care.
In the Nigeria, with the level of secrecy involved and such subject being viewed as taboo in most quarters, sperm trade promotion can effectively take the form of subtle referrals from those made to be aware of a sperm trader’s intension. Furthermore, a visit to any of the fertility centres sprouting in many cities, could pave way for a restrained enquiry about making self available to ‘trade some sap’.
Regardless of all that one has expressed here, I believe the urge to remain in their ways still persists, on the part of those who see trading in sperm as ‘the easy way out’. What they do not realise is that the arm of the law is long enough to still nab them within an environment they view as quite anonymous. Such even makes it more thrilling (like what happens in the movies) for any promotion-seeking law enforcement agent, to be spurred on towards halting this trade in its track.