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. This piece is all about approaching the subject from these perspectives: What propels sperm sale; the sperm bank or fertility centre (including agency); required features for donor/seller; ethical issues; related laws; place of religion; and few tip on promotion, if required.
Tremendous achievements in modern medicine in the past few decades have made for incidents of sperm donation taking an upward swing. Medical experts have often claimed that men are having more fertility challenges nowadays, with the man being number one cause of infertility in couples. They have often told us, men, about the unpleasant story of a decrease (by a third) in sperm count since the 1990s, and a 50 percent drop of this in most men over the past 50 years. In the words of the World Health Organisation (WHO), normal sperm count occurs when one has eight to ten million sperms per milliliter (ml). These same experts keep coming up with more ‘bad news’, by pointing fingers at what they termed “male factor”, as being solely responsible for this decline, with environmental issues and lifestyle being culprits. This makes sense since it’s only the male that yields sperm. The female does not, but produces egg or ovum instead.
Even where I am not a medical practitioner to lay claims or reel out statistics and reasons here on why sperm count is taking a plunge, it remains clear that Nigeria is not insulated from goings-on. Since Nigerian men are equally fast running out of sap, any claim of growing demand for sperm in the country should not raise eye-brows. To help clear some hazy areas and spice up this presentation, the focus here embodies these: What propels sperm sale (now gradually leading to a sperm market); sperm bank or fertility centre; required features for donor/seller; ethical issues; related laws; place of religion; and tips on promotion, if required.
What propels sperm sale
Ideally, like what obtains in cases of donation of blood, plasma, kidney, etc, sperm is supposed to be provided on humanitarian basis. Due to a growing and prevalent tendency (in people) to make money at all means, these vital component parts of the human being is now being provided for cash. Without delving into details of processes and forms of third party reproduction (“I no be doctor”), it is enlightening to note that sperm donation (where actual donation occurs) is the provision by a man (often referred to as sperm donor) of his sperm. This is often carried out mainly for the purpose of inseminating or impregnating a woman, who is not necessarily the man’s sexual partner. This process or activity takes place, most times through a sperm bank or fertility clinic. I am aware of incidents of insemination, based on surrogacy, occurring through private arrangements between interested parties.
The primary recipients of donor sperm in Nigeria are women who are part of childless (or child desirous) couples, often rich enough to pay any amount to fulfill their heart’s desire. This has culminated in a trend around where sperms sellers, with the features these women want so much, thrive. I am certain that the few fertility clinics springing up in the country are not equipped enough to cater for cases of long storage of sperm (mainly in frozen form) for future use. We must not overlook that the required public power supply only recently started improving in Nigeria. More so, sperm recipients around mostly have preference for fresh rather than frozen sperms; with whatever conviction of increased chances of pregnancy by way of ‘fresh stuff’ (Nigerians are often suspicious of frozen items, with the ‘Oku eko’ mentality coming to mind). Furthermore, cultural and legal hitches here have made even giving a thought to patronizing fertility clinics a ‘no go area’ for homosexual couples (if they exist around), lesbian couples and even single women.
Marketing, which significantly functions within effects of market forces, clearly does not overlook a situation where high demand by prospective sperm recipients occurs, for the reason that so many Nigerian men are “running out of good quality sap”. In an environment where so many are faced with difficulties of survival, selling an item men feel they can easily afford (and get nature’s easy replenishment), sperms, surely seems attractive. This is why we are now faced with a situation where such outfits (To be continued).