Raising cash in a hurry #5: Bank on your sperm


Update May 2009: The world's largest sperm bank, Cryos in Denmark, reports that its business is growing so quickly it can't open new offices fast enough. These are indeed hard times.

When I was in college, I once visited a friend at another university. As with many such visits, I spent much of my time in an alcoholic haze, wandering from apartment to apartment, meeting my friend's friends, drinking odd beverages, and generally getting down Hunter S. Thompson-style. Good times.

In one apartment, I remember watching some 90210 on the occupants' big screen TV. Over the course of the show, I noticed that they kept referring to it as "the TV that sperm bought." Finally, unable to contain my curiosity, I asked about the nickname. Laughing, one of them told me that the roommates had pooled their resources from selling sperm and had used the proceeds to purchase a TV. Since then, my research has shown me that, regardless of the the truth of the roommates' claims, it certainly could be true. Advertised sperm donation rates vary from $1 to $200 per week; most donors can expect somewhere around $40 per donation. Given that you can only deposit sperm every five days, your career as a sperm donor will probably only net you enough money to eat at McDonald's. Although, if you save carefully, your genetic material could translate into a sweet home theater system.

When I was a college student, sperm donation seemed like an interesting idea. After all, I'd be paid for doing something that I usually did pro bono, would be able to make some poor ladies really happy, and would pick up a little bit of dough on the side. In the meantime, I was legally protected; there was no way that the little Brucies and Brucinias that were wandering the earth could track their way back to me. Then I read the small print.