Here's something new to worry about: illegal sperm! Two British men are charged with selling spunk without a license, and earning over $385,000 by doing so.
According to the BBC, Ricky Gage and Nigel Woodforth operated Fertility 1st, a service that put women in touch with anonymous donors for a fee of about $600, then arranged delivery of the selected sperm for an additional fee. They made about £250,000 ($385,050) — but a couple who used the service got suspicious when Fertility 1st "mistakenly revealed" the name of their donor (what, was it written on the vial?), and it turned out Gage and Woodforth were operating without a license. They say "their company was simply an information site which acted as an introduction database," but they're being charged with procuring sperm illegally.
The BBC points out that laws requiring licenses for sperm purveyors are meant "to ensure that both donors and women wanting to conceive had access to information and counselling, and to help protect against the risks of diseases including HIV" — and it stands to reason that if you're going to be shooting something into your uterus, you want it to be bona fide. There's no word on whether Gage and Woodforth properly screened their sperm for STIs and other issues, but given that they merely acted as a clearinghouse, it's certainly possible that nobody was testing anything. Which would mean that Fertility 1st's clients, who presumably thought they were engaged in a safe medical procedure, were basically having unprotected sex with strangers. If it's true that Gage and Woodforth didn't screen their wares, they should be held accountable for exposing their clients to diseases — and regardless, anyone who uses donor sperm should be extra careful to check up on a clinic's licensing. And we can all sleep slightly less easily at night, knowing there's officially a black market for sperm.
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