American Men Are Almost Too Awesome At Making Jizz

While our manufacturing sector's kind of in the toilet, mining is giving people cancer and causing earthquakes, and our tech industry is running out of ideas for one-button devices to sell to yuppies, at least one sector of the American economy is running full steam — or rather, full balls — ahead: the sperm harvesting and exporting business. And that's leading to some unprecedented and unexpected spooj-related complications.

Time's Jay Newton-Small examines the waxing tide of ejaculation complications in a piece in this week's issue called Frozen Assets (behind paywall; available with subscription). Even though we lag behind other countries in such categories as education, health care, and gender equality, we're still leading the way in sperm exports. And the industry is growing more swollen and turgid as international excitement for our product increases.

According to Newton-Small, several factors have led to America's sperm preeminence: our refusal to ban anonymous donations, our diverse population, and our clinics' willingness to sell vials of babyjuice to single women and gay couples. Plus, America contains some totally hot, spermy dudes.

Clinics have gotten advanced in their ability to match couples (or single women) with the donor of their dreams. Facial recognition technology, for example, allows infertile couples to find a donor who resembles a woman's husband or any old hot celebrity of her dreams. And infertile foreign couples in parts of the world where sperm donation is frowned upon can find a donor with sperm that will produce a child that looks like he came from the father without anyone being the wiser.

Each of these gifts, it turns out, will one day be a curse unless our sperm-slinging is reigned in with closer regulation. Since America allows men to donate anonymously and retain their anonymity, sperm recipients in close proximity to each other run the risk of raising children who meet and fall in love with other donor children who turn out to be their half siblings. Further, since stateside clinics don't share information, a man could visit multiple locations in order to maximize the earning potential of his testes, even if the US instituted a ban on excessive donations. In some cases, men have found out after donating that they have dozens of children spread far and wide. Breaking that news to someone with whom you'd like to have your own kids is a difficult task.

But not just anyone can donate. Newton-Small writes,

Dads are profiled according to height, appearance and education level. A man with a Ph.D. can make as much as $500 per ejaculation. Lower-end donors, who still need at least a college degree and a minimum height of 5 ft. 9 in., can earn about $60 a pop. Depending on how dense his sperm is and the mobility of his swimmers-critical to surviving the freezing process-a donor can make up to $60,000 over two years, the maximum amount of time most clinics use a donor.

Sixty grand is a pretty penny for a guy who may just be paying his way through law school without considering the fact that he may someday want to raise his own kids.

Further, while sperm donations are screened for STD's, they're not fully screened for every possible birth defect. Dissatisfied couples have sued banks when their offspring has turned out to have a genetic abnormality or health condition. And while sperm banks may promise their donors anonymity, the court doesn't need to respect that anonymity if a child of donated sperm finds him or herself orphaned and in need of financial support. Banks would like to draw a distinction between being a father and being a dad, but the legal system doesn't recognize that distinction.

The next time you see a cargo plane flying out of an international airport on American soil, think to yourself: that thing could be packed full of sperm. Like a giant airborne testicle.

Frozen Assets (subscription) [Time]

Image via O2creationz/Shutterstock