Everything you wanted to know — and some things you didn’t — about sperm donation
Because it’s illegal to pay donors here, donated sperm mostly comes from the U.S. and Europe.
How many sperm banks are there in Canada?
The most recent records suggest there are just three that accept donations. ReproMed in Etobicoke is the largest, and the only one that ships semen to people who aren t patients at its clinic. Procrea Cliniques and Ovo Clinique de Fertilit in Montreal also have small donor banks.
A handful of other clinics in Quebec and Ontario supply imported semen.
How did we get here?
The 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act made it illegal to pay someone for their sperm. A 2010 Supreme Court ruling found much of the law unconstitutional because it infringed on provincial jurisdiction, but the section banning paid sperm donation remains on the books.
How much of our donor sperm comes from the U.S.?
Health Canada doesn t track where donor sperm comes from. But a 2010 study commissioned by the federal government found that of the roughly 200 potential sperm donors available to Canadian women at that time, more than 160 were from the U.S. and Europe.
How much do sperm donors get paid?
In Canada, nothing. (Remember, it s illegal to pay donors for semen.)
In the U.S., the industry average is about $100 per donation.
What does the typical American sperm donor look like?
A tall university student, essentially.
Clinics generally require than potential donors be at least 5-foot-10 and between the ages of 18 and 35. But in her research on the subject, Yale sociologist Rene Almeling found that most donors were students, since that s who needs the money.
How many women can U.S. donors inseminate?
There s no legal limit. No government body regulates that aspect of the practice.
Some clinics allow men to donate two or three times a week. In fact, because of the investment sperm banks make to find and screen men with good genetic characteristics, they often require successful applicants to become long-term regular donors, pumping out dozens of samples over the course of a year.
Each ejaculate is then separated into between two and eight vials. That means a single donor who deposits semen once a week for a year could potentially impregnate hundreds of women.
But since sperm banks don t require women to report back when they get pregnant, it s hard to say whether donors such as James Christian Aggeles, who allegedly fathered 36 children, are the rule or the exception.
Nobody s keeping track of that information, said Almeling, author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm. It s just like a giant guessing game.
How much do women pay for a vial of sperm?