The United States is one of the very few countries in the world where sperm donors are legally allowed compensation for their samples. As a result, countries like England and Germany suffer from seminal shortages, while we export this shit all over the place. If you’ve ever spent Tuesday afternoons sitting on your broke ass reading craigslist job postings, you’re probably familiar with the whole jig: agencies like California Cryobank offers $300/week for three donations, provided that you meet the requirements and are deemed eligible.
Well, I was broke this summer and I decided to pursue this masturbatory fantasy to see how far I could ride it. I got pretty far into the industry before my dreams were castrated. I’ll explain:
The first step involves passing an online pre-screening questionnaire, to make sure you’re not wasting their time. There are some basic requirements, including a minimum height (5’10″), a “preferred” level of education, and something I found interesting: the lifetime abstinence from gay sex. They’re pretty adamant about this, as a series of questions about your past sexual partners appears throughout the pre-screening and actual screening, worded differently each time, presumably to trip you up.
Various questions about your ethnicity, hair and eye color, &c. follow. A quick google search showed me that Jewish sperm is the most coveted: if you’re a blond-haired Jewish man with at least an M.A., you’re carrying what is known as “white gold” right in your vas deferens.
Well, I passed the online questionnaire and started celebrating immediately: my financial future secure, I dreamed about all the drugs I was gonna by and all the ways I was gonna scheme the center’s drug tests. I would have up to ten real live children who, though legally prohibited from ever contacting me, would carry on my genetics to eternity. I felt like fucking Abraham. I was called to make an appointment and when I got there, I found the office surreal: surrounded by men way too dressed up for the occasion (who wants to masturbate wearing a three-piece suit?), I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful receptionist who was constantly using novel innuendos like “sample” and “specimen” to refer to cum. I hadn’t ejaculated in 72 hours prior, as per the requirement. If you’re chosen to become a donor, by the way, you essentially hand over your jizz rights for six to eighteen months: at three donations a week, you can’t really have sex or choke it on your own time at all if you’re going to produce suitable samples.
And I wanted to be the sperm donor par excellence: I already looked into buying a gym membership, quitting smoking, and just doing everything I could to make my body into a gamete factory for all the single career women in the world to benefit from.
Understandably, I was pretty nervous, and kind of stoned, when I went down to their office. It is rather intimidating, telling a desk guard where you’re going, having him give you an indescribable look… but once you get in there, it’s just all release. Muzak is a company that makes corporate acoustic loops (like elevator music or the shit they play at Macy’s) engineered to make you feel a certain way, generally to make you buy shit from whatever store you’re in. It’s kind of sinister in a psychologically manipulating sort of way, and the quiet music they had on in the office gave me a mysterious erection almost immediately. The thermostat was adjusted flawlessly, and waiting room looked like Ikea threw up on it: a sehr modisch couch faced away from a complex series of curved mirrors that almost looked like fake art. They reflected the pretty receptionist’s face a dozen times in different levels of contortion.
My name was called up and I was led down a hallway and into a small room resembling a medical examination room, this is where I was to extract my sample. The environment was by far one of the strangest I’ve ever seen: a single chair facing a wall with a large flat-screen TV occupied most of the space; a sink, tissues, and various lubricants lined the opposing wall. The most peculiar part, however, was the porn. Fifteen DVDs of very generic, passé porn, some of it very retro: Island Fantasy IV showed a girl bathing under a waterfall on the cover, she was so beautiful that she almost seemed grotesque. I was told to take my time and I did, leafing through the DVDs with a tissue and thinking about how I can’t possibly get off to any of this, I just sat on the chair, completely naked, and looked at the turned-off screen.
I did my business and left, a week later I was informed that I hadn’t been chosen because of my sperm count, which was merely average. Now, don’t make any snide comments asshole, your virility is also most likely average, that’s what “average” means. Also, I have a history of cancer in my family related to Chernobyl radiation exposure; I have three kidneys, something I never told the beautiful receptionist, although I think she somehow knew because her eyes were piercing.
I thought about all the paradoxes of this gig: people who are qualified enough to become donors probably don’t need an extra $300/week to boost their income. If you do get it, it’s a great source of money, but you’re paying for the grime of it all: sitting in a room in which thousands of men have performed cold, utilitarian masturbation, their sweaty asses touching the chair on which your sweaty ass now sits, really jerking it, not to LATINA ASS-POSURE II, but to the thought that you can buy some nifty shit you don’t even need with the cash you’re about to get. The best you can do is justify to yourself this sublime contradiction of late-capitalism:
This is kind of for a good cause, helping people conceive even as the world overpopulates… and I’m gonna do this anyway, I might as well get paid for it, right? It’s not that bad, just a routine to get used to like any other… oh god, oh god, there’s no hand sanitizer left… no, no, it’s all wrong. I’m not made for this.