poly: Missing Sperm Donors

From: Robin Hanson <hanson@econ.berkeley.edu>
Date: Mon Jan 12 1998 - 16:11:24 PST

I was considering getting a vasectomy, so I looked into
the possibility of sperm storage as insurance, and so
happened to come across information on sperm donorship.
[http://www.thespermbankofca.org/ is just down the
street from my office.]

Surprisingly, there is more demand for sperm than supply,
and donors are paid $45 per sample! This is strikingly
contrary to standard evolutionary notions of men striving
to spread their sperm far and wide. While such notions
help explain sexual behavior and reluctance to raise adopted
kids, when it comes to something as "weird" as sperm
donation, it seems they just fail.

The analogy between cryonics (life via heads in liquid
nitrogen) and sperm donation (genetic progeny via sperm
in liquid nitrogen) seems tempting. In both cases the
use of weird technology seems to prevent people from cheaply
obtaining what they otherwise spend great sums attempting
to obtain.

Robin Hanson
hanson@econ.berkeley.edu http://hanson.berkeley.edu/
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Tue Jan 13 00:05:20 1998

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