Sperm Donation Not Lucrative In Nigeria, Donors Lament 

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A cross-section of men in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has argued that the sperm donation business in the country is not lucrative.

Speaking in separate interviews with our correspondent today (June 13, 2022) in Abuja, some of the men, who are mostly donors, said the business is less profitable in Nigeria when compared to other countries. 

Science Nigeria reports that sperm donation offers a tidy solution to an aggravating problem. 

When a person or a couple wants a baby and needs a different ingredient than what they have to make one, a man with viable sperm is sought to help. 

The process is viewed as a seamless way to create a family. 

A lawyer, Mr. Kalu Ekene, said that the procedure of donating sperm is stressful and, when compared to the money, is a waste of time. 

“The procedure is ridiculous. I was told I will be paid N150, 000 for each donation, but this will be after I have successfully fulfilled all medical requirements.

“I must undergo a medical examination and test negative to HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, sickle cell and some other sexually transmitted diseases.

“The money for the test and check-up was more than what I will be paid. I found it being time wasted. Sperm bankers in Nigeria should work on the payment,” Ekene said. 

A civil servant, Mr. Patrick Akpan, said after passing all the requirements he was asked to remain anonymous. 

“There has been a growing recognition of children’s rights to know their genetic parents and recently a trend toward donor willingness to be identified. 

“If I am going to receive that amount of money, I should be able to know who I am giving my sperm to. What if it is the only child I will be giving away?  It is not worth the unknown problems in the future,” Akpan said. 

He said that even anonymous donors were increasingly being identified by curious children as genetic testing becomes cheaper and more common.

“So, I will advise every man to think this through before becoming a sperm donor in the country because there are no laws backing these procedures up,” he said. 

A mechanic, Mr. Yakubu Tobias, said he was disqualified from donating his eggs because most sperm banks were not interested in donors who were not at least five feet, nine inches tall. 

“The first day I showed interest, my every physical feature was scrutinised and I was asked to provide a childhood photo.

“I was asked to write an essay, or do a taped interview, to be shared with potential buyers, but in the end my height disqualified me.

“I do not see anything wrong with the pay. if I was able to donate like three times, that is cool money for me. It is better than going to ask my people for money or stealing,” he said. 

In another interview, a gynaecologist, Dr. Isaac Shamaki, said that the procedure of sperm donation was safe and effective.

Shamaki said that the most common reason why some men cannot donate sperm is age. 

He, however, said that male fertility lasts a lot longer than female fertility, adding that there is still an age limit for sperm donation in Nigeria, which is 39. 

“Sperm quality does decline with age and we have to ensure we only offer the best sperm for the highest chances of pregnancy for those who use it to conceive,” he said. 

Similarly, an Abuja-based psychologist, Mr. Dapo Adeniran said that as simple as sperm donation seems, some people find it stressful or isolating. 

Adeniran said this was because assisted reproductive technology was a relatively new, rapidly developing field in the country.

“The social and emotional challenges that can arise between the participants in a sperm donation are, for many, uncharted,” he said. 

The expert said that there were two well-established ways to go about the process of sperm donation: “Prospective parents can use a sperm sample from a friend, acquaintance or family member often called a ‘known’ or ‘directed’ donation, or arrange to use a usually heavily vetted stranger’s sample through a sperm bank or fertility clinic. 

“Even decades after these practices have become common, many of those who opt for sperm donation are still consistently surprised by all the ways it can shape the family.  

“In some cases, it strains and, in others, it enhances family dynamics. 

“When I counsel heterosexual couples who are weighing their options as they deal with infertility, I find the male partners more attached to these ideas of ownership than female partners. 

“These men are often grappling with questions like ‘is this my child or someone else’s?’ That’s a tough struggle for a lot of men when I meet them,” he said.

Racheal Abujah
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