10 July 2010
By Diya Banerjee
It takes care of their coffee-date, cigarettes and that pair of jeans they have been eyeing for long.
‘‘We prefer students coming in for (sperm) donations,’’ says Dilip Patil, managing director of Mumbaibased sperm bank Cryos International India. ‘‘In return, we pay them adequately for their generosity.’’ Patil adds that while many may want to sign up for the job because it pays well – one sample fetches almost Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 – the donor should ideally also express a desire to help childless couples. ’’It should be an altruistic effort and not a money-making gimmick.’’
In India, where sperm banks are mushrooming at a frenetic pace, the donor community is hardly growing. Morals and ethics are the two stumbling blocks that doctors have to contend with. Senior IVF consultant and fertility specialist Sushma Sinha of Apollo hospital, New Delhi, says, ‘‘The student community is young and able, so naturally they are the best donors.’’
Sperm banks, too, go through detailed checks before they agree on a sample. ’’Currently, we have about 160 donors registered with us, out of which 45 are ready-to-use samples,’’ says Patil. ’’All the listed donors have their physical attributes described in minute detail. Everything about the donor is painstakingly catalogued so that recipients with the single click of a button on our website can access the information and make an informed choice.’’
Is it just about masturbating into a cup and taking home the money? Not quite, say experts.
The procedure is lengthy and requires undergoing a list of examinations. ‘‘A donor needs to check himself for HIV, blood sugar, Hepatitis B and C, psychological mapping, STDs, etc. His first sperm specimen is not used for the procedure and is quarantined for three months as it is probed for all kinds of infections. Then he has to come in again and give fresh samples, which are thereafter used for all IVF procedures,’’ says Sinha.