Sperm for Tickets
« We need sperm donation, you need festival tickets; Wanna strike a deal? »
This is the new slogan for a Sperm donation advertising countryside you could read in Ireland. If you like festivals and concerts but cannot afford the tickets, if luckily enough you’re a man, you know what you have to do: give away some of your sperm. You don’t have to be Irish, you could send your sperm through DHL or any courier, in a special container, from anywhere in Europe.
This advertisement was launched by Irish fertility clinics that desperately need sperm to restock their sperm banks which have decreased by 40% in the past 4 years.
This initiative, called Sperm for Tickets, created a website in which you can find all the details you need if you are interested in taking part in the re-populating Ireland program. The website is registered to another Irish site, Area52, a technology and ideas based innovation group, with a link to Dublin University.
The Area52 team is made of people coming from different backgrounds: graphic design, marketing and web design, management consultancy…their common point: crazy ideas. « Any idea will be mulled over, no matter how strange. There was once a proposal for a blue banana idea to go to market! Most of our ideas are more sane than that though » says the website.
A statement on the Sperm for tickets site now says that all this was just a marketing exercise for a private fertility clinic, though they admit this could be a great idea for a later eventual application.
Many people thought this was just a joke, and it is somehow. But this joke brings to light some real problems concerning sperm donation and the conditions in which they are done.
« According to an August 2007 New Scientist article, US sperm banks are not required to verify the accuracy of information provided by donors. They also don’t have to test for genetic diseases or even have contact info on donors or recipient families. Perhaps because of this lack of regulation, five children in Michigan who were conceived from a single sperm donor (four different mothers) were found to have inherited the genetic mutation that causes severe congenital Neutrogena.
The Donor Gamete Archive (formerly known as the Donor Semen Archive) run by the Cayman Biomedical Research Institute (CaBRI) and Donor Sibling Registry are attempting to remedy the situation by making it possible for people who were conceived through artificial insemination to track down their genetic relatives. The DGA is compiling genetic and personal profiles on sperm and egg (gametes) donors. Gamete donors who join the Archive will receive X-STR and Y-STR data. If there are any matches with a donor-conceived person, donors will be notified. Archive participants can also ask for medical genetic testing.
Here’s an example of the types of genetic screening sperm donations undergo at NW Andrology & Cryobank* in Spokane, Washington.
* Three generation family health history with no indication of major genetically linked disease.
* Cystic Fibrosis Mutation Analysis (done on all donors)- Some donors have only basic CF test panels looking for the most common 25 CF causing mutations, but almost all of our donors have had the entire CFTR read. This testing provides a 99% detection rate for all races and is the most comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis screening available anywhere! Complete CFTR testing is performed by Ambry Genetics Laboratory
* Thallasemias through CBC (complete blood count)
* Tay Sachs, Sickle Cell, if indicated by donor history and/or blood panel (CBC) »
Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 12, 2008 in DNA Fun, DNA Testing
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