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UWI unit flooded with calls from men wanting money for their ejaculate

Published:Sunday | February 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
File Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (right) joined Dr Shaun Wynter (centre) and Professor Joseph Frederick for the official re-opening of the upgraded Fertility Management Unit at the University of the West Indies.

Scores of men have offered their sperm for sale to the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU) following a report last week by The Sunday Gleaner that the unit was considering paying for sperm to facilitate assisted conception.

Among those making the offer were scores of taxi men hoping to make some quick cash for their sperm.

Head of the HWFMU, Professor Joseph Frederick, said the unit was inundated with calls from individuals locally and internationally expressing their desire to donate sperm in exchange for money or just for the sake of helping an infertile couple.

"The response is bigger than anything we have had so far, it has created a flood of people calling," he said.

"We were surprised that people were calling from outside [Jamaica] and even the countryside," he claimed.

It was reported last week that the facility is considering purchasing sperm locally, instead of depending solely on sperm purchased from the Cryobank in California.

"We have to buy the sperm from overseas and they come down frozen, so if we could get fresh sperm down here, that would be very good," Frederick told The Sunday Gleaner, while noting that "particularly when we have a problem with a couple where a man's sperm is very bad or he doesn't have any sperm at all, we have to order".

 

CALLERS ENCOURAGED

 

Although the unit is yet to determine how much it will be paying for sperm donation, several of the callers were encouraged by the fact that the Cryobank offers qualified men US$1,500 monthly for donating sperm at least three times per week.

However, given their stringent donor qualification process, only a few of the applicants to the bank are generally selected. Among other things, applicants are required to be between the ages of 19 and 39 years old, must be enrolled at a university or have a degree, must be over five feet nine inches tall, and must be in good health.

Frederick said some of the men who called the HWFMU this week were referred by women, who considered them to be excellent candidates. Although the unit plans to target primarily university students for sperm donation, the physical requirements will not be as stringent as those requested by the international sperm bank.

"We would accept what we get and just label them. You can't only put tall men alone, you have to mix it and make sure you write down everything that is important that people would want to know about. We won't discriminate and say well you are too dark or too white," said Frederick.

The noted obstetrician/gynaecologist said the unit has also received calls from several women who wanted more information about their existing egg-sharing programme which allows younger women to get financial assistance with their fertility treatment by donating their eggs to older women who are infertile.

nadine.wilson-harris@gleanerjm.com