A fertile solution

Ruth McCullagh

College students get cash through sperm donations

Most students use their refrigerators to chill beverages, perishable foods and other items. Ryan Neubig, junior physics major, uses his to also keep his sperm donation samples at the right temperature. Neubig drops three deposits a week off at the Fertili

Credit: Steve Schirra

The sign said, “Wanted: a few good men.”

For what? Donating sperm, of course!

Ryan Neubig’s roommates thought it was a good way to make a few extra bucks. So did he.

In August, the junior physics major decided to donate sperm to Fertility Solutions in Cleveland. The lab uses the donations that have a healthy sperm count for research, training and quality control, according to Angela Reese, a Fertility Solutions’ employee. They are not, however, used for insemination.

Fertility Solutions does see patients, but most of the specimens are sent to doctors and other laboratories. Although no live sperm are sent, these medical professionals use the samples to help them accurately analyze their patients’ sperm count.

Patients are seen for a wide variety of reasons such as low sperm count, getting ready for artificial insemination or recovering from a vasectomy.

The lab has five active donors, four of whom are college students. Neubig said donors are given sample cups containing a powder enzyme, which liquefies on contact with the seminal fluid. After making a deposit, the cups are refrigerated until they are put in a cooler and taken weekly to Cleveland. Neubig said he usually makes about three deposits a week. Donors are compensated $25 a sample. But the samples must be at least 2 milliliters and contain 250 million sperm.

“They want good samples,” said Neubig. “So you have to learn how quickly your body can reproduce and keep up the right count.” Neubig explained that donors begin giving two samples a week.

“If you give once a day, your body doesn’t have time to build back up the sperm count,” said Neubig. He explained that donors can usually tell if they’ve given a good sample because of volume and because the semen needs to be “nice and white and not too transparent.”

In order to produce the samples, Neubig uses porn downloaded from the Internet to arouse him. Although currently single, Neubig said past girlfriends did not assist with the process. For the most part, they didn’t seem to mind his job. He did say, however, that donating can alter sexual relations.

“It’s something we kind of have to work around,” said Neubig.

Participating in research is a good way for students to help supplement their income. Neubig said he uses the extra money for rent or spending money.

Senior business management major Nyema Bedell said his sperm is worth more than money.

“I think my sperm is priceless,” he said.

“It’s masturbation,” he continued. “I know some people say masturbation is OK, but you can’t be thinking pure thoughts while you’re doing it. I haven’t met anybody who masturbates or watches porn and still has respect for women when they’re done watching it.”

Senior nursing student Sara Shipman understands Bedell’s reasoning, but said people are needed to help with research.

“How else can our society improve if no one’s willing to donate?” Shipman questioned. “We need that research.”

Contact features reporter Ruth McCullagh at [email protected].