Made in America By Hand

When we think of typical American exports, products like vegetables, meat, alcoholic beverages or cotton come to mind.


But with social ideologies and attitudes towards marriage and family shifting, an unexpected demand for American-made bodily fluid is exploding, and has suddenly become one of America’s most sought-after exports. This hot new export is made in America by hand, and it just so happens to be sperm.

The demand for homegrown sperm is up by as much as 40 percent in the last five years, as other countries desire genetic material with the “Made in America” label. US sperm sales are highest in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Israel, Australia, Chile, Spain and Sweden, and demand is set to increase even more in the years ahead.

“In the last three years, we have shipped to about 60 countries,” said Scott Brown, a spokesperson for California Cryobank, the largest sperm bank in the world with $23 million in sales in 2011.

The rapid rise in foreign demand is a result of more liberal attitudes toward marriage and family taking root around the globe, according to Brown.

“It’s driven by the social changes – single women and lesbian couples being recognized around the world as people that should be able to have children and raise families,” he said. “That’s something that in the U.S. we’re really ahead of the curve on.”

The U.S. fertility industry as a whole has shot up from $979 million in 1988 to what is predicted to be $4.3 billion this year, according to Marketdata.

So, why exactly is U.S. sperm so popular you ask? Maybe it’s our good looks, or our exceptional brainpower? Or maybe it’s our relentless work ethic? Well, not exactly…

One reason is that the U.S.’s immigration history has created an array of ethnic diversity. For would-be mothers from other parts of the world, this can give U.S. product a leg up over places like Denmark, another mecca of sperm exporting.

Another reason is the U.S. has some of the world’s highest standards for disease testing and donor screening. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines sperm as human tissue, and regulates it much as it does the donation of organs.

Plus, unlike many countries, the U.S. allows men to donate anonymously and to be paid for their generous donations. This leads to a large donor pool, while other country’s donations plummeted following laws prohibiting anonymous donation or payment. For instance, after Britain ended anonymity for sperm donations in 2005, the wait for sperm was often years.

The U.S. has created the perfect recipe for exporting sperm and being pretty damn good at it, but of course, there are downfalls. For example, U.S. sperm banks do not regulate the number of times a person may donate sperm, and in 2011, a man has popped up in the media, proving to have “fathered” over 150 children through two separate sperm banks. Outspoken advocacy for stricter regulation is abundant, as donor-conceived adults have a strong desire to understand the visible side of themselves.

So, although this multi-billion dollar industry has bridged the gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world in the sperm-exportation industry, this very intimate experience between two very different strangers has also created a gap for donor-conceived adults and the comfortable idea of knowing where we all come from.

%d bloggers like this: