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Science

What's the duty tax on sperm?

Posted by Hannah / October 20, 2005

sperm.jpg Men of Montreal, your sperm are in trouble. And ladies, well, you may be looking south of the border for a fresh shipment of swimmers. Sperm was on everyone's, uh, lips, no, change that to minds, this week down at the Palais des Congrès, where the American Society of Reproductive Medicine held their annual meeting.

First the science, then the policy. Smoke and smog are bad for those little guys. A blast of nicotine and they're out of the gates faster than you can say 'geronimo'. But they've got no stamina, so they poop out early and most of them never make it to the egg. Who knew cigarettes were a form of birth control?

And about the smog. One not so fine day, researchers in Sao Paulo decided they'd look into the sex disparity cropping up in several neighbourhoods, where plenty more female children are being born than males. It turns out that guys ejaculate less sperm carrying the Y (male) chromosome than those carrying the X (female) chromosome, and it correlated with the level of air pollution. Eeps.

No buns in the oven.
There are about 5,000 Canadian women who seek out sperm donors every year. When the Assisted Human Reproduction Act was passed into law in 2004, it made selling sperm illegal, much to the chagrin of thousands of college boys looking for beer money. Donors used to get $50-100 a pop, and could contribute as many as three times a week.

There's always been a lot of talk about whether the paycut would affect the number of Canadian donors, but there's never been any data. Selling your sperm isn't as easy as it sounds. There is a rigourous screening process that cuts out most men due to their medical history, age, or life styles. A little more than half of those who respond to ads make the first cut. Then there is a battery of medical tests done in the lab. Repromed recently put the theory to the test. Of 301 men interested in donating their sperm, only 3 were accepted into the program. Problem was, only one man agreed to continue without compensation. I guess you might call him the father of the nation.

I wonder what Canada Post does with a package marked Sperm. Do not drop.

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