Danish company is now exporting sperm to satisfy world demand

Oct 28, 2015 at 12:09 a.m. ET
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Donating sperm is super easy, right? Men just go into a donation center, watch a few videos and leave with a check for giving up their "boys."

That's what television and movies would have us believe, but in reality it's a whole lot more difficult. "It's more of a 'job' than it sounds like," Kimberly Krawiec, a professor at Duke University, told CNN Money. Potential donors must go to the clinic twice a week over several months and abstain from smoking, drugs and even sex during the process.

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And that's put a lot of men off donation, leading to a serious sperm shortage around the world.

It's gotten so bad that Cryos International, a sperm bank based in Denmark, has started exporting vials of sperm to over 80 countries, resulting in more than 27,000 babies from the donated samples.

"We export 96 percent of our production," said Cryos CEO Ole Schou. "We're like a kind of factory. Volume and quality is important."

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Schou said there are 1,000 donors on the company's roster who are paid anywhere from $15 to $76 per donation. Once they're tested and approved, they're sold for $45 to $1,137, depending on the potency and donor.

The biggest market? "The highest growth comes from single women who make up about 50 percent of demand," Schou said. "We expect within the next five years they may stand for as much as 70 percent of demand."

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Their biggest challenge now is recruiting a diverse group of men to donate to satisfy demand. "That's a problem for us," he said.

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