EARLIER, IT was tough getting a sperm donor in India. “But now, we get phone calls and emails from men wanting to donate,” said Dr Anjali Malpani, director of Malpani Infertility Clinic. Sperm banks report an increasing incidence of “high IQ people” coming forward as donors- CEOs, MBAs, accountants, engineers, executives, paramedics and secretaries, pointed out Malpani.
Dr Iqbal Mehdi, director of semen bank Cryo Lab, has student donors from IIT, JNU, MAMC, DU and IGNOU. IIT samples are in great demand. But medical students are in great demand. But medical students are the staple of most sperm banks, and constitute 50 percent of donors, said infertility specialist Dr Anoop Gupta of Delhi IVF and Fertility Research Centre. In India, donor anonymity is mandatory.
At Rs 300-600 per sample, money isn’t an attraction, said Kapil (name changed), a software engineer, who has been a donor for the last three months. “I won’t waste time commuting from Noida to Delhi to get the money,” he added.
Fertility specialist Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour of SCI Healthcare recently received a request from a 22-year-old working with a leading tax consulting firm, to donate only on a ‘no money’ condition. “I will be doing very little to fundamentally change the lives of 10 families (as per ICMR guidelines, semen of one donor cannot be used for more than 10 successful pregnancies).” The aspiring donor said, When he has his own children, will he tell them about this? “Definitely. Among the values I would like to inculcate in my children would be to help fellow human beings.”
Counselling donors is also important, to ensure there is no ‘attachment’, said Dr Sohani Verma, in charge of IVF at Indraprastha Apollo.