Amid high unemployment rate, harsh economic environment, Nigerian youths embrace sperm donation

Fri, Jul 1, 2022
By editor
5 MIN READ

Health

While the authorities are struggling to contain the activities of bandits, kidnappers, which are fuelled by drug addiction among the youths across the country, the youths are quick to add sperm donations to their long list of disturbing pastimes.  

 By Anthony isibor.

 

WITH more families, cultures and societies in Africa embracing third-party reproduction, there seem to be a surge in the establishment of sperm banks and the emergence of more sperm donors.

Sperm donation, which according to MayoClinic.org, is a procedure in which a man donates semen to assist an individual or a couple have a baby, has become a way out of economic hardship for many Nigerian youths.

According to medical experts, donated sperm can be injected into a woman’s reproductive organs (intrauterine insemination) or used to fertilize mature eggs in a lab (in vitro fertilization). The use of donated sperm is known as third-party reproduction.

They explain that the man, who donates sperm can be known or remain anonymous to the recipient. Sperm donations made to a known recipient are called directed donations. The donated sperms are then stored in fridges, known as sperm banks and can last for years.

Due to the advantages of the third-party reproduction, it has continued to gain wide acceptance, especially among the youths, the gay community, single women, who want to have their own babies without getting married and even in marriages where the man has a low sperm count.

The attraction of this reproduction system has been attributed to the huge financial benefits, as donors are remunerated handsomely.

The recent report by vanguard newspaper stated that Obi, a 21-year-old University undergraduate, who has been a regular sperm donor for the past one year revealed that he was earning between N200, 000 and N250, 000 monthly as far back as 2017.

According to him, once the sperm was screened and certified okay that was it.

“Men! I became a regular visitor to the clinic, he said. “I normally go once or twice a week. I was told to abstain from sex three days before a donation, because if my sperm count is down, they will not pay me,” he added.

However, the practice, which is relatively new in Nigeria, has already begun to encounter some challenges which may hamper its growth.

For instance, the absence of enabling legislations to regulate and drive the practice, especially as it concerns the rights and privacy of donors, the surrogacy parents and the children birthed through this process.

According to Ekundayo Omogbehin, a medical expert with Bridge Clinic, there is need for effective regulation of IVF clinics in Nigeria and that an industry regulator is needed to moderate and audit the claims by the fertility clinics, so as to ensure they do not fly wild cards and deceive unsuspecting clients.

According to Omogbehin, this move will also help check and reduce the cases and incidences of accidental incest and spread of inherent/hereditary diseases, if not diagnosed and treated at the point of sperm donation.

For Adeleke Kaka, a gynecologist at Randle General Hospital in Surulere, Lagos, multiple children could be fathered from the same donor’s sperm if used to achieve many pregnancies and this could lead to increased spread of rare genetic diseases and disorders.

“If the donor has a history of illness in the family, such as schizophrenia, Huntington’s chorea disease, Type-1 diabetes, leukemia, autism or congenital heart disease, he can pass this to his many offspring, thereby increasing the spread,” he said.

Nigeria’s sperm donating challenge is also compounded with the growing recognition of children’s rights to know their genetic parents, especially with the growing desire world over for grown children to know their actual parents.

In addition, some Nigerians believe that the process for clearing a donor before sperm donation will be accepted is too cumbersome and not encouraging.

A poll recently carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, among a cross section of men in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, revealed that sperm donation business in the country is not lucrative compared to the trouble the donors have to go through, especially when compared to other countries.

NAN reported that Mr Kalu Ekene, a lawyer, stated that the procedure of donating sperm is stressful and when compared with the money, it is a waste of time.

“The procedure is ridiculous. I was told I would be paid N150,000 for each donation, but this will be after I have successfully fulfilled all the medical requirements.

“I must undergo medical examination and test negative to HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, sickle cell and some other sexually transmitted diseases.

“The money for the tests and check-up are more than what I will be paid, I found it being time wasting. Sperm bankers in Nigeria should work on the payment,” Ekene said.

Another donor, Patrick Akpan, a civil servant, who said he was asked to remain anonymous, noted that he couldn’t do that after passing the entire requirement he was asked to.

 “If I am going to receive that amount of money, I should be able to know who I am giving my sperm too. What if it is the only child I will be giving away? It is not worth the unknown problems in the future,” Akpan said.

And for Dapo Adeniran, an Abuja-based Psychologist, as simple as sperm donation appears to be, some Nigerians would find it stressful or isolating.

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