No need to sheepishly shuffle into your local sperm bank and have a nurse awkwardly explain where the pornographic magazines are. The Cleveland Clinic has reportedly debuted a new sperm banking kit entitled “NextGen” that comes right to said gentleman’s house. After collecting those spermies in the luxury of his “man cave” or bathroom, he just packs the specimen cup into a return packet with some ice. The return address is already on there and, with the haste of an overnight express label, that semen is out in the world.
And “NextGen” is hardly alone, as University of Chicago has a similar kit for men that they call “OverNite Male.” Men are free to use this seemingly Netflix-inspired service for a variety of reasons: to check fertility, to participate as a sperm donor, and to “secure” fertility before cancer treatments.
According to msnbc, most sperms banks function locally anyway, so this DIY method shouldn’t exactly compromise the viability of the specimen. This service will cost you a bit more though than a streaming online movie membership though, as University of Chicago prices their sperm kit at $50.
But the intention of “NextGen” is primarily about marketing according to Dr. Robert Oates, who insists that this strategy hopes to appeal to men who would otherwise not be too keen on sauntering over to the sperm bank. That plan thereby suggests that “NextGen” may be tapping into a cohort of men who otherwise might necessarily need these services, raising some questions for IVF couples.
Not all experts are even sold on this whole mailing sperm system, as Cappy Rothman, the founder of the world’s largest sperm bank, describes this process as “gambling.” He told the outlet:
“The survivability [of sperm] is poor.” His outfit experimented with such kits, once over a decade ago and again more recently and “we found it unreliable. We did not think the results were good enough to encourage people to do it.”
Sperm samples being popped in and out of UPS trucks doesn’t exactly strike me as space age in our modern era of childrearing and child conceiving. However, when bank-sanctioned donor sperm starts arriving in tiny red envelopes directly at the homes of IVF participants, perhaps then we can bring this Netflix metaphor full circle.