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'Swedes, please give your sperm a purpose'

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'Swedes, please give your sperm a purpose'
File picture of an embryo. Photo: Richard Drew/AP
06:59 CEST+02:00
Swedish men should stop jerking off in public places or having unprotected sex and start donating sperm to help single women have babies, argues Stockholm-based writer Matilda Karlsson.
On April 1st this year a change in the law was introduced that makes it possible for single women to have assisted reproduction. But it soon emerged that there is currently an acute sperm shortage in Sweden. However this makes no sense to me. How come semen seems to be lying around everywhere, from pub toilets to subway stations -- but there isn't enough of it being stored at Swedish hospitals?
 
Sweden's semen shortage was highlighted as an important issue by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), following the new regulations which look set to see hundreds more women a year applying for fertility treatment. Yet now, single women are being told they may have to wait up to four years for reproductive help. Therefore it's obvious that we need more donors. More men must be willing to masturbate on the front line.
 
I don't understand why more men don't donate their sperm. In my experience men seem generally pretty free when it comes to releasing it. Having sex without a condom with a range of people after a night out seems to be no problem. Nor does masturbating at a bar or in a quiet subway carriage, something I have unfortunately had to witness.
 
Spunk is being wasted recklessly, but when it comes to giving sperm a purpose, it doesn't seem to be so easy. A friend of mine explained that his sperm is free for anyone to enjoy for pleasure, however using it as an ingredient to create a child comes with a price. Perhaps that is what is missing, a financial incentive to make hospital jars more appealing to donors?
 
It would certainly be attractive for some men to mix business with pleasure in this way. But most people I have spoken to have said it is not really a matter of compensation. The most common reason among my friends is that they just never get round to it. Except they do get round to it don't they? As I mentioned before, our neighbourhoods are drowning in cum. It's just it never gets to the hospitals. It's not fashionable to donate sperm and that must be changed.
 
Giving blood is a stable trend. Three in ten of us donate blood either at a surgery or via mobile blood donation units such as Sweden's 'blodbussen' (blood buses). Just as with sperm donation, there are no big bucks to be made. Giving blood is also percieved by some to be unpleasant -- some people feel sore or dizzy afterwards. This isn't something that sperm donors need to worry about.
 
Here there may be a strategy worth considering to help solve the acute sperm shortage: highlight the problem and make it easier for men to get their hands out and share the results with the needy. Imagine a world where men rushed hysterically to greet the donation bus when it rolled into their street, like children dashing towards an ice cream truck. That would be a good problem.
 
Matilda Karlsson is a writer and journalism student based in Stockholm. This debate article was originally published in Swedish by Metro.
 

Matilda Karlsson. Photo: Julia Bejerot Winkler
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