Family / Family-building

Extreme Couponing: Sperm Edition



In America, everything is for sale. This might be an overstatement, but there is a lot of stuff for sale. And the market for stuff is crowded, which means that salespeople have to compete for our attention. This is the main reason why my inbox is full of coupons.

For the most part I’m fine with this, except for emails selling romantic evenings with older, single, Christian men because WTF, something is wrong with your customer metrics database Christian Mingle. But every once in a while, it strikes me that these typical ways in which we sell stuff feels, well, a bit awkward. Case in point: Sperm.

Yes, that is really an e-mail that I received last summer announcing that sperm was on sale. You, as a visitor to a web site about gay parenting, may already be aware that sperm can be purchased on the internet, because you, like me, may have already purchased sperm for some very meaningful and important reasons: To have a baby. Or possibly for some other reason, like an art project.

But if you are shopping for sperm for an art project, I would not recommend getting it from a cryobank. First, because this could make it an unnecessarily expensive art supply. And second, because the cryobank never really gives the sperm directly to you. Actually, they do, give it very directly and personally to you, but there is a lot of assistance from a nurse. And it doesn’t involve any paint brushes or creativity.

And don’t think that you can get around this, because you’re never really alone with your purchased sperm. I think I just got lucky, because I was alone with our sperm a few times in the elevator when it was my job to carry it (upright!) from the lab to the exam room. But I was not about to open it for fear of spilling it, wasting hundreds of dollars and then having to answer questions from my partner, such as “Tell me again, why you decided to open the vial in the elevator?”

But back to my original point. I can really appreciate the opportunity to save money, especially on fertility treatments, and for whatever reason (probably timing) I was never able to take advantage of one of these sales. Don’t get me wrong, I would have. Heck, I would have bought three vials of sperm instead of just two to get 10% off instead of just 5%. Because if there is anything that I love more than spending money, it’s saving money.

But still this email makes me uncomfortable. Maybe you have already guessed why. No?

They need to stop pressuring me! I can’t handle any more babies! Seriously, do they think I’m a superhero?! I’ve had two kids, the hard way. Isn’t that enough for you people? It doesn’t matter how much money I would save on sperm, I’m just not going to have more babies. Kids are not like shoes. I don’t need a pair to go with every outfit, and they certainly just don’t sit quietly in a closet gathering dust when they’re not in season.

Having a baby, which can be done through the purchase of sperm, is an undertaking that I personally believe requires careful consideration and planning. So, if you don’t mind, here is some advice about the subject.

I would recommend getting support from your friends, family or even a life partner. You might also want to do a review of your health care and time-off benefits at your job and maybe pick up a couple of baby books on Amazon. You should also open a savings account and start putting money in it, because as your probably have learned from looking at your health care benefits, not a lot of this is covered by your plan. And kids are expensive, too. And then, only after that, if you happen to get an e-mail saying that sperm is on sale, should you consider taking them up on their offer. Just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean that you should have a baby.


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  1. I have NEVER received an email about sperm on sale. Why haven’t I? Is it because I’m of a certain age? Is it because they don’t think I should procreate anymore? Are they judging me?? Or maybe the email went to spam. Sperm spam.

    Well, fine. I don’t want their sale sperm anyway. I mean, if they have to offer coupons, it must not be very good sperm, right? I mean, it’s probably about to expire, and any baby I would have with sale sperm would come out stale. Nothing crankier than a stale baby.

    Great post, Sarah!

  2. I paid full price for my sperm, thank you very much! No “buy one, get one” kids here!

  3. Actually, we did IVF for our third and donated our remaining embryos to my wife’s cousin, who went on to have a delightful child with one of them. We now refer to the girls as “buy one, get one free.” Perhaps we should stop doing that as they get older… 😉

  4. So I guess that negates my previous comment…

    • LOL.

      Last week my 3YO was telling a woman holding a newborn baby that she was “frozen when she was a baby.” And she was…. She was a frozen embryo. Her sister was “fresh.” My two girls prattled on about this as though the woman would know exactly what they were talking about. It was kind of awesome.

  5. I’m waiting for a groupon before deciding if I want more kids.

  6. I love this piece. However, as a two-dad household, we really don’t need any coupons for sperm. Let me know when the cupcakes are on sale,

  7. Hi Sarah, and commenters,

    Thank you for the chuckles, and the reminder this world is crazier and more beautiful than anything we previously imagined. I’m sure there’s a quote here for referencing in a future essay!


  8. Pingback: The other L-Word. Well, both L-Words.

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