The article’s main focus is on the difference between how male and female donors are seen and treated by agencies. Although all donors are paid, egg agencies focus on how female donors can help families and provide them a “gift,” while sperm banks “portray donation as a job” for men. A press release from the American Sociological Association went on to explain: ‘The application process for donors also favors what Almeling called “gendered stereotypes of selfless motherhood and distant fatherhood.” Although egg donors stood to be handsomely compensated, women who indicated there was a financial motive behind their participation were routinely rejected in favor of applicants who expressed more altruistic motives, such as the desire to “help” infertile couples.’
Here is where The No Asshole Rule comes in; note this long quote from a sperm bank manager, who rejected sperm from otherwise healthy donors that he disliked. This is the earliest application screening-out of possible assholes I have ever encountered:
Aside from personality, the other thing that makes me fall in love with a donor is someone that’s responsible. It is so rare to get someone that’s truly responsible, that comes in when they’re supposed to come in, or at least has the courtesy to call us and say, “I can’t make it this week, but I’ll come in next week twice.” Then of course the second thing that makes him ideal is that he has consistently very high [sperm] counts, so I rarely have to toss anything on him [i.e., reject his sperm sample]. And then, I guess the third thing would be someone that has a great personality, that’s just adorable, caring, and sweet. There are donors, that their personalities, I think ugh. They have great [sperm] counts, they come in when they’re supposed to, but I just don’t like them. That’s a personal thing, and I think, huh, I don’t want more of those babies out in the world (emphasis added).
I guess it is never too early to start enforcing rule! Although I worry that this manager – and others who screen out donors they dislike – are acting on arbitrary rather than meaningful differences among donors.
P.S The complete citation is Almeling, Rene, “Selling Genes, Selling Gender: Egg Agencies, Sperm Banks, and the Medical Market in Genetic Material.” American Sociological Review, 2007, VOL. 72 (June: 319–340), You can read the press release from the American Sociological Association here .