If you're Canadian and looking for a sperm donor, you may find that it's a lot more complicated than you'd have hoped. Canadians have been sharing donor semen via social networks, and while I'm sure it's not an easy decision for women to make and one they take seriously, Health Canada says absolutely not -- in fact, it's illegal to use donor semen no matter what precautions you take and methods you use, unless you go specifically through their designated hoops.
However, it is legal, of course, to use donor sperm ... if you're willing to have sex with the donor.
Now, I'll be the first to agree that shipping untested semen to strangers is a really bad idea. However, I'm sure this isn't something women take lightly. It's not Craigslist, people, you don't just post "WTB: Vial of Man Juice, any will do" and then take the first person who sends you an email. Much more akin to dating services, information is shared, things are discussed, like family histories, and likely even requests are made to show testing and medical records.
Now, of course there are going to be women who treat it like Craigslist, but that's not going to be the norm, nor should it be the basis for regulations or laws.
But Health Canada says that you must have both parties tested prior and post donation, and the semen must sit for a minimum of six months in quarantine. So, you know, if you and your best male friend decide together to go get tested, and have him donate for you, it's meaningless unless you do it the exact way the law requires, and then you still have to wait six months while the semen just ... sits there ... in containment -- fresh semen is actually restricted. They have a National Inspection Program that checks out donation facilities to make sure they comply with Semen Regulations. According to their laws, donor semen is actually classified as a drug.
What's left, if you want to be law-abiding and not have legal action taken against you, is to have sex with your donor.
I'm not entirely sure what Health Canada expects to accomplish with their latest announcement. People who go through alternate avenues to get donor semen are likely already aware of the legal process and find it prohibitive and overly restrictive -- after all, if it were affordable and easy, who wouldn't go the legal route every time? Instead, rather than trying to provide legal and safe alternatives, they just condemn everyone who doesn't follow current restrictions. It doesn't take a genius to see that that's not really going to accomplish anything.
Now of course, breaking laws isn't good. Adoption, fertility treatments, and even donor facilities can be outside the range of the majority of citizens, so no one should really be surprised that they find ways to level the playing field to have children of their own. What would make more sense it to help them do it safely in the first place.
Would you get donor semen off the Internet?
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