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America Is #1 in Exporting Sperm

Update Date: Apr 05, 2013 02:33 PM EDT

The fall of American manufacturing has been a common theme during the Great Recession. For years, American companies have shipped jobs overseas, where they can be performed more cheaply, leaving American communities decimated in its wake. In recent years, companies have been quietly building plants and creating manufacturing jobs in the United States, but not in the numbers that would be needed to regain American dominance in that sector. It is a common complaint, among consumers and politicians unlike, that nothing is made in America anymore.

It is true that the United States has switched from a net exporter to a net importer these days. But there is one thing we do export a lot of: sperm. Recent reports indicate that Americans are the largest exporter of sperm in the world by a long shot. In fact, according to Time magazine, in Australia, where 90 percent of the sperm is imported, an overwhelming majority of it is American. Smithsonian reports that, at one Seattle sperm bank, some 60 percent of the sperm donated to the shelter is shipped overseas.

Why is that? Well, it is not because other countries are clamoring for American talents or good looks. In fact, American men are not even considered to be particularly genetically fit overseas. According to The Verge, the reason that American sperm is so popular is not that the quality is so good, but that the process is unparalleled.

In many ways, the United States' approach to sperm donation is finely regulated. Because the Food and Drug Administration classifies semen as human tissue, sperm is regulated in much the same way that organ donation is. As a result, the United States has high standards for screening out donors and testing for diseases.

However, the United States is also surprisingly loose in some ways as well. Many countries do not allow anonymous donations, a regulation that has caused sperm donations to plummet as a result. Men who donate sperm can also be paid as a result, leading to a larger donor pool.

That pool is helped by the ethnic diversity in the United States, which gives it a leg up against other sperm exporting powerhouses like Denmark. That also makes it a boon in countries with various requirements for sperm imports, like in Israel, for example, where imported sperm cannot be Jewish.

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