Making the cut as Vicky Donor is no child’s play
Trying to do your bit for childless couples is not as easy as you or a new Bollywood flick would have you believe.delhi Updated: Apr 28, 2012 00:22 IST
Trying to do your bit for childless couples is not as easy as you or a new Bollywood flick would have you believe.
That's what we found after calling more than a dozen clinics advertised as 'sperm bank(s)' over the internet and visiting half of them in the Capital over two days posing as college students.
The idea was to find out how easy or tough it was to make money without pain.
Instead of being handed a cup and being directed to a booth stacked with adult magazines, we were confronted with complicated forms, long interviews, longer incubation periods and sniggering female attendants everywhere, be it small clinics in east Delhi or super-speciality hospitals in more affluent neighbourhoods in south Delhi.
The payment, amused attendants informed us, ranged from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500, but only if you made the grade. And to do that, you'd need to be tall, fair and handsome with an IIT or IIM degree.
"Just think about it. Would you just let your wife be impregnated by a random person's semen? Wouldn't you want the person to look good, be educated, intelligent and not have any diseases?" asked the peeved attendant at a popular sperm bank in central Delhi, when she was asked whether we could be part of the procedure 'just like in the movie'.
"We have a bank but you will have to take an appointment with our director, who will interview you before your sperm is quarantined for at least 90 days and tests are conducted," said an attendant at a grand hospital in central Delhi.
"It's not child's play, you see. Non-eligible sperm can lead to several complications for the receiver. E-mail us your picture and resume. We might get back to you," said a receptionist at a clinic in southwest Delhi's Uttam Nagar. Not child's play, indeed.
"Vicky Donor gives a very glamorous version of what sperm donation is actually about. But then, to its credit, it has managed to put infertility and semen donation in public discourse," said Dr Shivani Sachdev Gaur, director SCI Healthcare and ISIS Hospital.
Ever since the film's release, she claimed she's been bombarded with inquiries from "enthusiastic young men" about when and where donations could be made.
"In real life, you have to email your resume and photograph to our director who then interviews you before you can even be considered," she said.
The clinic maintains a database of healthy donors based on blood group and physical appearance and calls them in whenever there's a client.
Posing as fresh college graduates looking to earn some extra pocket money didn't work at a small in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic in east Delhi's Preet Vihar, where the reporters were asked to deposit R1,000 as pre-registration fee-cum-security deposit.
"After you make the deposit, we will test to see whether you are eligible to become a donor," said the doctor.
"If you're not eligible to donate, we'll deduct the fee for testing your sperm from the security deposit; if you're eligible, you will be reimbursed your deposit and paid Rs 500 for each subsequent donation," he said.
After some more clinic hopping, which reaffirmed that sperms were worth peanuts, the two of us packed our resumes and concluded that it's easier to find a real job even in these days of recession.