THE BOYS ARE
Having done my part to populate the planet, I decided
about five years ago to sever my ties to the reproduction process.
While many men cringe at the mere mention of the
V-word, I had little problem with the concept. It was my turn to
contribute to the birth control merry-go-round and I was determined to
make the final cut for the team.
There was something about the "final" that
bothered me, though. I kept making appointments for the procedure, only to
cancel each one at the last minute. I was 99.99999% certain I was
permanently retiring, and unlike Michael Jordan, there wasnít going to
be much pressure to come back.
But the .00001% nagged at me. And thatís when I
discovered sperm banks.
Someone had casually mentioned the idea, and I
immediately thought it could solve my problem. But where would I find a
place to take the little guys?
Not a problem. There it was, naturally, in the Pacific
Bell Yellow Pages under the heading "Sperm Banks." Very matter
of fact. No pretensions. You want to bank your sperm, look under sperm
banks. At the time, there were only two choices, Cryogenics in Palo Alto,
or The Sperm Bank of California, located in Oakland.
Nothing in Marin, where I live. That was too bad. I
would have preferred to keep the boys closer to home, but I also sensed
that I had to let go a little.
Given the choice of Palo Alto or Oakland, I have to
admit I preferred Palo Alto. Storing the future of mankind next to an
intellectual powerhouse like Stanford just seemed like the right thing to
do. If they wanted to use a few of the little fellers for research, all
they had to do was walk a few blocks and pick Ďem up.
Then I called and got prices. Obviously, Cryogenics,
with its fancy name, was the private sperm bank. I needed to go the public
No hoity-toit names for The Sperm Bank of California.
It is what it is. It wouldnít have mattered what they called it, though,
because the price was right.
Fifty dollars a year, per deposit. That was it.
Cryogenics was five or six times that much. I never checked amenities, but
considering my sperm would be frozen solid I couldnít think of anything
Cryogenics could offer (tiny blankets, maybe?) that would warrant the
I went with The Sperm Bank of California. I got all the
details and made the initial monetary and, you know, other deposit. Then,
knowing that I could reproduce with nothing more than a phone call (the
bank had promised easy withdrawal) I went ahead with the "minor"
(if itís not you) operation which guaranteed no future surprises.
All was fine for awhile. Iíd get the yearly invoice
for the bank charge, write the check for $50, and go on with my life,
happily telling people from time to time that I had millions in frozen
assets stored in an East Bay bank.
But after a few years, like any parent, I began to
worry. During one of our rare heat waves, I felt pangs of guilt, realizing
I hadnít even checked on the boys to see if they were okay.
My mind began racing. Was The Sperm Bank of California
just a front? Were they still in business? Were my sperm, at that very
moment, swimming aimlessly in some gutter, wondering how I could neglect
I couldnít help itóI called. The receptionist
answered, asking how she could help. I stuttered, I stammered, and finally
came out with the only words that were appropriate. "How are my sperm
She got my name, put me on hold for an anxious minute
or two, and then came back and said they were fine.
And by the way, she noted, they had just moved The
Sperm Bank to Berkeley.
I smiled proudly. At 1/6th the price of the
private bank, my sperm were now living, sort of, in a University town. And
not only that, the little guys were slowly making their way home.