Sperm banks in the UK and Australia have a little more trouble getting donations than banks in the United States because they aren’t allowed to pay people for their, ahem, contributions. But luckily, they’ve found something that’s even more valuable to guys than cold hard cash: their sense of masculinity.
A study by City University London has examined the marketing strategies that sperm banks use to attract donors, and found that marketing that emphasizes donating sperm as a show of masculinity attracts more donors than other methods.
"This is to say that if you give your sperm, you are a real man and you are better than all the other men who cannot do so for whatever reason," said Dr Laetitia Mimoun, the study's lead author.
These strategies, according to Mimoun, focus on two different masculine archetypes: the soldier serving their country and the hero rescuing the damsel in distress.
The soldier marketing strategies include recreations of old war posters, pointing to a sense of duty or honour, and the hero strategies focus on images of firefighters or lifeguards, linking life giving with life saving.
These kinds of strategies also use hypersexualized pictures of men to try to drive home the point. You know the ones: glistening, oiled up, super ripped men in their underwear.
There’s no specific number (yet) for how these strategies effected donor numbers, but Dr. Minoun says that the impact is significant.
"This has helped the industry in the UK and Australia to resolve their donor shortages to a great extent," Dr Mimoun said.
Whether donating sperm actually makes you more of a man? Yet to be determined.