By Sabina Mollot
This past weekend, residents of Stuyvesant Town who thought they’d just be sifting through their usual junk mail were in for a bit of a surprise — offers to become sperm donors.
The mailed offers, from the midtown-based Manhattan Cryobank, stated that the company was looking for educated men (those with or pursuing a four-year college degree) who wanted to make a bit of cash for spring break.
To get started, all they’d have to do is apply online using the code “STUY”.
Reached on Monday morning, the CEO of Manhattan Cryobank, Ty Kaliski, said the mailings were sent to all of Stuyvesant Town’s buildings (though not Peter Cooper’s) because of the high population of NYU graduate students and men in their early twenties to early thirties.
“I know this is not something people normally get in their mail,” said Kaliski. “Stuyvesant Town offers the population in a very concentrated area and we’re not too far away.”
Laura Ilowite, the company’s donor coordinator, added, “We heard a lot of NYU students were living in that area.”
Generally, she added, donors are university students or recent graduates who are trying to pay off their student loans.
Repeat donors can make up to $1,200 a month, and are expected to deposit once or twice a week (up to three). Per visit, they can make $80-$110. Donors have the option of remaining anonymous or of providing contact information to children conceived from their sperm.
However, those considering the offer should note that it’s not as simple as just showing up to Manhattan Cryobank’s office on 40th Street, thinking happy thoughts and producing the goods. Donor candidates must complete a physical examination, genetic testing, a social analysis and an infectious disease screening. The process, Ilowite said, usually takes a couple of months. Oh and they also have to be able to produce 10 million sperm per vial. On average, a donor produces two to three vials per ejaculation.
Eligible candidates also must be 18 to 39, though 18 to 35 is considered ideal.
“The quality of the specimen goes down over time,” Ilowite explained.
The education factor is also important to clients purchasing the sperm and proof of a candidate’s education level, like diplomas or transcripts, must be provided.
Out of all the candidates who apply, one to three percent actually become accepted as donors.
“They have a better chance of getting into an Ivy League school than they do of becoming a sperm donor,” Kaliski admitted.
Along with recruiting sperm donors, services offered by the company include sperm banking services for men (sometimes used prior to cancer treatments) and egg and embryo banking.
Scrolling through the company’s websites, potential clients can screen donors based on factors like race, hair color and eye color.
Meanwhile, one Stuy Town resident who received the offer, Michael Alcamo, quipped to Town & Village, “I haven’t decided yet. But I would not rule anything out to keep my apartment affordable.”
Another resident however told T&V she thought the mailings, which came in postcard form, were “disgusting.”
“This is the kind of PR that Tishman and CWCapital have been putting out that people are sending us that,” fumed Linda Ayache. “We’ve never received this kind of thing — this is what they think this neighborhood is? What if you sent your kid down to get the mail? We do not want to be known as the sperm bank neighborhood. I think the new people (Blackstone) should know about this. They bought a sperm bank.”
Another mailing recipient, Mark Thompson, said he was too old to be an eligible candidate, but wondered how the timing of the offer might impact younger neighbors.
“I wonder if the students will be too tired from Santacon to participate,” he said.
UPDATE: Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, was less amused, however.
“The way the postcard reads, targeting young(ish) men who are currently attending a four-year university, clearly demonstrates that the public perceives Stuy Town as an off-campus dorm,” she said. “We once had the image of a stable, long-term community, and we hope to recapture that under Blackstone.”