Before his death in 1994, American comedian Bill Hicks got much mileage from a horrific riff on the miracle of childbirth. To Hicks, those who regarded as miraculous the phenomenon in which millions of sperm attack an egg and one fertilizes it were severely deluded. A miracle was, in fact, raising a child who wouldn't talk out loud in a movie theater. He maintained that he had "wiped entire civilizations off my chest with a gray gym sock," and that was the real miracle. If Hicks were alive today, he'd be making more money than ever from the routine. All he'd have to do is collect all that sperm and sell it to Canada.
The United States foists itself onto its northern neighbor in many areas, from clothing fashions to household items and our megalithic entertainment industry. And now, according to the National Post business magazine, a new cross-cultural market has emerged -- the "jizz biz." By one estimate, Canada now imports $3 million worth of American sperm each year.
Xytex Corp., a sperm bank in Atlanta, says it ships much of its tadpole total -- between 30 and 40 percent -- directly to Canadian fertility clinics. In addition to its competitive prices, Xytex attributes its success to the fact that many sperm recipients prefer donors who don't live too close to them. (Imagine if you were a Canadian woman who was fertilized at a clinic by a stranger's sperm, and then you kept bumping into the donor at the local supermarket. What if he turned out to have an annoying, whiny voice?) America is apparently far enough away to prevent such problems.
Xytex touts its wares by posting its donor information on a Web site. Clients can click through biographical information, photos and essays in their search for the right genetic personality to fertilize their egg. Even if it's from a Yankee.
So why don't Canadians have their own sperm-donation system? Longtime market leader ReproMed of Toronto, also provides dossiers on donors to its clients, but apparently can't stop Xytex from cutting into its business.
In the meantime, freeways and airports continue to clutter up with sperm shipments from Atlanta, and the cultural crossbreeding program remains on the upswing. Looking into these statistics, one can deduce a couple of things: Perhaps Canadian women simply don't want to mate with Canadian men. Or Canadian men aren't interested in donating their sperm. At the very least, to keep the bloodlines pure (or as pure as Canada can be, anyway), somebody in Canada should start putting some more sperm on ice.
And then again, maybe American men just have a lot more time on their hands.