Dude, Bank Your Sperm. It’ll Get You Laid.

What Women Really Think
Aug. 23 2012 2:30 PM

Dude, Bank Your Sperm. It’ll Get You Laid.

73849260
Vials of frozen sperm. Women go crazy for this.

Photograph by Slim Allagui/AFP/Getty Images

Psst, young fella. Want to get lucky? Bank your sperm in a sperm bank and get a vasectomy.

Laura Helmuth Laura Helmuth

Laura Helmuth is Slate's science and health editor. 

Stay with me here: The latest and most extensive study of the effect of a father’s age on genetic quality came out this week, and the news is grim. A 20-year-old father endows his offspring with about 25 mutations—mostly harmless, but small tweaks to the genetic code that could potentially cause problems for the child. A 40-year-old father bequeaths about 65 mutations. The study also adds to previous evidence that older fathers are more likely to have children who develop autism, schizophrenia, and other brain disorders, probably because so many genes are required for the proper care and feeding of developing brains. A disruption in any one of these genes could have lingering effects.

Advertisement

I know. It’s entirely unfair that biology wants one thing (babies, now!) and culture wants another (maybe a baby or a few eventually, after you finish your education, start your career, travel a bit, and meet somebody really special). But the beautiful thing about modern medicine and technology is that you can overcome biology.

If you choose to bank sperm and get a vasectomy while you are still young, you will immediately get to shut out the societal pressure to reproduce now. (Women who want children have been hectored incessantly about biological clocks for years; they can tell you that it’s no picnic.) Your stored sperm will stay fresh and squirmy for decades. You’re saving time in a bottle.

Plus, chicks are going to dig it. Storing your sperm and having a vasectomy makes you sound considerate, smart, responsible, and forward-thinking. It says that you think men should take just as much responsibility for birth control as women do. Swoon!  Anxiety is the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac, and there are few things more anxiety-inducing than a missed pill or broken condom. (True, some women might think your early planning is gross or weird, but you really shouldn’t be dating those women. Stupid gets boring fast.) And if you do decide to have children, you’ll be better prepared financially and emotionally if you wait for the right time and the right partner, and you can still endow the children with the best your genes had to offer.

This idea is not new. One of the first advocates for the cryopreservation birth control technique, strangely enough, was Carl Djerassi. You may not recognize his name, but he’s one of the heroes of all time, the father of the birth control pill, the greatest invention of the last millennium. He felt kind of conflicted that the pill and other hormonal methods put all the responsibility for controlling fertility on women, and he’s been advocating for better options for male birth control for decades. Back in 1981, he estimated that developing a male pill would take 15 to 20 years. We do now have a male pill—for mice—as of last week. It’s going to be a while before there’s a human version. So let’s not wait for it.

Sure, there’s a remote risk that some catastrophic failure of infrastructure will pull power from the sperm banks and deplete all the back-up generators. Maybe some horrible pandemic or a nuclear war or an asteroid impact will cause society to crumble. Your sperm will thaw and die, and any surviving doctors won’t have the resources to reverse your vasectomy. But do you really want to bring a child into such a world anyway?

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal. 

Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014

Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute

Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.

Books

Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets

Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.

Books

You Had to Be There

What we can learn from things that used to be funny.

Legendary Critic Greil Marcus Measures and Maps Rock History Through 10 Unlikely Songs

Catfish Creator Nev Schulman’s Book Is Just Like Him: Self-Deluded and Completely Infectious

Behold
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?