These ships don’t just carry seamen

Ships full of Danish semen are descending on the United Kingdom thanks to a new English law ending anonymity among sperm donors. The law, which goes into effect in April 2006, has caused a sweeping shortage of sperm donors in England and the Danes are coming in full force to fill the need.


Ole Schou, founder of the world’s largest sperm supplier Cryos International, is the mastermind behind the armada of love boats, and hopes to float the English shortage all the way to the bank.


The English law, mirroring similar laws already passed in Norway and Sweden, will require donated sperm to be frozen for six months while the donor is tested for HIV, hepatitis C and other diseases. Because of this, donor identities are recorded and will be released to children if they choose to look for their biological “fathers.”


According to BBC News, the fear of identification and doubtlessly awkward reunions have caused a sharp drop in the UK-donated sperm market with donations expected to drop off even more when the law goes into effect.


And that’s where Schou and his spectacular sperm ships come in. According to Wired magazine the Swedish law resulted in a sharp jump in Cryos’ already booming business. Schou said because of a lack of donors, 500 to 800 Swedish couples travel abroad every year for insemination and mostly to Denmark. Cryos hopes to bring the business a little closer to home for the British.


Schou’s scheme is to use loopholes in international shipping regulations. By mooring the ships in international waters free of UK legislation, allowing women and couples to inseminate on board. Other services now illegal in the United Kingdom, such as gender modification are being considered as well. In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Schou explained his plan further. “The idea is to have ships staffed with professional people from the local country,” he said. “UK doctors would be employed and take care of UK patients. There is a market for hundreds of ships in Europe and the most obvious markets will be around the UK and Italy. It is just a question of how quickly they can organize. The finance is there because it is such a huge market.”


Cryos International is located in the university town of Aarhus, Denmark and already exports sperm to more than 40 countries internationally. Because university students are traditionally impoverished, despite their home country, the $40 donation payments offered by Cryos result in abundant willing benefactors. In fact, thanks to Denmark’s remarkably secular outlook and that of neighboring countries, one-third of the world’s sperm industry is found in Nordic regions. Once the Viking invaders moor outside her majesty’s keep this number could jump remarkably.


The ramifications of the change?


The effects on the English semen industry are the most obvious. Since the identification law was passed profits have been flaccid. With easy Danes just a ferry ride away the industry is expected to show even more noticeable shrinkage. And what about the influx of Danish genetics on the English shores? Is this just a second wave of Viking invasions destined to be thwarted by the powerful, if not occasionally horrifying, English heritable make-up or will the life giving sap of a plethora of beautiful Danish boys infuse the British populace with a stunning, natural glow?


And how does this affect those in the U.S.? As the government leans further towards the puritanical right, what other reproductive privileges are we going to risk losing? How long until we’re reduced to paddling out to sperm ships in order to juice our population? It seems like a funny proposition, yes, but I doubt we’ll be laughing at the cocktails Isaac is mixing then.