By David Odongo
Public university students admitted to prestigious faculties like engineering, law and medicine have become the target of wealthy women who want to bear children with the ‘right’ genes, multiple sources have told The Nairobian.
The young men, considered to be the sharpest brains to come out of the Kenyan education system, are paid at least Sh50,000 to sleep with older women in no-strings-attached arrangements, whose sole aim is to ensure the woman conceives. Having desirable physical attributes is usually an added advantage.
“It is true, that is something very rampant in our school,” says Thomas Omondi, a third year engineering student. “Students from my school are thought to be very intelligent and some women actually pay to have sex with us so that they can collect our seed. I have not done it but I know three of my friends who have fathered babies with older women. They are usually put on a monthly retainer to sleep with the women then receive a lumpsum payment when the relationship is terminated after the woman becomes pregnant,” he says, promising to introduce our mole to some of the ‘sperm donors’.
True to form, he takes our snitch to Jimmy*, 24, a fourth year engineering student. Jimmy is not very happy about being outed as a ‘sperm donor’, although after being assured his identity will not be compromised, he opens up.
“It’s not something you can be open about, what if my parents know? My father will kill me,” he says.
He admits that for three months he had been on a Sh30,000 retainer from a well-to-do woman in her mid-30s.
“She told me that she wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship. She only wanted to meet me when she was ‘ready’ and would pay me Sh30,000 per month. But I first had to take a medical test,” says Jimmy. He adds that on the third month, the woman got pregnant and gave him Sh50,000 as a last installment. They have never communicated since then and he does not want to know anything about the baby.
“I am a bit glad she cut communication because even though she had promised me that if we get a baby she won’t force me to take responsibility, I was a bit skeptical, thinking she might go against her word,” says Jimmy.
He admits it is an arrangement three of his friends at the school of engineering has had with several women.
“I think women just want intelligent children, so they pick intelligent fathers. There’s nothing wrong with that,” he insists.
But if you thought only single women seek the services of young men like Jimmy, then think twice. “Some of the women who have approached my friends are married. They therefore usually meet once or twice in a hotel. They usually just call when they feel they need you,” says Jimmy.
Other than the individual sperms-for-cash arrangements, university students are also making between Sh4,000 to Sh10,000 donating their sperms to private clinics.
Another student from a separate city university admits that when some of his colleagues are broke, they meet and go to a clinic in Westlands where they donate their sperms, and have their particulars taken, including pictures.
“I have many friends who sell their sperms. It is not something we can proudly declare to the world but among us we share information. It is all about the money,” says a communications student.
George Maina says he has donated his sperms four times.
“I lose nothing, but I gain money. If I could have an arrangement like some of my friends where I get paid to make a woman pregnant, I wouldn’t mind,” says the final-year student. He admits that money from the sperm donation has kept him going through lean patches, especially in his last year at campus.
“My best friend was lucky, he got a woman who was taking care of all his financial needs. We all envied him, and immediately the woman got pregnant, she unceremoniously dumped him and the lavish lifestyle he was so used to ended,” says Maina.
Their ‘sperm donations’ are, however, not guided by any law. The Nairobian was unsuccessful in its attempts to contact the Westlands clinic named by the students.
According to Dr John Ong’ech, the Director of the Reproductive Health Services at the Kenyatta National Hospital, it is estimated that one-fifth of all Kenyan men are impotent, hence the increased need for sperms.
“At Kenyatta, we have a sperm bank that has been in operation since 1995 and every month, up to five women are successful impregnated with sperms from our bank,” says Dr Ong’ech.
He says in Kenya the main causes of infertility in men are oligospermia (a condition where the man has low sperm count) and azoospermia (a condition where men has zero sperm count).
According to lawyer Daniel Odhiambo, there is no legislation to control sperm donation.
“Most of the medics practising are simply guided by ethics. They just adhere to their sense of morality” says Odhiambo, adding that the only time a donation process will goagainst the law is if the donor is coerced or misled into donating.
“Maybe if the medic didn’t take proper steps to ensure the sperm is safe before inseminating a woman and maybe the woman contracts a disease, there can be a basis for a lawsuit but so far there are no laws governing sperm donation,” Odhiambo says.
He says the government in 2004 constituted a taskforce to craft laws and policies that would govern sperm banks and artificial insemination by donors but nothing much has come out of it.
Internationally, the Kenyan sperm has been in demand ever since President Barack Obama won the 2008 US elections. For example, in 2009 the Swedish press reported that the country’s sperm banks had a list of 125 women, who wanted to be inseminated with nothing short of the Kenyan sperm. Kenyans living in Sweden were even asked to report to Karolinska Hospital ‘urgently’ if they were willing to donate.
“In the Department of Reproduction at the hospital, beautiful, young and blond haired Swedish girls are waiting to help with the extraction of sperms. What you need to do if you are interested is to call Karolinska Hospital and say that you are a Kenyan who wants to donate sperms in order to assist those in need ... the collection is done in a bedroom-like environment and that the cute collectors readily take instructions to align them with the donor’s demands especially on the preferred method of extraction. The numbers of donations are restricted to one per week.”
Even Kogello, the birthplace of Obama’s father, was in the news as it had become the centre of ‘Romantic tourism’ after some foreign women came in search of the next Obama.