The spread of the coronavirus and lockdowns have kept sperm donors from going in to donate. Then the demand soared.
When the bureaucracy and waiting became too much, many women joined Facebook groups that bypass all the FDA regulations, legalities and systems of sperm banks. They approached the sperm donors directly, who gave it away for free.
Two of the largest Facebook groups are called "Sperm Donation USA" and "USA Sperm Donation."
One US sperm bank increased their sales by 20% in the past year, their compliance supervisor told The New York Times in a report published earlier this month.
Sperm banks throughout the US have adapted quickly to the situation, many managing to reopen by May or June after the first breakout of the coronavirus.
The uptick in operation was also noted by Forbes, which recently published four reasons why they were successful despite the world shutting down: greater operational efficiency, renewed practices that maintain COVID-19 safety and the switch to tele-health.
The last reason has led to another type of stay-at-home order: egg freezing. Egg freezing rose by 41% from June to September, according to a report by NYU's Langone Fertility Center.
Women have not been dating due to social distancing measures, and also "hung out at home and in sweatpants," creating the perfect greenhouse for egg production and freezing.
Still, the supply of donors for sperm banks remained the same, leaving a discrepancy in supply and demand.
The Times has noted earlier this month that demand for sperm has already been on the incline with "the legalization of gay marriage and the rise of elective single motherhood."
“I also think part of it is people are trying to find some hope right now,” Michelle Ottey, the director of operations at another large sperm bank, Fairfax Cyrobank, told the Times.
The critical nature of the legal roadblocks cannot be underplayed though. The Times highlighted the risk on both ends: since the identity of the father is known from the start (it isn't when sperm is acquired through a bank), the mother might ask him for child support, while the sperm donor might also wish for custody of the child.