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News & Music Contributors
Fri October 28, 2011
Hey is that a ... sperm bike?
You might see a strange looking bicycle around Seattle one of these days and think – Sperm?
And you’d be right! A Seattle sperm bank is using the stylized bike to deliver donated sperm to fertility clinics around town.
The bright blue bike owned by the Seattle Sperm Bank has a refrigerated tank shaped like a giant sperm that uses liquid nitrogen in the freezing compartment for deliveries. The company is owned by a Danish sperm bank that uses the same transportation in Copenhagen.
Managing Director Gary Olsem says it’s not just marketing – there’s an environmental message:
“Our sister company is in Copenhagen, and Copenhagen is a very bike friendly city,” he explained. “The owner there is a huge bike fanatic and does triathlons and bike marathons all the time… he was looking for a CO2 friendly way to incorporate the bicycling and getting the samples from the sperm bank to the fertility clinic, where they're actually used for fertilization. And he came up with this idea of a sperm bike.”
Still in training
The Seattle version of the bike will be motor assisted, Olsem said, because of the hilly terrain. He said the bike is 10 feet long and “pretty heavy, so to get up a hill would be a lot of work.” It can cruise about 20 mph. The company expects to start making deliveries on the bike in the next week.
“It just came on Monday, we are practicing now,” he said, “It’s a hard bike to maneuver.”
And marketing, too
However, Olsem said, marketing did play a role in design of the bike and in the location of the sperm bank itself, which has been in operation three-plus years. The donation site is close to the University of Washington. The bike and other marketing is partly aimed at college students at the nearby campus.
“We are next to university of Washington because there's a good pool of donors there,” Olsem said. “People want to pick donors who they relate to, or they think fit their idea of what a partner would look like. Or, they're trying to match their own husband who is infertile.”
A college student can get up to $60 a donation and can donate up to 3 times a week for one year. They currently have roughly 30 donors a day.
On the Web:
- Video of the Seattle sperm bike in action: