6 facts 'Vicky Donor' got wrong
The romantic comedy starring a reluctant sperm donor got us talking about sperm donation, but did we benefit from all we saw? Dr Rajan Bhonsle tells us about the misconceptions that the popular film would have been better off without
Shoojit Sircar’s romantic comedy, starring Ayushmann Khurrana as the stud — pardon the pun — who finally consents to spread his seed, did get us to talk about an otherwise taboo subject: sperm donation. But was that enough? Dr Rajan Bhonsle, HoD, Department of Sexual Medicine, KEM Hospital wishes that the makers had bothered to get the details right. Six reasons why:
1} Sperm donors can’t live off the MONEY they make from donations
To qualify for sperm donation, a man needs to fulfil certain criteria, including age (donors are typically between 18 and 40), health factors (donors should have no known genetic or hereditary disease, or disability) and physical characteristics (height, blood group, eye and hair colour, as per the couple’s requirements). Donors are also tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Only after the requirements are met, is a donor approved. Donors are typically paid Rs 500 per ejaculate or semen sample. “The character of Vicky Donor is depicted as someone who does nothing else, but donate sperm,” says Dr Rajan Bhonsle, adding, “In which case, he would not be able to afford his lavish lifestyle.”
2} The IDENTITY of sperm donors cannot be revealed
“The procedure is highly confidential. It is considered a serious offense if the identity of the donor or the couple is revealed,” says Bhonsle, referring to the scene towards the end of the film where the doctor invites all the parents who ‘benefitted’ through Vicky’s ‘donation’. “It is unethical. A donor should never know who his semen has gone to,” adds Bhonsle.
3} Sperm donors are not chosen on the basis of their LOOKS
Yes, donors are tested on a variety of counts before being deemed eligible for donation, but it is the couple that decides on the physical characteristics. “Typically, the donor’s physical features should match the father’s,” says Bhonsle, adding that the film gave a misleading message.
“In the movie, (Vicky) is depicted as this great Aryan guy, but not all couples are looking to pass on Aryan features (to their children).”
4} Having a HIGH SPERM COUNT is COMMON
Sperm count (the number of sperms in one mililitre of ejaculate) and sperm motility (ability to move forward) are two ways in which semen is assessed. The ejaculate of a young, adult male, who has no prior history of fertility-related problems, is expected to have between 300 and 500 million spermatozoa. “For the doctor to pursue the donor for days, because he has a high sperm count is absurd. It is common for men to have a good sperm count.”
5} PORNOGRAPHY is still illegal
“When Vicky doesn’t get aroused, the doctor is shown providing him with pornographic material,” says Bhonsle. “It is unethical for a doctor to do so, and is a punishable offense under the Indian Penal Code,” he says, adding that the room provided for the donor is not supposed to have any sort of material that can be deemed as aiding sexual arousal. “Not even a film magazine,” stresses Bhonsle.
6} Donating sperm is NOT DIRTY
While we can’t entirely blame Vicky Donor for the negative connotations associated with sperm donation, Bhonsle feels that a film set against the backdrop of sperm donation could have shouldered more responsibility in terms of educating movie-going
audiences. “Sperm donors are doing a good job,” he says, adding that he wishes that the message was clarified earlier in the film.