Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
29 September 2016

Why, as a lesbian unsure about parenthood, I checked out the Tinder-style app for sperm

You can now use your smartphone for selecting semen. I had a swipe to see what’s out there.

By Eleanor Margolis

I’ve wondered, not exactly always but more than once, how I’ll know if I’m ready to have kids. This week – while waiting for a train – I went into Oliver Bonas and liked more than one item, so I guess it’s now. I’m over. Might as well find out what a “pelvic floor” is and pre-emptively compose a few hundred Facebook statuses about how much I need wine.

Doesn’t matter that my care-giving instincts extend to owning a succulent for a week, then quietly placing it (not throwing, mind) in the bin because its increasing greyness started to bum me out. Doesn’t matter that I’m 60 per cent sure I don’t want kids, anyway. I liked Mum things in the Mum shop. Stick a turkey baster in me, I’m done.

Donor Number 77 is a Hungarian stuntman with brown eyes. Time to make a brown-eyed stunt baby, I guess. I can’t afford a cot. But it can sleep in the shoebox where I keep my receipts, and a strap-on from a failed relationship.

Speaking of which, when I’m done writing about it, I should probably remember to delete the London Sperm Bank’s new Tinder-like app from my phone, lest the woman I’ve been dating for a grand total of three months should see it and think I want her to co-parent a half Hungarian, half Jewish, fully ripped infant. Hey, maybe I should just turn up to our next date full-preg with little János Margolis and tell her he’s hers. Trust me, women never get sick of that joke.

It’s easy to dismiss the Tinder model when it comes to making potentially huge decisions. But if people are phone swiping their way to life partners, why not apply the same technique to finding (the ingredients for) a life… child? And, in all fairness, this new app is only Spunk Tinder in the loosest sense. Almost disappointingly, there’s no left/right swiping, no shirtless bathroom selfies (or any photos, for that matter) and no awkward messaging.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

But I do check out Donor 77’s profile. He’s described by the London Sperm Bank as a “fairly quiet individual” with a “deep thinking, sensitive side”. I picture our strong, silent baby. His biological father, 77 (or “Sev”, as I’ve named him), has no allergies. Seeing as the baby is likely to inherit my allergies to pollen, penicillin, people and situations, this is a huge plus. One of his skills, I learn, is “shooting”. I picture my – slightly less allergic than me – little gunslinger and experience either a maternal throb or indigestion.

Having just made the already tricky process of adopting while gay even more so with that thing about using a dildo and receipt box as a cot, a sperm donor may be the way forward if I’m ever mental enough to actually do this.  

A phial of Sev’s glunk would set me back £950. There is an option to add it to my “cart”. Semen seems like an eccentric thing to add to a cart. The last thing I added to a cart was the four-gang extension lead in white I bought on Amazon. I’d say the four-gang extension lead in white altered my life by about 0.000001 per cent. I wonder whether it’s a good idea to add anything legitimately life changing to a cart.

I consider, for a moment, the fact that – yes – if I do decide to have a kid, it won’t be boned into existence atop a John Lewis bed, with some guy called Matt.

But I think I’m OK with that.