Twentysomethings Sam Kwiatkowski and Allie Conway, who married in 2019, describe themselves as an "LGBT Travel Couple" in the bio of their Instagram account, ALLIE + SAM, where they have 202,000 followers. The couple, who live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, also have their own YouTube channel with over 24,000 subscribers.
Almost all of the photos on their Instagram account feature the young wives laughing and embracing, often accompanied by their photogenic dogs. But last week, one picture featured an unusual prop: a message board announcing a "Donor Sperm Giveaway."
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"We are so, so excited to be partnering with @fairfaxcryobank to (hopefully!) help one of you grow your family!" the pair wrote in the caption of the post that now has over 14,000 likes.
Those who follow their accounts, like the post, and tag their friends will be entered in the giveaway. A winner, to be announced August 20, will receive credit for one vial of donor sperm of their choice from Fairfax Cryobank, a sperm bank headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. They're even throwing in free shipping.
The idea of a social media giveaway featuring the literal stuff of life has the internet feeling some mixed emotions.
"I don’t know how I feel about this," commented Instagram user lindz_27. "I myself am a sperm baby. As the child gets older, they will ask questions about who and why. It’s a very emotional process not knowing what makes you (you). And to have this as a giveaway could make it more difficult."
"Do they care what I do with it or?" podcaster and internet personality Tyler Oakley joked on Twitter.
But other commenters called the idea of winning a free vial of sperm a "dream come true" and remarked on the sometimes unattainable costs of trying to have a family through infertility treatments.
"My fiancée and I are looking to start a family," wrote one follower. "However, with the ridiculous prices fertility clinics charge, it’s looking very slim. Please use your public platform to show how hard it is for LGBTQ+ couples to start a family via this route."
"We just started our IVF process," commented another. "This would be a dream/big time saving in the already huge bill. Thank you for the opportunity, ladies!"
According to the Fairfax Cryobank website, a customer can expect fees between $650 and $1,050 when purchasing a vial of sperm. Shipping alone runs around $250.
Though the internet seems a little thrown by the concept — "Remember when influencers used to give out school supplies?" @voidesire asked on Twitter — Kwiatkowski and Conway's giveaway post now has almost 9,000 comments, almost all of which are followers tagging friends to try to win the sperm.
Some followers decided that in the case, the end might justify the means.
Twitter user @flamemanged said, "I mean, it's phrased in a funny way, but I actually don't see anything wrong with this if it goes toward a wlw couple who wants to conceive a child but doesn't have the extra funds to pay for a donor."