Inside one of the world's largest sperm banks

Story highlights

  • Laerke Posselt photographed Cryos International, a sperm bank in Aarhus, Denmark
  • It's a big business that has sent sperm to more than 80 countries

(CNN)Cryos International is located on the fifth floor of a small building in Aarhus, Denmark. It looks like any other office, but inside, it's among the world's largest sperm banks.

Before her two-day assignment to shoot there, photographer Laerke Posselt had never been inside one. She hadn't thought much about them at all, she said.
"That's one of the amazing things about our job," Posselt said. "Suddenly, we're at a sperm bank, a place I hadn't imagined I would go."
Cryos International has sent vials of sperm to more than 80 countries, and more than 27,000 babies have been born from its donors. Donors are paid from $15 to $76 per "donation," and the vials can sell from $45 to $1,137, depending on potency and donor profiles, CNNMoney reported in October.
Photographer Laerke Posselt
It's a big business, but it still feels a little secretive, Posselt said. If people in Aarhus know it's there, they don't seem to talk about it.
But in the Cryos International office, there wasn't a trace of awkwardness between the workers and the donors. It's an office filled with professionals doing their jobs, Posselt said.
The sperm bank's founder, Ole Schou, even wore a silver spermatozoon lapel pin as he posed for a portrait.
"For them, it's such an everyday thing and they're just handling this sperm," Posselt said. "It's something we connect to something very intimate, but it was their whole work life."
The sperm bank is clean and modern. There are images on the walls of bright-eyed babies. In donation rooms inside, the wall art instead focuses on the backsides of long-legged women and the curves of cleavage.

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For most offices, it would seem like a stark juxtaposition. But when the business is creating human lives, Posselt said, it seems to be an appropriate reminder that sex can lead to babies.
"It's two different worlds, but it's pretty much the same," Posselt said. "The setting is just different."
Posselt said she remains interested in shooting families with different structures, including portraits of parents who conceived their children with the help of sperm banks. She's seen the science behind it, she said. Now, she would like to meet the mothers, fathers and children and hear their stories.
"It was interesting to think of all these lives that potentially are in there and they're sending it all out to different parts of the world," Posselt said. "Just imagining this will potentially be a lot of small children running around."