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Entries in Sperm Donations (3)

Thursday
Aug022012

Free Sperm Site Founder Has Baby Girl, Trying for Number Two

Courtesy Beth Gardner(NEW YORK) -- Like any new mother, Beth Gardner was overjoyed to welcome her baby girl, Lila, into the world.  But how she got there is unique.

Gardner's quest for motherhood began with many nights trolling the Web looking for a perfect match -- and being disappointed.  Gardner and her wife were looking for a sperm donor, one who not only matched their physical and intellectual criteria but also was willing to have a relationship with the child.

Gardner had tried sperm banks but was quickly put off by the steep costs.  She turned to Yahoo Groups and Craigslist but was frustrated by the lack of information on donors.

"I talked about that in a group of friends, and I said, it's really frustrating that there isn't a website out there," Gardner recalled.  "[O]ne of them said, 'Well then you should make one.'  So I did."

In January 2011, Gardner launched Known Donor Registry (formerly known as Free Sperm Donor Registry).  It encourages STD testing and talking to a lawyer before making any decisions with donors or recipients.

Gardner isn't just the founder and manager -- she's also a client.  She and her wife found their perfect match using Known Donor Registry, and on June 19, 2012, they had their perfect baby girl.

"It's been quite a journey to get here, and we couldn't be happier to see our dreams becoming reality," Gardner told ABC News' 20/20.  "We can't thank our donor enough for the selfless and amazing gift that [he's] given us."

Today, Known Donor Registry is thriving, having recently topped 7,000 members.  As the site grows, so will Gardner's family, she hopes.  As she and her wife get into "the swing of being parents," they will work with their donor to try for baby number two next month.

Watch the full story on 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Sperm Donor Has Fathered 87 Kids the Natural Way

Courtesy Ed Houben(NEW YORK) -- Ed Houben, a unique kind of hands on sperm donor who sleeps with women to help them conceive naturally, has so far recorded fathering 87 children, with five more kids on the way.

Houben, 42, looks more like the Dutch historian that he is rather than a sex machine, something that he readily admits.  He also admits that he “barely had sex” when he began donating his sperm a decade ago.

“Ten years ago, I was not exactly David Hasselhoff in Baywatch,” he confessed to ABC News by phone from his home in Maastricht, Holland.

Houben initially donated his sperm the traditional clinical way at a sperm bank, but soon reached the bank’s legal limit for donations.  He then went private, offering his services on the Internet.  And like many of the online donors, he also became an experienced practitioner in “natural insemination” -- in other words, sex.

“From my own experience, statistically natural insemination is faster,” Houben says, referring to records that back his claim.  “If people are coming all the way from Italy, they don’t want to be trying for three years.”

Houben points out that while it’s easy to accuse donors of looking for cheap sex, most of the women he sleeps with aren’t people he would choose as sexual partners.

“This isn’t Heidi Klum coming round and saying: ‘Let’s do it’,” he says.  “It’s genuine people who I would never want to hurt.  I have a good old fashioned Catholic guilt feeling and I would be a candidate for therapy if I did this for the wrong reasons.”

“In the old days I would gladly travel,” he says, “but my job has changed and I have to be around much more.  Now people to come to me.”  He still makes exceptions, however, if his recipients are entering a peak fertile period.

And they come from all over the world.  Houben claims biological offspring in Australia, Israel, Britain, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium as well as Holland.  His oldest child is 9 while the youngest is a newborn.

He is by no means a world record holder.  Houben says he once watched an episode of Oprah about a man who had fathered 200, a number he says he’ll never catch.  But he has been called Europe’s most prolific sperm donor, and he’s happy to accept the title.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan112012

Women Skipping Both Banks for Free Online Sperm

Michael Abbey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Using a sperm bank can quickly break the bank. That’s why a growing number of women have turned to the underground, online world of free sperm donation.

There are websites such as knowndonorregistry.com that offer a list of hundreds of men willing to donate free sperm to thousands of women eager to conceive.

“It’s a weird blend of Facebook, Match.com and a traditional sperm bank,” said Tony Dokoupil, a reporter who spent months investigating the subject for a Newsweek cover story. “You get all [the] medical information, about the health and fitness of this person you might procreate with.”

Watch ABC's 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET for more on the new online world of free sperm donation

After finding a “match” online, women and donors often arrange to meet in public places such as a coffee house where the exchange takes place. The donor generally uses a sterile cup to make the donation in the bathroom. He then hands the sample to the recipient, who can inseminate herself using an “instead cup,” a disposable menstrual cup that fits onto the cervix, or she can take the sperm home or to a nearby hotel to inseminate with a drugstore syringe.

“Having a child is a big deal, and there’s a lot of people out there saying, ‘I don’t want to have a child with somebody that I haven’t talked to, that I can’t meet face to face,’” said Beth Gardner, who founded the Free Sperm Donor Registry website.

Gardner also emphasized the importance of having written agreements and knowing the health of the donor. “Make sure that everybody is writing down and putting their name on what it is that they’re agreeing to do,” she said. “We also highly encourage -- can’t even say how much we encourage -- STD testing.”

Fertility experts and those who monitor the websites caution women to be careful about whom they are meeting on the Internet. "Out there online, not everything is as it represents itself to be,” said Dr. Jessica Brown, a fertility specialist in New York who has helped dozens of women get pregnant.

It’s important to, “weed out men who may be doing this for bizarre reasons who may have some type of psychiatric illness or personality disorder,” she said.

Here are some of the main differences between sperm banks and free sperm donations:

Sperm Banks

  • Regulation:  Controlled by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Cost: A vial or unit of sperm ranges from $200 to $700. Insemination procedures start at $300 on average, with in vitro fertilization costing as much as $15,000.
  • Identity of Donors: Donors are anonymous. Open-ID donors allow their offspring to contact them once they are 18. A Directed Sperm Donor is someone selected by the woman or couple who voluntarily donates his sperm.
  • Parental Rights:  No parental rights
  • Sperm:  Frozen, which banks and doctors say is as effective as fresh
  • Method: Artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization
  • Screening and Tests: Tests are conducted for infectious diseases, STDs and genetic problems. Sperm is shelved for six months and then tested again before it’s available to recipients, as HIV and other STDs can take up to six months, after infection, to be detected. Some sperm banks conduct psychological screenings to detect pathological traits.

Free Sperm Donation

  • Regulation: Not controlled by the FDA
  • Cost: Free
  • Identity of Donors: Donors and recipients can meet face-to-face
  • Parental Rights: Recipients can ask donors to sign an agreement relinquishing parental rights. These agreements might not be legally binding.
  • Sperm:  Fresh
  • Method: Natural (sex) or artificial (syringe/"instead cup") insemination
  • Screening and Tests: Donors and recipients are responsible for their own STD testing and screening.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio