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Entries in Sperm Donors (7)

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

Thursday
Jul122012

Woman Anonymously Sues FDA for Right to Free Sperm

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- An Oakland, Calif., woman and her long-term female partner wanted to start a family.  But she didn't want to have heterosexual intercourse, nor did she want to use a medical intermediary -- like a sperm bank or doctor -- and pay a fee to get pregnant.

Instead, she wanted to use a free sperm sample from a man she had chosen, and inseminate herself.

However, Food and Drug Administration regulations state that "any establishment that performs one or more manufacturing steps" for donating sperm samples -- from producing a sample, having it analyzed, storing it, to providing it to a recipient -- must register with the agency and get tested for communicable diseases that may be transmitted through artificial insemination.

These regulations may also apply to uncompensated donors, like the one she and her partner sought out.

After the recent cease order issued by the FDA to Trent Arsenault, a free sperm donor from Acampo, Calif., ordering him to stop "manufacturing" and supplying couples with sperm who are seeking to get pregnant, the woman wanted to err on the side of caution.

As a result, she is suing, under the name Jane Doe, the commissioner of the FDA and the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, claiming its regulations violate her rights to privacy for telling her how she should be allowed to conceive a child.

"This means the FDA can reach into your bedroom and tell you how to procreate," said her lawyer, Amber Abbasi, chief counsel for regulatory affairs at government accountability advocacy organization Cause of Action.  "The FDA taking the position that donors, even when there's no commercial element, are 'an establishment,' just like a sperm bank and have to register.  This is a serious burden on the reproductive freedoms of both the recipient and the donor."

Abbasi said her client wanted to obtain fresh donor sperm from an individual she selected and implant it herself in a process known as intracervical artificial insemination -- injecting the semen into her cervix -- using a syringe, which does not require medical supervision.

According to the lawsuit, Doe felt it was important for the biological father to be present in her child's life, if he or she so desired.  Doe did not want to visit a sperm bank for an anonymous sample, a process noted to be "costly and burdensome" for couples looking to get pregnant.

Doe had selected a donor and did a review on his personal and medical history before attempting to conceive through intracervical insemination, said the suit.  She did get pregnant, but she miscarried.

Doe wants to try again, but is concerned that "her choices of conception partner and method of conception are directly barred by FDA regulations," and is worried she will be charged with a federal crime if she opts to get pregnant in the way that she wants to, according to the lawsuit.

Doe's suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 2.  Abbasi said the FDA has not responded, and no court date has been set yet.

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

Friday
Nov252011

Man, 36, Claims Ex-Girlfriend Stole Sperm to Impregnate Herself

Getty Images(LONG ISLAND, N.Y.) -- A father of 4-year-old twins is claiming his ex-girlfriend stole his sperm and impregnated herself at a fertility clinic and is now suing for full custody of his sons.

Joseph Pressil, who currently lives in Long Island, N.Y., had moved to Houston, Texas to be with his ex, and even bought a house there. Now, he says, he has no plans to go back.

"This was so shocking to me," Joseph Pressil told ABC News. "I met her in Miami, Fla., in May 2006. I remember that day," said Pressil, 36. "That was the beginning of the end."

The couple broke up at the end of November that same year and just three months later she told him she was pregnant. They eventually proved paternity with a DNA test, and Pressil, a telecommunications manager, began paying more than $800 a month in child support.

Then, this February, he discovered a receipt in his mailbox for sperm cryopreservation.

Confused, he called the company that had sent him the paperwork, Omni-Med Laboratory. They referred him to the Advanced Fertility Center of Texas where a manager asked him to sign a medical release form.

He told ABC News that he never heard back, so he decided to pay a visit in person. According to the lawsuit, the manager said the clinic assumed he and his ex were married when they performed the successful in vitro fertilization procedure that resulted in the birth of his twins. The clinic refused to share anything more because of the HIPPA privacy rule.

Pressil confronted his ex, who according to him said, 'Oh you're not stupid. I thought you knew.'

Now, he says, her behavior during sex makes more sense.

"At the time she was giving me these condoms, and she said because of her fibroid these condoms were not lubricated, and would not affect the fibroid enlargement," he explained. "Every time she would give me these condoms after the sex she would leave the room. She'd come back, give me something to drink. We always had sex in the morning and she'd say she had to go do something. She would leave about 10 or 15 minutes afterward."

According to the Mayo Clinic website, sperm ejaculated outside of the body can survive, at most, for a few hours.

Pressil says he never discussed IVF with his former girlfriend and they had never intended to have children.

Under Texas' Uniform Parentage Act, an unmarried man must consent to the use of sperm for assisted reproduction, and that consent "must be in record signed by the man and the unmarried woman and kept by a licensed physician."

The clinic claims to have that document, but Pressil told ABC News his signature was forged and "doesn't match."

That's why Pressil's lawyer, Jason Gibson, says this is a case of theft.

He currently has joint custody of the children, and plans to seek full custody "because of all her scandalous ways."

In the lawsuit he's asking for a jury to determine how he ought to be compensated for child support and mental anguish.

The entire incident is simply "embarrassing" he said. "How do you let someone do that without knowing?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

Sperm Donor Offers Services for Free, with No Anonymity

Courtesy Trent Arsenault(FREMONT, Calif.) -- You can learn a lot about Trent Arsenault from his web page, which is filled with a meticulous gallery of photos from his baby years to adulthood, all chronologically catalogued.

The Fremont, Calif., 36-year-old is single, blond, athletic, 6-feet, 1-inch tall, half German and one-quarter Irish, and a former U.S. Naval Academy midshipman.  Arsenault also notes publicly that he is free of sexually transmitted diseases -- he includes recent test results on his site -- and is available as a sperm donor.

Since 2006, he has sired 15 progeny, including a set of twins, with a pregnancy history that includes a few miscarriages -- also logged.  And he's willing to let any future offspring contact him.

What does he charge?  Nothing.

"I am a donorsexual," Arsenault told ABC News.  He declined to reveal his sexual orientation but admits it's unlikely he will have a family of his own.

Arsenault has made 328 semen donations to 50 women, mostly lesbians in the San Francisco area.  They are grateful that he doesn't charge and dispenses with anonymity.

He is part of a do-it-yourself fertility movement that caters to couples and single women who say they cannot afford the high cost of sperm banks.  They also want their children to know their biological father.

Three Google sites, at least six Yahoo Groups and a dozen more fee-based websites cater to those looking for free sperm donors, according to a recent article in Newsweek.  Most are in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Arsenault is strict about his donation schedule -- only once in 24 hours.

Fifteen minutes before the "hand-over," he gets a text message from the prospective mother and downs a vitamin-rich slushy made of blueberries, kiwis and flax seed.  Then he ejaculates into a sterile cup, one of 200 a year he buys for $50 online from Amazon.  Women typically do the artificial insemination right afterwards, filling a latex cup with the fresh semen and placing it on their cervix.

Keri and Amber Pigott-Robertson have a 1-year-old daughter, thanks to Arsenault.  The Modesto, Calif., couple arranged a meeting with him recently to introduce her.

"When he saw her for the first time, his face just lit up," Amber, who is in her 30s, told Newsweek.  "He was a perfect match.  He gave us what we had been longing for, what we felt would complete us.  So there's no expressing how much gratitude I have for him . People like Trent come once in a lifetime."

"It's just a service I provide," he said.  "My involvement is limited because I work so much, up to 60 or 70 hours a week.

But according to the Food and Drug Administration, Arsenault's service was not just a private affair.  Last fall, agents arrived on his doorstep and ordered him to "cease manufacture" of sperm.

The government regards him as a "firm" and charges that he doesn't provide adequate protections against communicable diseases.  Arsenault, who is appealing the order, could face a $100,000 fine and a year in prison.  He argues that free sperm donation is a form of sex and not subject to government control.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep192011

Redheads Rejected at Sperm Bank

George Doyle/Thinkstock(CYROS, Denmark) -- Cryos International is the world's largest sperm bank, shipping seed from millions of men to more than 65 countries around the globe. However, redheaded donors need not apply.

"There are too many redheads in relation to demand," the company's director Ole Schou tells the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet. "I do not think you choose a redhead, unless the partner -- for example, the sterile male -- has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads.

"And that's perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case."

Schou says the only country in which redheads are in demand is Ireland.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep062011

Sperm Donor ‘Super Dads’: The Risks of One Donor 'Fathering' Dozens

Robert Houser/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A woman who conceives a child through a sperm donor has to make her peace with a number of unknowns -- what the donor looks like, what personality quirks he might have or whether big noses run in his family.  But one thing she probably didn’t bargain for was the possibility that her child could have more than 100 half-siblings out there, likely living in the same state, or even in the same city or neighborhood.

This was the outcome for Cynthia Dailey, who, through a little online research and networking, learned that her son had 149 half-siblings, all fathered by the same donor.  Her story, reported by The New York Times this week, highlights a long-held concern among sperm bank critics: Shouldn’t we limit the number of offspring a single donor can sire?

As it stands now, there are no rules in place to monitor or limit how many times a single donor’s sperm can be sold -- a situation that has allowed some sperm banks to oversell their donors, producing clans of more than 100 half-siblings.

ABC News covered this phenomenon last August, when we spoke to Chase Kimball, a sperm donor who, like the one Dailey used, likely fathered “hundreds of children” in the 1970s and 1980s.

It got the point where the clinic told him, “You’ve got too many kids locally, and we can only use your sperm if someone orders it from out of state.”

Having this many offspring is certainly not what Kimball and other sperm donors bargained for, and critics of sperm banks worry that allowing a single donor to father so many children will have negative ramifications for these children.

Because most sperm donations are doled out to women living in the same general area, some critics argue that unintentional incest could occur.

Even more threatening may be what these “superdads” do to the gene pool, say some critics.  Sperm donors are tested for inherited diseases to varying degrees -- what they’re tested for differs from state to state -- but donors may still be passing along genetic abnormalities and diseases.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio