A Dedicated Sperm Donor

Reader J. kindly sent in a link to the following article:

A man from the San Francisco Bay area has fathered 14 children in the last five years through free sperm donations to childless couples he meets on the Internet — and is now in trouble with the federal government. Trent Arsenault says he donates sperm out of a sense of service to help people who want to have children but can’t afford conventional sperm banks. The 36-year-old minister’s son has four more children on the way. “I always had known through people praying at church that there’s fertility issues,” Arsenault told The Associated Press on Monday. “I thought it would just be a neat way of service to help the community.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Arsenault a cease-and-desist letter late last year telling him he must stop because he does not follow the agency’s requirements for getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases within seven days before giving sperm.

Testing for STDs is, of course, crucial. It would also be great if somebody got this guy and the people who use his services into a psych evaluation.

I used to know somebody who donated sperm to a lesbian couple of very close friends. Of course, he was very involved in the boy’s life and the kid always knew that he had two Mommies and a Daddy. This is a normal, healthy situation where nobody suffers.

What is it, though, that the folks who use this man’s services tell their kids? How do they introduce the idea that the child’s father is a guy who donates sperm to all and sundry online? What do they do about all the siblings their kid has? I don’t think they get to know the names and addresses of other beneficiaries of this sperm-donating extravaganza. So how do they ensure that the kid doesn’t meet and sleep with one of his or her siblings? Or several? The man obviously has issues. How about the kid inheriting his psychological problems?

Of course, you can always conceal the truth from the child and hope that s/he will be lucky and never meet the siblings or discover his or her origins. But you have to be a really miserable, nasty human being to do that.

28 thoughts on “A Dedicated Sperm Donor”

  1. Conventional sperm donation centres *are* expensive, but I can never imagine myself using their services, or what he offered. The miscarriage rate is really high with In-vitro pregnancies and it seems like a lot of pain, money, and tears for such a high failure rate. And I want my future theoretical children to know their father, not just for closure and emotional closeness, but also because important questions about medical history may come into play.

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  2. ON the other hand, might you be saying that it takes the intent of two people to have a child? Should there be a limit to how many kids someone can have? Don’t get me wrong, I agree that there is something wrong with this picture, but at the same time I’m the member of a large family. [Disclaimer: I have numerous siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles and I can’t name or keep track of all of them.]

    This is definitely an issue that needs more examination, [hate to sound facile] like that episode of L&O: SVU with the “reproductive abuser”. But even if there’s constitutional basis for restricting this activity, we can still count on society’s mild repulsion towards casual siring and the fact that really, no one is considering having a child just because this man is offering donations ‘gratis’, when it is available at any well-stocked house of ill repute and other such places.

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  3. Can you imagine being the kid? Growing up, finding someone attractive, and always wondering in the back of your mind if they are your brother or sister? I support sperm donors in general, but isn’t doing it the official away also for some sort of legal limit of donation – for the protection of, you know, not creating an evolutionary gene pool the equivalent of horny toads and pond spawn?

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  4. I agree with all of the above, but can someone tell me what right the government has to interfere here? I mean it is his body and he can damn well spray with his cobra as much as he wants.

    I hate to go like this on you but if this would have been a woman handing out eggs like candy on Christmas and the government would try to get her to cease and desist, the entire blogosphere would already be writing posts on how the gov is waging war on women.

    And last but not least: The US Food and Drug Administration? I would hardly classify sperm as food:D

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    1. “I hate to go like this on you but if this would have been a woman handing out eggs like candy on Christmas and the government would try to get her to cease and desist, the entire blogosphere would already be writing posts on how the gov is waging war on women.”

      – I really don’t care who’s doing it, a man or a woman. Both the donor and the recipients are weird people who need to be stopped. As you can see from the article, the government is interfering because the guy doesn’t test for STDs before handing over his sperm. I think that’s a very legitimate concern.

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  5. I read “spray his cobra” and just about sprayed my coffee. 🙂

    Hypothetical ovary-candy factory internet political battles aside, this guy selling his untested spunk, which may be all sauced up with disease and idiot genes, is super skeezy and I thank your god someone’s shutting him down, even if it had to be the FDA.

    “I would hardly classify sperm as food” O RLY — http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/natural-harvest—a-collection-of-semen-based-recipes/5198959

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    1. So he might be diseased and might even spread those to the women he donates to. So? Why should people get involved in this? I mean nobody is thinking of requiring STD tests before we commence other dangerous, possibly infectious things. No Fed Agent is going to step in if I am going to have sex with two dozen partners at once or stick a rusty nail up my uretha without testing for STDs first. So why should it be a requirement in this case? I mean these transactions involve adult, albeit very stupid, human beings that have a right to put themself to risk.

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      1. You read it here first folks. Don’t have sex with Tim or he will give you crotch tetanus.

        Let me answer you with another stupid question: do you like shit in your food?

        Re: the cum cookery, I have no idea about any of it. I just know the book exists.

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    2. Regarding that semen cookbook: I am really wondering here how much semen you actually need to cook something from the book. I mean is it used more as a spice or as a more bulky good? Are we talking tea spoons or cups here? Also, who came up with this?

      That kind of reminds me of a porn clip I saw some time ago in which semen was being fried into some kind of omlett form and then eaten. I am kinda gagging as I type this, by the way.

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  6. I think we should stop saying people have “issues” or need to see a psychologist for the slightest thing. Seems to me like every little thing now that seems out of the ordinary is seen as being a psychological problem.

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    1. The only people with ‘psychological’ problems are those notorious ‘others’ who just aren’t as smart and enlightened as we are.

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  7. I’m kinda with Tim on this one. I get the feeling that if this were the other way around there would be a flurry of “war on women posts” firing off (with the keywords “oppression”, “male privilege”, “reproductive rights”, and of course “misogyny”). (On a side note when it comes to women being hired as surrogates aren’t there some that come at it from the angle of “those women are being exploited for their wombs?”). Don’t get me wrong I think the fact he was doing it under the table without getting tested is a major risk though. And I’m really hoping is the “Drug” part of the FDA that kicked in on this one Tim. Although from what I hear its apparently salty…

    I noticed someone commented that he’s doing it commercially. Wouldn’t that mean he would be profiting from it? But he is doing it for free as far as I can tell. Along with the health risk I also wonder if this has something to do with his free services undercutting those sperm banks that are too expensive for a lot of people in the first place.

    Of course, you can always conceal the truth from the child and hope that s/he will be lucky and never meet the siblings or discover his or her origins. But you have to be a really miserable, nasty human being to do that.
    Miserable, nasty human you say? Reminds me of a certain male feminist that defends the idea that (at least when it comes to being a father, I wonder if he would think the same if it were possible to deceive a woman about the maternity of her child) its not about the DNA but about the parenting.

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    1. “Miserable, nasty human you say? Reminds me of a certain male feminist that defends the idea that (at least when it comes to being a father, I wonder if he would think the same if it were possible to deceive a woman about the maternity of her child) its not about the DNA but about the parenting.”

      – We’ve been discussing anger on the blog recently. People who conceal from children who they really are, their origins, their paternity give me attacks of blind rage. Hugo now says he regrets the post about the boy who might be his son. I was beyond shocked when I read that. He regrets the post. Not his actions, not participating in the lie. He regrets writing about it.

      Horrible.

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    2. “aren’t there some that come at it from the angle of “those women are being exploited for their wombs?””

      Danny, as you well know donating eggs and serving as a surrogate are both major, medically risky undertakings and in no practical way comparable to donating sperm.

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      1. Still doesn’t change the question of whether or not people come at it from an angle of “those women are being exploited”. Its not a matter which is worse than the other.

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  8. bloggerclarissa :
    So maybe you should stop. I’m not planning to since the psychological ignorance of people is stunning.
    And this is not “the slightest thing”. These folks are cuckoo.

    No they are not. You’re just really full of yourself and think anything that disagrees with your moral point of view is insane.

    The way I see it, this man is not hurting anyone, he is not forcing anyone to do anything nor is he asking for anything in return. If he wants to give away his sperm to people willing to take it, then who are you to pass judgment? What is mentally insane about it?

    I think you’re insane.

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    1. “No they are not. You’re just really full of yourself and think anything that disagrees with your moral point of view is insane.”

      -Please pay attention. These folks have no idea that I exist. So they can’t disagree with “my moral point of view’, whatever that even means.

      “If he wants to give away his sperm to people willing to take it, then who are you to pass judgment?”

      – For the bizillionth time, I reserve the right to express opinions about anything on my personal blog. This is what the blog’s header announces.

      “What is mentally insane about it?”

      -I have never in my life used the expression “mentally insane”, so I can’t answer this weird question.

      “I think you’re insane.”

      – There is just a little problem with that. Nobody wants to hear your opinions about anything. My opinions, however, provoke a lot of interest. That must really hurt your feelings, eh?

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  9. I just think it’s absolutely idiotic to say people need psychological help over something like this. Who are you to pass that kind of judgment on others?

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    1. They don’t need HELP. Their miserable children need help. These people need a psych eval. Can’t you read at all?

      And for the last time, since you are too stupid to understand anything: I will pass any judgement I wish on absolutely anybody. Got it? For example, my judgment on you is that you are a stupid, lonely, miserable troll.

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  10. @Tim and Danny. it is almost biologically impossible for a woman to distribute her eggs in this cavaleir manner. Donating eggs is actually an extremely invasive medical procedure that requires medical surveillance. At the least it necessitates an operation; and generally women who donate eggs also undergo an extreme regimen of hormone therapy. And so for a woman to undergo this sort of procedure outside of the medical establishment to some extent would mirror the horrors of a “back alley abortion” (though not quite so dangerous.) I for one would hope that the government would shut down that kind of activity.

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    1. That’s why I was talking about surrogacy not egg donation.

      I for one would hope that the government would shut down that kind of activity.
      Agreed. But again I still say that if it were to happen there would be some “those women are being exploited” attitude about those who were choosing to have it done.

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      1. The issue with egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy is not whether adults “get exploited.” It’s their choice to get exploited or not, so I could care less. What’s at issue here is whether children will be traumatized by unhealthy games of egotistical and self-involved adults who want to produce little toys for themselves without even stopping to think that these toys are actually human beings.

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  11. The issue with egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy is not whether adults “get exploited.” It’s their choice to get exploited or not, so I could care less. What’s at issue here is whether children will be traumatized by unhealthy games of egotistical and self-involved adults who want to produce little toys for themselves without even stopping to think that these toys are actually human beings.
    I understand your desire to stay on target (but the way it seems to be presented is to question if those folks, when it comes to surrogacy, had a choice in the first place).

    Now as for the issue you mention I’d have to pull a Mythbusters and say plausible. Yes children in those situations could be traumatized (such as innocently finding out on their own when their “parents” were trying to keep it a secret) but not always of course. Unfortunately its possible to say that in the cases where the child was not traumatized it was only because the deception worked and they never found out, meaning even without child trauma the adults could still be called egotistical and self involved I guess.

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