the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

Did you see the cover of Newsweek? The headline is “You Got Your Sperm Where?”

I have been up and down the world of fertility for over two decades – and they got me on this story which is all about the underground world of men donating their sperm directly to women and couples who need donor sperm without going through a commercial sperm bank.

You know – many men give away their sperm all the time in sometimes very unconscious ways.  How many men are out there having unprotected intercourse with random women (or not so random) and make babies “for free”?

I would guess that this has been going on since the beginning of time.  And yet – this was different. Now we are talking Craig’s List and a host of organized groups where men who want to give their sperm to women in need are offering their services.  It kind of reminded me of some kind of weird “Home Depot” of baby making.  Do you want to skip all those expensive sperm banks? Tests? And yes – possibly even the doctor? You can.

But do you want to?

Look, I know of people that have been doing this for years with “known donors” – especially lesbian couples or single women who ask male friends to donate sperm to them.  But this is different. Here we are talking about strangers helping strangers. And lots of different rules.

I am not going to go through the entire article – I gave you the link. Read it. What do you think? Do you think it is somehow “icky”?  Morally wrong? Dangerous?

Is it just smarter to have your sperm pre-screened and tested (although many of these donors seemed to come with papers!)? I have to be honest – I am not sure what I think. The only thing I am totally clear about is the need for donor agreements in these cases.

The legality of the relationship of the donor to the child and the family could be very, very,  troublesome down the road without a donor agreement in place.  I am also amazed how many people are out there – finding their way through these baby making arrangements all alone without any support, doing crazy stuff like finding sperm donors on Craig’s List!

Come on people…..just get some professional advice! I am not saying that you can’t make a baby in the privacy of your own home….but once you invite  a “donorsexual” into your life – that is a pretty permanent decision. One day you will have to explain to your very precious child his or her conception story. And if I heard that my mom found my “bio dad” on some list serve and then did a insemination in a Starbucks – I think that would put me in therapy for years and years.

What about you?

About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Was waiting to hear from you on this matter. Thanks, as always, Pam for sharing your historical perspective, for asking provocative questions and, of course, for stating so emphatically that prospective parents engaging in collaborative or 3rd party reproduction need legal counsel. Newly formed families, parents, donor-conceived children AND donors remain vulnerable and at risk if parties are not committing to certain matters via well-drafted contracts. It is also important for folks to know that the cost related to donor agreements (and the time invested) is often much less than anticipated. Much appreciate the constant support the legal community receives from your blog.

    With respect to this donorsexual matter, my response goes well beyond “ick”. In all of the reading I have done on this trend (?) I have found nothing compelling as to why these would-be donors can’t participate in assisted family building through a cryobank. What is the gain in bypassing the policies and procedures practiced at established, credentialed sperm-bank facilities? Frankly, I find the whole matter creepy, it makes me very uncomfortable.

  2. Dear Amy -
    Love your comments! Creepy indeed!

  3. Donorsexual strangers? Creepy and dangerous on so many levels! Omigosh, if you insist on forgoing clinic and medical costs, for heaven’s sake, GET A LAWYER!

  4. my wife and i are looking to conceive and i think its a plausible idea.
    how is it any different that meeting a man at a club and having a one night stand and getting pregnant. before u get it on, do you screen him for medical and psychological issues?? no you screen him for hotness and how big it is.
    at least we make our own decision, and do our own investigating, and believe me, just because you go thru a sperm bank doesnt make it any better. ur still getting sperm from a random dude.
    it amazes me how taboo this issue seems to everyone “wholesome and Civilized.”
    when i tell my daughter or son about their conception. i will let them know that their mothers sought a way to get them in our lives, and we love her and cherish her or him to the fullest and there will be no if ands or butts about it.
    people create their children in dishes choosing what eye color they have and no one criticizes them, b/c they re rich, but real men and women who are truly genuinely interested in bringing a life into this world and raising it with love, who dont have the means to pay outrageous costs for sperm are judged and looked at as lazy and no good? incredible.
    shame on you all for using your words so ignorantly.

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