Get Your Free Sperm Here!

(Hemera)

The Daily Beast reports on an interesting phenomenon: sperm donors who donate for free. One couple, stymied by the $2,000-and-up cost of acquiring sperm the usual way (sperm bank), started exploring alternative options online:

A few clicks later, the couple slid into an online underground, a mishmash of personal ads, open forums, and members-only websites for women seeking sperm—and men giving it away. Most donors pledge to verify their health and relinquish parental rights, much like regular sperm-bank donors. But unlike their mainstream counterparts, these men don’t get paid. They’re also willing to reveal their identities and allow any future offspring to contact them. Many of the men say they do it out of altruism, but some also talk unabashedly of kinky sex and spreading their gene pool.

In addition to the cost angle, some women like the option of having their children know their fathers, which many sperm banks don’t allow for. The free sperm route, however, has its drawbacks — a lack of donor testing, potential custody issues, and concerns over the legality of the practice.

In the absence of monetary compensation, many of the donors express a desire to “spawn as many children as possible,” a motivation that baffles researchers:

Rene Almeling, a sociologist at Yale University and the author of a new study of the fertility market, Sex Cells, says that among the 20 sperm-bank donors she interviewed, the most common motives were money, spreading “amazing genes,” as one guy put it, and helping women conceive. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, anthropologist Peter Gray, coauthor of Fatherhood, about the evolution of paternal behavior, says this drive to propagate reminds him of the ancient khan men of Mongolia—and of Moulay Ismail, the 17th-century emperor of Morocco—men who fathered as many as a thousand children, parenting none of them. “I’ll have to think about this a bit,” he says.

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  1. Mayuresh Gaikwad says:

    You say: In the absence of monetary compensation, many of the donors express a desire to “spawn as many children as possible,” a motivation that baffles researchers

    What is so baffling about it. Genghiz Khan and many others throughout history have had similar motivations

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    • James says:

      Did people like Ghengis Khan really desire to have as many children as possible, or were the children simply a side effect of being able to have sex with lots of women in an age with little in the way of effective contraception?

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    • pawnman says:

      I also don’t understand why this is difficult to grasp. Millions of years of evolution have implanted a deep-seated need to create as many offspring as possible. It is only modern society that reigns in that impulse. It is the same reason frat guys go to bars looking for a new conquest every weekend.

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  2. Mike Kenny says:

    apropos the post–an organization designed to maximize not profits but a person’s share of the gene pool:

    http://michaelkenny.blogspot.com/2010/11/organization-built-on-maximizing-number.html

    a person outsourcing parenting:

    http://michaelkenny.blogspot.com/2010/11/billionaire-pays-people-to-have-his.html

    imagining a billionaire ‘buying up’ as many eggs to be fertilized with his sperm and ‘renting’ wombs to carry the zygote to term as possible:

    http://michaelkenny.blogspot.com/2010/11/sell-your-eggs-to-billionaire-sell-your.html

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  3. Marit says:

    Wow, it’s taken 30 years for something lesbians were doing with turkey basters and donated sperm to hit the zeitgeist.

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  4. Kris says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. Eric M. Jones says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • pawnman says:

      Or anyone who is honest with what their innate instincts push them towards. Evolution rewards those who spread their genes in the most efficient manner possible, and for men, that is having as many children as possible, especially if they don’t have to invest in raising the kids.

      Again, this is from a purely evolutionary perspective, not a statement on the ethical considerations in modern society.

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    • Pete says:

      comment
      “”I can IMAGINE that certain individuals might think they are doing humanity a favor by donating their sperm to produce healthy happy children. The REALITY is that only a sociopath would have these thoughts.”

      ???

      I have donated to two infertile married couples privately and am certainly not a psychopath. The children (2 boys and a girl) know of me as their biological father and are able to ask anything they want about my health, family etc. I see one of the boys regularly as thats what he wants. I did this to help these lovely couples have a family but also as I knew they would be raising my bio children well. I wanted my bio children raised of the same faith as me and that was a factor when I chose these couples. I also wanted to know the couple I donate to were financially sound etc. Its why I dont donate through a sperm bank. I cant find out anything.

      The REALITY is often that we help people have a family, but also dont want to turn our backs on our kids. I dont kid myself though. Im not their ‘Dad’. Only sites like FSDW help us do that. Dont group us with donors who donate without caring about who we donate to and what happens after.

      Psychopath? Do your research and see what is actually happening out there.

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  6. Cory says:

    This “interesting phenomenon” will end the first time one of them is hit with a judgment for child support. So, I give it about another 3-4 years (allowing for the child to be born, the parents to get divorced, and the lawsuit by a down-and-out mother to proceed through the courts).

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    • Mike Hunter says:

      Exactly! Which is why insisting on anonymity is so important if you’re going to do this!

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      • Pete says:

        Anonimity might be great for you Mike, but do you have no feelings for what your kids are going to want? Men like you put known donors like us in a bad light.

        And (Mike again) I think the comment ‘was absolutely spot on. If you choose to donate through NI of course you and your partners are going to have an increased risk of getting something. Dah. Basic probability.

        Out of interest why do you donate through sex and not AI?

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  7. Unbelievable says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m not a particularly attractive man, but without intending anything naughty, let me tell you that there is something utterly flattering and delightfully affirming about a woman wanting my semen–or, better put, having my baby.

    This isn’t about getting to bed a desperate woman, but rather that out of all the many men in the world this woman might take as a lover or a sperm donor…she has chosen you for one of the most intimate, yet important, assignments of all time.

    I have to tell you that I have occasionally fantasized that some beautiful woman would see me with my incredibly handsome son and think to herself, “That man makes beautiful babies.” Of course, I don’t think I have to go any further for the reader to know where that little story is going….

    I would be overwhelmingly flattered if some young lady wanted me to be the donor–even if actual sex did not come into the picture.

    Further, while I could not be a full-time daddy to a child other than my own, I would be delighted to play whatever role would be appropriate. However, for all of that, I do have standards. If I thought that the mother would not be a good one, or that child would be raised inappropriately, I would not comply, even if it was Jennifer Aniston.

    Maybe.

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  8. Heidi says:

    I always wonder about the unintended incest that may result from sperm or egg donation, particularly if it is anonymous. What if two children conceived with the same donor’s sperm (or eggs) meet and have children of their own? They risk passing on devastating genetic defects since they would be very closely related. Perhaps it is best to know who the donor is, for this reason alone.

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