Be Wary Of Internet Sperm Donors

A new trend can be seen on the World Wide Web: men offering their sperm to infertile women—for a price. These offers are dubious at best. On one popular website, 48 year-old Randy sounds really great. He's a songwriter, composer, and music producer, also an engineer who says he has a genius IQ. He's making his sperm available to Canadian women. But there's a catch: no artificial insemination. He's written: "natural method only."

Fly To Bahrain

On another sperm donor website, one 53 year-old man is offering his sperm to any woman, anywhere. He's 53, disease-free, and has a Ph.D. What's the catch? All the women have to do is fly to his home in Bahrain.

Another man, a Californian named Trent Arsenault offers his sperm for free on his own website. Trent's website contains a section called: "Pregnancy History," in which he lists ten successful pregnancies.

Fertility doctors are now warning women against these internet sperm donors. The experts feel the practice is unsafe and furthermore, these donors have likely already been rejected from reputable fertility clinics. Such clinics have very rigid standards in place and these gray market donors probably didn't make it through the screening procedures.

Banned Payment

But the websites keep popping up, and fertility experts think this is a supply and demand issue. Women seeking donor sperm have fewer options than in the past. That's because most countries are no longer willing to pay donors for their sperm.

The United Kingdom, for instance, banned the practice of payment for sperm in 2006. As a result, the number of women choosing to use donated sperm dropped by more than one quarter. Some fertility advocates are demanding that the payments be reinstated. They claim that infertile women are being forced to seek sperm donors abroad.

Half Siblings

Some are concerned that the ban on payment has caused a shrinking of UK donor pools so that a vast number of women are relying on a small number of donors. This might increase the risk of half brothers and sisters growing up in near proximity, which might lead to sexual activity or marriage between closely related blood relatives.

Canada changed its Assisted Human Reproductive Act in 2004, making it illegal to pay sperm donors. There was a feeling that it was somehow distasteful to pay for sperm as though it were fresh produce on a grocer's shelf. There was, however, an immediate shrinking of the sperm donor pool, as a result of the ban on payment. Canadians now turn to the United States for a steady supply of donor sperm. Some 80% of the sperm donated to infertile Canadians now comes from the United States, where donors are still paid.

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