International Sperm Donor Welcomes First Aussie Baby And Finds Love Down Under
We first brought you the story of the American man wanting to be a sperm donor to as many women as possible when he hit our shores late last year. Now he's back to meet his first Aussie baby.
'Joe Donor' is a 48-year-old sperm donor who claims to have sired more than 105 children around the world, and plans to keep on giving.
On Wednesday, his first Australian child was born to Melbourne couple Tracey Train and Bella Bambia.
The same-sex couple turned to social media for a sperm donor and used home insemination kits because they found fertility clinics were "too expensive and limiting".
Joe is currently in Australia to meet his Aussie offspring and says he's thrilled about the latest arrival.
"We are arranging to meet next week, it was a high risk delivery and mum's not quite ready yet for visitors," he told 10 daily.
This year alone, he has fathered six children -- two in the U.S, three in Argentina, and now one in Australia.
But wait, there's more.
As well as making his way to Melbourne to baby Ariana, he has already driven to Brisbane and Sydney and regional NSW in the past week to try and impregnate other Australian women via sperm donation.
This comes as six other Australian women are currently pregnant with his child from his previous two trips Down Under. Joe is expecting another five donor daughters and one son by the end January.
10 daily was first to reveal Joe's plans to increase his baby head count on our shores. He was then contacted by Nine's 60 Minutes which aired a critical story of his tour and the public health implications, despite Joe's claim they paid him to be on the show and covered his costs to get here.
The relationship soured and ABC's Media Watch investigated the alleged financial transactions, which Nine denies.
But one relationship did flourish as a result of that segment -- and that's Joe's love life. He is now in a long-distance relationship with Amy who he met in Australia after she saw the work he was doing online and in the media.
"She just makes me really happy," Joe told 10 daily.
The 23-year-old aged care worker doesn't mind that he has sired so many children, the eldest of which -- from a previous relationship -- is the same age as her.
"I'm OK with it and he is helping other women who want to conceive and I am happy with that for him to help as many as he can," she said.
She said her friends and family also support what he is doing to help single women and same-sex couples conceive.
"Joe and I are trying to get pregnant at the moment and figuring out how to be together full time either in Argentina or Australia," she told 10 daily.
Joe's actions aren't illegal, as he says they are not commercial transactions and insists he is not paid for his services, beyond covering costs.
Legalities aside, there are ethical concerns that have been raised by leading fertility experts.
"Unfortunately there is no way to regulate this and it's becoming more common," Fertility Society of Australia President Professor Michael Chapman previously told 10 daily.
"I do hope that these women who have gone down this route have thought carefully about what it will mean for their child to have 100 siblings scattered around the world.
What will this mean for them and their relationships as adults?" Chapman said.
Professor Fiona Kelly from La Trobe University's Law School says IVF clinics are cost prohibitive for some women and there's an increase in demand from single women for sperm donors.
"I'm not opposed to known donor arrangements from online or other means, but it comes with risks. This is an unregulated environment, we don't know how well the people know each other, if money is being exchanged or what health checks have been conducted," Kelly said.
The legal expert also pointed to a recent High Court case under the Family Law Act which casts doubt over whether a sperm donor has legal rights as a parent.
"This judgement may also worry donors, who donated on the understanding they would not be responsible for financial support of children born from their donations. Whether they now meet the definition of “parent” for the purposes of child support is unclear."
But at this stage, Joe says he is not worried about donor children expecting more from him, as he has always been open and clear about the parameters of the arrangement.
"My eldest donor child is 9, the others who are older are from a previous relationship. When she speaks to me she asks for a My Little Pony, and I am happy to get her that and other gifts as I'm not there for her as a father," he said.
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