Man Who Fathered 100 Children Comes Down Under On Sperm Tour
One man thinks he has the answer to Australia's semen donor shortage. The 47-year-old American says he has "strong" sperm, and he's coming to a city near you.
Joe Donor* might tell dad jokes, but he's not your average father. Through his sperm donations, he claims to have fathered at least 100 children.
"I have 100 successful cases that I know of, and many others either didn't get pregnant or have chosen not to let me know when their babies are born," he told 10 daily.
He'll be in Australia in about a week and he intends on driving around the country donating his sperm, in a bid to meet a demand official channels aren't keeping up with.
"I have talked to a number of women in Australia who are keen for my help. One woman is really serious about it and she's agreed to cover my costs to Melbourne."
The woman is single and in her late 20s. Joe has also talked to several other couples who are LGBTQI and other single women. So far he's locked in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Alice Springs.
"I decided to stay in Australia for 40 days so I can help this woman, though if she isn't successful in the first cycle and any other woman who is interested, given I am there more than 28 days, my trip will cover their fertile period."
The self-described internet entrepreneur has been donating sperm for 10 years. In the United States, each sperm donation can pay as much as $150 through fertility clinics.
"But I was getting too old for a sperm bank but I knew I could help, so I avoided the ridiculous procedure and started doing it privately," he said.
Why Are Australian Donor Numbers A Problem?
In Australia, things are a little different and it sheds light on why donor numbers are shrinking.
Local laws have become more stringent in recent years. They include banning donor anonymity, stricter psychological pre-screening, extensive genetic screening as well as banning of payment.
"It's illegal to take payment for any human tissue, including sperm. However, you can be reimbursed for any expenses you incur through the process of donating sperm," IVF Australia states on its website.
In a country of nearly 25 million people, national organisation IVF Australia currently has around 40 donors -- many of whom are men who live overseas.
In 2015, the Fertility Society of Australia released statistics showing that the majority of sperm donors are men based in the United States.
The shortfall is being attributed to legislative changes, which gives children the right to know the identity of their biological parents when they turn 18.
Joe's process is more relaxed and he lets the mum decide how much contact he has and from what age.
"I have ended up in relationships with some of my donor mums because its such an intense emotional experience, but none have lasted."
Concerns About A Sperm Free Market
While Victoria and Western Australia publish data about donor numbers in their respective states, there is no national data available on the total number of donors used in IVF and insemination cycles.
Experts estimate about 60,000 people have been born as a result of sperm donations in Australia.
READ MORE: World's First IVF Baby Turns 40
Fertility specialists say there are genetic and incest implications if limits aren't placed on the number of offspring born from a single donor’s sperm. It's capped at between five to 10 families per donor, depending on the state.
The Growth Of The Online Sperm Donor Market
Adam Hooper runs the closed Facebook group Sperm Donation Australia, and it's how Joe's trip to Australia came about.
It has almost 4000 members, and is acting as an online sperm match maker. Hooper says 95 percent of members are single women or LGBTQI couples.
It's an unregulated site, however Hooper , a boilermaker from Perth, is adamant that everything is above board.
"It's important to keep the page's integrity up. In three years, we have never had any legal issues, any STDs or any problems," he said.
"My kids are the proof, so no I haven't had genetic testing and things like that because I am a normal healthy person. That's why women see me as a good candidate.
"I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, that's why my sperm is so strong," Joe said.
Hooper started the page after becoming a sperm donor and being dissatisfied with the process. He has also just released a podcast with his take on the national sperm donor system.
"Why do I donate sperm -- well, why do people donate blood? It's to do a unique thing and contribute to society, and I don't think the clinic system is working," Hooper said.
READ MORE: 'I Spent $50,000 On IVF ... And It Failed'
The online community is a place where adults can determine the process and the terms on a case by case basis as donors and recipients get to know one another.
"This page is also helping women save thousands of dollars that would go to clinics, without the long waiting lists," he told 10 daily.
Hooper says he gets a private message two to three times a week from women announcing their pregnancy via a donor from the page.
"I'm so thankful for the Facebook page because without it I wouldn't have Willow and Noah today," Jessica Rodriguez said.
Her 17-month-old twins were conceived after connecting with a sperm donor on the Australian Facebook page moderated by Hooper .
She said several attempts at getting pregnant cost a total of $500. And while they didn't do genetic testing, they did do monthly blood tests to check for diseases and other illnesses.
"It was just in the comfort of home. We had a home kit, our donor gave us the specimen cup, a few minutes later I used a syringe and inserted it," she said.
IVF Australia and The Fertility Society of Australia were contacted by 10 daily for comment.
*Joe Donor is not his real name
Featured image: Getty
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