“[Donating sperm] was like jacking off in any other public building," he says …
Joel stands in a cramped room, tugging on his manhood while a DVD of Cumshot Surprise 5 plays on an old, 15-inch television screen. When the '90s era erotica finally brings him to climax, he spills his splooge into a small plastic tube.
He’s done this countless times before. Over the course of the year, Joel has donated gallons of semen to a sperm bank in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. But even an intelligent young man like Joel says he didn’t fully consider the consequences of donating so often. For the first time, he’s beginning to wonder how many of his children exist without his knowing.
In the United States, there is no legal limit to how many children a sperm donor can father. To cash in on this lack of regulation, fertility clinics and sperm banks often allow many children to be conceived with sperm from their most sought after donors.
Joel wouldn’t be the first man to unknowingly father dozens, or even hundreds, of little boys and girls. The New York Times recently reported the story of one donor in Manhattan whose sperm has been used to conceive 150 children, so far. ABC News also produced an exposé on a Salt Lake City man who spawned so many sons and daughters that the clinic began worrying about the increased odds of accidental incest among his children. In both cases, the sperm bank babies ultimately grew up to seek out their fathers. This is what concerns Joel the most. He fears of a future where waves of children wash up on his doorstep to reconcile a relationship with their long-lost father.
Joel began donating at the age of 23. He was the sperm bank’s wet dream: a handsome, 6’2", blonde haired, blue-eyed graduate of the University of Miami. He began donating to the clinic as an “open donor.”
As Joel explains, open donors gets paid significantly more for their jizz than closed donors do, because the recipients of open donations can find out who you are. With an open donation, if the parents or their children ever want to contact you, the bank will release all of your personal information. “At my bank, you made $25 for a closed donation, and $125 for an open donation. It was a simple choice to make," Joel says.
His suspicions of having a large number of children arose when one of his clinic’s doctors told him “he’d been a popular donor.” Joel understands why: he has many of the characteristics that make his semen highly sought-after. “[Donating sperm] was like jacking off in any other public building," teases Joel. "But due to my education, race and physique I was awarded very handsomely for it.”
Couples typically seek out donors that are over 6 feet tall, physically fit, and have a specific eye and hair color (evidently, no one wants a ginger baby). Also, because most sperm recipients are white couples, donors generally have to be white in order to be successful. Beyond that, the bank can charge premium prices depending on the father’s education. Donors with PhDs or Ivy League degrees foster a highly demanded seed. Essentially, donors must be tall, handsome, intelligent, and successful men who, for whatever reason, still need to jack off into a cup to make ends meet.
Joel has been donating to his clinic every week for a year. As the doctors explained to him, in-vitro fertilization has a low rate of success, so they need a lot of his sperm for any chance of it working. To ensure the bank meets its quota, Joel had to sign a contract agreeing that he would make a donation at least once a week for six months. And he wouldn’t get paid a cent until the contract is fulfilled. If he decided to quit mid-contract, he’d get paid nothing.
“I’ve thought about quitting countless times," he admits. "What used to upset me most is the precautions I’d need to take to ensure a high sperm count. Cause they’ll check your sperm count for each donation, and if it’s too low, you don’t get paid for that deposit. To keep it high, you can’t cum any other time outside of the clinic because then there won’t be enough sperm left for them to use. They recommend being abstinent 3 days before donating. And that really takes a toll on my sex life. It puts serious restrictions on how often I can bone my girlfriend."
“Now, what worries me more is the number of children I may have produced," he continues. "You know, I understand that they may someday seek me out to connect with their roots and understand where their traits came from. But when I have family of my own, I won’t be able to resolve all the unfulfilled questions of their origins.”
For these reasons, once his second contract has been fulfilled with the sperm bank, Joel doesn’t plan to enter into a third. But he doesn’t doubt the clinic will try to persuade him to continue donating. With no legal limit to the number of babies one donor can produce, the clinic has a lot of profit to gain from stocking top-shelf sperm like Joel’s.
But he has enough money now, and really wants to start sleeping with his girlfriend again. First, it's getting out of his current contract. Then, worrying about the kids.
Worth it? In the end, only time will tell.