The government needs to stay out of our bedrooms

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man from the San Francisco Bay area has fathered 14 children in the last five years through free sperm donations to childless couples he meets on the Internet — and is now in trouble with the federal government.

Trent Arsenault says he donates sperm out of a sense of service to help people who want to have children but can't afford conventional sperm banks. The 36-year-old minister's son has four more children on the way.

"I always had known through people praying at church that there's fertility issues," Arsenault told The Associated Press on Monday. "I thought it would just be a neat way of service to help the community."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Arsenault a cease-and-desist letter late last year telling him he must stop because he does not follow the agency's requirements for getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases within seven days before giving sperm. The FDA did not immediately respond to questions about what kind of punishment he faces.

Arsenault gets tested regularly, but following the FDA's rules would make it impossible to keep offering his sperm for free, he said.

Arsenault believes the FDA tracked him down from his website, which advertises his availability as a sperm donor. In its letter, the agency describes Arsenault's service as a business. Arsenault disagrees.

"This is not a business or a clinic. It's just people partnering up to have a baby out of compassion," he said.

At the time of the FDA letter, the Silicon Valley computer security specialist had made 328 sperm donations to 46 women, a number he said is now higher. He can continue to donate sperm while the case is pending.

The oldest child he has fathered is now 4. Arsenault and the recipients, whom he describes as "intimate partners," sign a legal agreement ahead of time stripping him of any custody rights and absolving him of any financial responsibility for the children.

But he says that part of the reason of making himself publicly visible as a sperm donor rather than remaining anonymous, as is typical with sperm banks, is because he and some of the families hope and expect he will have some involvement in the children's lives in the future.

He says he believes his case comes down to constitutional issues of a right to privacy and reproductive choice.

"It's not that much more different than a couple knowing each other who want to have a baby," Arsenault said. "It's just from me it comes in a cup versus sex."

What do you think? I personally think the government should stay the hell out of our bedrooms and worry about more important things. The ONLY problem I see with this guy doing what he's doing is that if it's a lot of children in a small area, there's a chance they could meet and hook up later. But, the article does say that some of the families of some of the children would like for him to be involved in their lives, so I'd imagine they would know. I think what he's doing is along the same lines as what Melissa Etheridge and her partner did when they asked Jerry Garcia to father their children. They chose to do it in a clinic. This guy (and his consenting adult female "friends") choose a cup or a turkey baster or whatever. Who cares, really? How is it any different? Oh, I know how...because it's FREE! Maybe THAT'S why the government seems to be heading in the direction of making sperm an FDA controlled substance. Geez. No sperm I've ever dealt with was "controlled" lol Bad joke, sorry.


Vicki - posted on 12/19/2011




Whether his motives are vanity or not I agree that the govt should ignore. If he was sleeping around and had fathered that many children would they step in? Just because he's squirting into a cup not a vagina I don't see how it makes the business of anyone other than the parties involved.

Jodi - posted on 12/21/2011




I remember watching something on TV once about a man who was going around "donating" his sperm to young teen women and knocking them up then moving on. Yep, the worst kind of serial father. I can't recall the details, but I am pretty sure he was in his early 20s and had fathered something like 10-12 children, was taking responsibility for none of them, paying child support for none of them, and there was nothing the government could or would do.

I can't believe that a government would be at all concerned about this situation when obviously it is all very responsible and it is consensual between all parties. How ridiculous when there are irresponsible idiots like I state above in the world getting away with it every single day without the responsibility.

Lacye - posted on 12/20/2011




There is so many more important things to worry about than a guy who is giving his sperm away for free to families that want it. He stays tested to show that he has no STDs, he signs a legal document saying he has no parental rights to the child that is conceived, he is still willing to be a part of the child's life. Why the hell stop him? For what ever reason he is doing it, in the end he is still helping out these families with something that they want/need for themselves. He is being pretty responsible about the whole thing. The government needs to stop worrying about where his sperm is going and start worrying about other things, like oh I don't know children's education or hell, worry about getting insurance for people that need it!

[deleted account]

I know that my house comparison isn't quite the same as giving someone a baby. I was just trying to put it in another perspective. Honestly, when I first heard about this on the radio this morning, my first reaction was to go , "Ew". But I had all day to think about it before finding the article to read, and it just sorta hits home for me because I struggled with infertility for a long time. My one and only child wasn't born to me until I was 36. While I didn't go through drastic and expensive measures like lots of other couples do, I do know what it's like to be childless and to want a baby so badly that it's all you can think about. And in the end, this guy is giving couples something (someONE) they desperately want, but can't do on their own for whatever reason. And honestly? If Steve & I hadn't concieved Jacob naturally, we couldn't have afforded expensive treatments....but I wouldn't go to this guy either lol Just a personal choice, I guess. But I can't judge those other women (and men) for doing it.


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Merry - posted on 12/21/2011




Next thing they will be trying to tell me I can't pump my milk to give to my friend who has cancer for her baby! Seriously. These people are trusting him, good or bad that's their choice and they will have to live with the consequences if they trust him and he lies.
Not a gov issue!

Becky - posted on 12/20/2011




Yeah, this is just a silly thing for the government to be worrying about. I'm sure the families are well aware of what risks they may be taking accepting sperm from a random doner. But, it takes away money from the agencies who want to charge families an arm and a leg for something most families are able to do for free - or the price of a bottle of wine :) - so of course, it should be illegal! After all, it all comes down to the almighty dollar, right?!

[deleted account]

For crying out loud, I suppose my friends should have the health department out to their kitchen before they bake those delicious Christmas cookies they give me every year too (salmonella, oh my!!)? Or, perhaps, I should turn in the friend who helps me dye my hair to whatever agency regulates beautician licenses (no legal recourse for a bad dye job, heaven forbid)? Come to think of it, my husband is a great masseuse.... but, alas!!! He's not APPROVED by the government to do that either (he's going to sexually harass me regardless, lol, no need to blow the whistle on this one!). Shit, my whole world just turned upside down. I actually had to have sex with the deadbeat I call a "sperm donor", so I guess I'm good there. Whew!! I would have much preferred a free 'hands off' donation though...

[deleted account]

"Personally, I think he must enjoy jizzing in a cup, and thinking about all the little replicas of himself out their. I cannot help feel that he is doing this out of vanity, not humanity. "

You know, that was my first thought too.

Krista - posted on 12/19/2011




I agree with Vicki. If he was screwing around and fathering kids left, right and centre, that'd be nobody's business but his own and his partners'. So why is this any different?

Janice - posted on 12/19/2011




If the couples receiving the sperm aren't concerned with how often he is tested than why is the government? I dont think I could ever take sperm from this guy (not that I need it) but I completely understand why couples would use his free sperm. I agree that the mane issue is the amount of children he has fathered in a small area. I can see it definitely being an issue as the children get older.

[deleted account]

Yeah, probably. For me, if I were in a situation where I was considering sperm donation, I'd need a LOT more than just an STD test from the donor. I'd want to know his IQ, his family medical history (which I'm sure this guy is giving, I hope), his mental state. Like, if I were to accept sperm from anywhere other than a bank that does in-depth screening.....I would have to KNOW the person. And then that would just be wierd lol

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/19/2011




I can totally see why the couples are jumping at the chance for free sperm donations. I do not in anyway think negatively of them for it. I just think there is more to this mans story.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/19/2011




Good point, but his vanity is spawning more of him....not giving away a house...he is giving away something that is literally part of him and looks like him etc. I don't think what he is doing is necessarily wrong....but I think it is more out of vanity like I said. I think it is great he is helping people, but dude...enough is enough.

[deleted account]

He gets tested regularly....just not in the FDA's 7 day time period each time. Vanity or humanity, he's helping people. I mean, if a wealthy person wanted to buy me & my family a house, it wouldn't really matter to me if they were doing it out of the kindness of his/her heart or for a selfish reason. As long as the deed was in our name with no strings attached, I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth lol

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/19/2011




Hmmmmmm..this is really interesting. I think that if the implantation is done in a professional medical facility like a hospital or infertility clinic, I could understand why the government would have their panties in a twitch. But if this is done is someones private home, I am not sure the government has a right to say anything. As far as this man not getting tested, well....then that stupidity falls on both participating parites. Just like in a one night stand. It is a risk some are willing to take. Personally, I think he must enjoy jizzing in a cup, and thinking about all the little replicas of himself out their. I cannot help feel that he is doing this out of vanity, not humanity.

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