FDA: 'Stop Using the Internet to Give Away Your Sperm'

Do-gooder just wants to be infertile couples' baby daddy

Just in time for the holidays, a warming story of free love and baby daddies. A San Francisco Bay area man who has fathered 14 kids in the past five years through free sperm donations has been ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to knock it off already.

Thirty-six-year-old Trent Arsenault (or, as we prefer to call him, the jizz wiz), donates his seed to woman who are having trouble conceiving on their own and can’t afford conventional sperm banks. Most women find him through the Internet via his web site trentdonor.org.

According to the Associated Press, Arsenault is a minister’s son who heard about couples’ fertility plights at church, and thought it would be a “neat way…to help the community.”

But the FDA, who sent Arsenault a cease-and-desist letter last year, doesn’t see it that way. Their issue with Johnny Appleseed? They deem his actions unsafe, because he does not follow the agency's requirement to get tested for STDs within seven days before giving sperm. Arsenault does, in fact, get tested regularly for STDs, and even posts his results on his web site for all his potential hookups to see (assuming he even has anything leftover for the women in his life). However, he says getting tested that often would make it impossible for him to keep his semen free. At the time of the FDA letter, Arsenault had already made 328 donations to 46 women. He is allowed to continue with his philanthropic pursuits while the case is pending.

For all those who are scratching their heads and wondering exactly how these transactions take place, ponder no more. According to his site, because of the delicate nature of his cargo, and the relatively short shelf life of sperm, donations cannot be shipped and must instead be picked up locally. He instructs women to track their fertility and on their peak baby-making day, Arsenault arranges and time and place for pickup. He then does his business into a cup and hand-delivers what he refers to as “fresh, raw semen.” He advises women to have a place to go nearby to transfer the semen to their love canal ASAP. Quick, honey, grab the turkey baster!

What I find most comical about this story, however, is the fact that a bioethicist by the name of Arthur Caplan from the University of Pennsylvania told the Associated Press that he was concerned with inadvertent inbreeding and incest. Because, clearly, when someone fathers 14 kids all across the country (couples have traveled from as far as Alaska), you know those children are going to bump into one other, fall in love and mate, having no clue that they’re brother and sister. No offense, Caplan, but I’m not sure even Hollywood would buy that.

Sure, I think what Arsenault is doing is kind of nuts, but do I think the FDA needs to put a stop to it? It certainly seems safer than going out and having a one-night-stand -- which is essentially what his customers are doing, without the sex. Of course, this could invite copycats who might not be as earnest as Arsenault, and who might fudge their STD reports. But, then again, those are the risks couples take when getting free, unregulated sperm. If Arsenault were charging people for the service, it would be a completely different story -- he would have to adhere to rigid safety guidelines. But maybe all this just sheds light on the fact that fertility treatment needs to be made more affordable to couples. That way, they don’t have to resort to asking a stranger to be their baby daddy. And Arsenault could take all that extra time he uses jerking off and put it into a “neater” way of helping the community, like, I don’t know, feeding the poor.

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