14 kids but he’s a virgin

14 kids but he’s a virgin

He has fathered 14 children, but Mr Trent Arsenault is still a virgin.

Impossible?

Not for this 36-year-old Silicon Valley computer security specialist from Fremont, California.

Arsenault is a one-man sperm bank who has fathered an estimated 14 children through free donations of his semen that he advertises over the Internet.

During the past five years, he has given his sperm on more than 328 occasions to at least 46 women, resulting in 14 births, according to the the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) best estimates from documentation Arsenault himself provided.

The healthy bachelor professed a strong religious upbringing, and sees his sperm giveaways as acts of compassion.

He appeared on CNN's Anderson Cooper talk show on Monday and called himself a "donorsexual" who has committed "100 per cent of my sexual energy for producing sperm for childless couples to have babies, so I don't have other activity outside of that".

Cooper was astounded when he asked Arsenault if he has had sex and his reply was: "I will probably be the 40-year-old virgin, except I'll have 15-plus kids."

His answer was greeted with applause from the audience.

The show saw the virgin dad meet one of his progeny for the first time as Analise, who turns two this week, walked onto the stage, the Daily Mail reported.

Trent Arsenault
Trent Arsenault meeting one of his progeny, Analise, for the first time.

A visibly emotional Arsenault said the meeting was "a thrill".

The toddler is mothered by a lesbian couple who seemed overjoyed following the donor's decision to help them conceive.

He said: "I'm trying to not get too emotional. I'm just extremely happy that she's healthy and in a loving home."

Ideal genetic makeup to father children

Ideal genetic makeup to father children

Via a website, Arsenault has touted his sperm as being "organic". He also bills himself as having ideal genes for fathering children.

But FDA begs to differ, and has not taken to his "fathering" lightly.

It has accused him of unlawfully manufacturing human cells and has also warned that it could open the door to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

The agency issued a "cease-and-desist order" in what is the first case of its kind involving a private sperm donor in the US.

The case has drawn national media attention and could test the limits of the agency's authority to regulate private donations of sperm offered as gifts directly to prospective mothers rather than through commercial sperm banks.

Such donations, often provided by men who are close friends of the recipients, have grown more frequent as single women, lesbian partners and heterosexual couples with fertility problems increasingly turn to alternative sources for artificial insemination.

 

 

Arsenault had said that he was helping out childless couples in a situation where the only alternative would be sex with a stranger.

"Under FDA's regulations, sperm donors are required to be screened for risk factors that may increase the chances of transmitting a communicable disease," FDA spokesperson Rita Chappelle explained in an email.

Sperm banks must comply with precise requirements that include a battery of tests to ensure that the donated sperm does not carry human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B or C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, human T-lymphotropic virus, cytomegalovirus or various genetic disorders.

Arsenault gets himself screened every six months for that entire list of diseases but cannot afford the specific FDA-approved tests he is supposed to undergo within seven days of each sperm donation, at a cost of US$1,700, he said.

The stringent, costly testing regimen is the main reason sperm banks charge hundreds of dollars for their services, says Sherron Mills, executive director of the Pacific Reproductive Services in San Francisco.

Rates there range from US$425 to US$600 or more per insemination.

Any woman who finds such a sum too onerous to pay is probably unable to afford routine costs associated with being a parent, Mills said.

"Once you have kids, it costs every bit as much every month," she said.

 

Not stopping without a fight

"I'm helping people in need. I'm not running a business here."

However, Arsenault insists he's not abandoning his genetic generosity without a fight.

He told Huffington Post: "I'm helping people in need. I'm not running a business here."

Couples collect sperm from Mr Arsenault, and one of the partners is then artificially inseminated.

They often send him photos of their children.

He told KNTV: "Every time I log onto Facebook, I'm overwhelmed with all the pictures from the families."

In an interview with Silicon Valley Mercury News, he said: "They contact me because my sperm is fresh, not frozen. It hasn't been quarantined for years."

He claimed that his donations help those with low incomes struggling with infertility: "I'm happy to help the rest of the 99 per cent who aren't so rich," he said.

"Whatever happens with me sets a precedent, which could mean a lot of childless couples," he told Reuters on Monday. "Does the government need to be in people's bedrooms?"

Arsenault argues that outlawing the kind of free service he provides runs the risk of driving some women to seek sperm donations from more questionable sources.

"If you shut out the sperm donors, they are going to have to meet some bar dude," he said. "Spouses would have to cheat on each other."

Arsenault said he gets to know couples before donating to them and maintains relationships with many of the children conceived with his sperm, one reason he doesn't want to stop.

"I have made a commitment to families I donated to," he said. "It's a big emotional process to partner with a donor."

Authorities knocking at the door

Authorities knocking at the door

FDA regulators paid four visits last year to Arsenault's home in Fremont, California, a few miles east of San Francisco, to inspect what they regarded as his sperm-bank operation there, even though he only provides his own semen and does not charge for his services.

The FDA's inquiry culminated last fall with one final visit by agency officials to his home, accompanied by police, to hand-deliver the cease-and-desist order.

Chappelle declined to say whether the agency is investigating any other freelance sperm donors, many of whom advertise their services on the Internet.

Arsenault has retained a lawyer who is handling his court challenge.

Pending the outcome of the case, the FDA has refrained from enforcing its order, and Arsenault said he has continued to donate sperm.

Besides providing greater health safeguards, Mills said, sperm banks offer their customers stronger legal protection from donors who might try to assert their paternity rights after a child is born.

Arsenault signs forms waiving any parental rights. But Mills said such agreements have been voided in some California cases when a medical doctor was absent from the transaction.

Eleanor Nicoll, spokeswoman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said the involvement of a physician is beneficial in and of itself. "If you're trying to address a medical problem, you should seek medical treatment," she said.

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