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The 'Donorsexual'
February 6, 2012 7:56 AM   Subscribe

The Virgin Father 'Trent Arsenault is 36 years old and has never had sex, but he’s the father of fifteen children — and counting.'

Multipage version. His site: trentdonor.com includes a gallery of babies. The FDA has issued a cease & desist order.

Interview with Anderson Cooper. HuffPost Q&A. More from SFWeekly.
posted by zarq (90 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy Mother of Mary!
posted by Fizz at 7:59 AM on February 6, 2012


He was part of a growing movement of peer-to-peer sperm donation.

Fapster?
posted by googly at 8:01 AM on February 6, 2012 [73 favorites]


He was part of a growing movement of peer-to-peer sperm donation.

Those 3D printers are more advanced than I thought.
posted by kmz at 8:03 AM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"They contact me because my sperm is fresh, not frozen," Arsenault said.

Also vegetarian-fed and hormone-free, presumably.
posted by eugenen at 8:03 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The FDA, which regulates sperm banks, has issued Arsenault a cease-and-desist order. It states Arsenault's Fremont "firm" is distributing semen and is therefore a "manufacturer of human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products."
I like how they "slipped it in" there.
posted by DU at 8:04 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


So ... this is me.
posted by amber_dale at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2012 [28 favorites]


The FDA, which regulates sperm banks, has issued Arsenault a cease-and-desist order. It states Arsenault's Fremont "firm" is distributing semen and is therefore a "manufacturer of human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products."
I see their point but going after this guy seems completely ridiculous. I mean, couldn't they go after any male prostitute based on that theory? Even though it's weird isn't it still consensual sexual activity?
posted by delmoi at 8:06 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pier-to-pier sperm donation: the Navy.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:09 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Crazy name, crazy guy.
posted by Segundus at 8:10 AM on February 6, 2012


amber_dale: "So ... this is me."

Whoa. Hi. Can you speak about what's going on?
posted by zarq at 8:10 AM on February 6, 2012


So ... this is me.

You're his attorney, Amber Taylor? Should we now watch what we say or something?
posted by pracowity at 8:11 AM on February 6, 2012


The FDA, having learned what Trent was up to—he suspected a local sperm bank had tipped off the agency—launched an investigation, eventually filing a “cease manufacture” order.

Is he supposed to post the order on his balls?
posted by Splunge at 8:11 AM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Last March, his mother wrote of “the consequences of such depravatory giving of one’s seed to unknown and most likely degenerate individuals.”

Oh man, those Pentecostals do know how to turn a phrase. Fascinating.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:11 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait until they start hitting him for child support.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I don't know if sperm is a food or a drug. If I am told to stop manufacturing. That would be tough for me to do."

OK, credit where it's due, that's a pretty good line.
posted by The Bellman at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


I thought people might be interested: "Metafilter's own," and all that jazz.

The brief submitted to the FDA is available here, if anyone wants to delve into the legal issues.
posted by amber_dale at 8:18 AM on February 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Many of those babies seem to be very close in size and length. There's some great research going on now about thestrange tug of war between the baby and the mother during pregnancy. From what I've read and barely understood, the father's genes govern the placenta's effectiveness and it in turn governs the size of the baby. The mother's body attempts to limit the size of the baby and the nutrients that go to it. It's a new area of study.

In that context, I think that the fact that he had so many similarly sized (and somewhat large) babies from different mothers to be really interesting.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:20 AM on February 6, 2012


Wait until they start hitting him for child support.

Yeah, it seems to me like arms-length, anonymous transactions benefit the donor more than the recipient or the child. The outcome of a (hypothetical) child support case would definitely be interesting, to say the least.
posted by muddgirl at 8:24 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Metafilter's own," and all that jizz.
posted by yerfatma at 8:24 AM on February 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


cjorgensen: "Wait until they start hitting him for child support."

Typically in cases where a sperm donor has been sued for child support, judges rule in favor of the donor. When they don't, the donor often wins on appeal.
posted by zarq at 8:25 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can certainly see the argument for regulating fee-charging sperm banks, even though we don't regulate people who donate sperm by fucking (and even though most of us have a pretty dim view of eugenicists who think that we should). There are many things—sex (the non-procreative kind), for example, or cooking—that we treat and regulate very differently depending on whether they take place in the context of an uncoerced social relation or in the context of a commodity relation.

That having been said, this guy is not charging for what he does and it seems pretty clearly to be more like cooking dinner for your friends than running a restaurant. So to speak.
posted by enn at 8:26 AM on February 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


The mother's body attempts to limit the size of the baby and the nutrients that go to it. It's a new area of study.

Not that new. I read about this in The Selfish Gene or possibly The Extended Phenotype.
posted by DU at 8:28 AM on February 6, 2012


I want to know more about his "work bed", he does his security work from his bed? That is living the dream
posted by Ad hominem at 8:28 AM on February 6, 2012


That dude looks unnervingly...Aryan.
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on February 6, 2012


I don't think the NY Mag article will do much to help the legal argument that he should be exempt from regulation as a "sexually intimate partner."
posted by exogenous at 8:29 AM on February 6, 2012


I wonder if he'd give me a kidney. I have no need for a third kidney mind you, but I just wonder if he would.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:30 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trent had “dishonored and humiliated” the family, and his only hope was to “truly repent and embrace the precepts of the Bible.”

A lot of fundagelicalesque prohibitions only make sense if you look sideways at the Bible and squint. It's nice to see a prohibition so flagrantly groundless as to make this obvious. (the Bible condemns not giving seed to women who want it, not the other way around)

When Trent was 16, he and his best friend made a pact to devote their lives to science and never to marry.

Spectacularly awesome. For the sake of humanity, he needs to spread his genes around as widely as possible.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:30 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Coincidentally, I had an arms-length, anonymous transaction in the shower just this morning.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:31 AM on February 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


My impression is that, in the US, it's much more uncertain than 'judges rule in favor of the donor.'
Some jurisdictions have adopted a version of the Uniform Parentage Act (either the 1973 version or the 2000 version), which tries to settle some of these issues. Among other things, the act makes clear that in most cases donors aren't parents. But only about a third of the states have adopted some version of the UPA, and in states that have, courts tend to interpret the law narrowly. For example, several cases under the 1973 version of the act hold that the donor provisions don't bar claims involving known sperm donors unless the sperm was obtained and implanted by a licensed physician.
posted by muddgirl at 8:33 AM on February 6, 2012


"When he emerges, he is holding a digital camera with a picture. For the last several years, he has photographed every stool and every ejaculation, scanning them for noteworthy variations and amassing material for his archives."
This is one step away from saving his nail clippings and urine in jars and watching Ice Station Zebra over and over. Honestly, I think the above habit is more unsettling than the whole sperm-donation situation.
posted by foldedfish at 8:33 AM on February 6, 2012 [24 favorites]


He seems to be helping some people, but.... creep alert. Everything about him reads creepy.
posted by gonna get a dog at 8:35 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is one step away from saving his nail clippings and urine in jars and watching Ice Station Zebra over and over.

I would argue that it's no steps away, and possibly one step past.
posted by The Bellman at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2012 [27 favorites]


Fascinating.
posted by OmieWise at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fact, Arsenault says it right here:
He considered his relationship with his recipients to be “intimate.” Why should the government regulate what he was doing, when anyone, with who knew what health issues, could walk into a bar and have a one-night stand?
If you walk into a bar and have a one-night-stand that results in a pregnancy, you are responsible for caring for that progeny.
posted by muddgirl at 8:48 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since you're already pickin' and choosin' your sperm menu-style: you probably shouldn't use 36 year old sperm, which is all full of mutations and leads to worse mental and physical outcomes for the child.

... Not to mention all those weirdo virgin genes.
posted by dgaicun at 8:49 AM on February 6, 2012


He's clever. Go forth, and multiply, young man.
posted by Goofyy at 8:50 AM on February 6, 2012


So wait, if I wanted to do this for mefi, is that gonna go under Jobs or Projects? Mods? Mods?
posted by Greg Nog at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


Jobs, if you're doing it right.
posted by aaronetc at 8:52 AM on February 6, 2012


I'm really hoping they have Dwight from the office start doing this in and attempt to populate the earth with Schrutes.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretending "virginity" has any meaning at all in this case is disingenuous, at best.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:07 AM on February 6, 2012


I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
I shot an arrow in the sky-
Shit! I got some in my eye!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not that new. I read about this in The Selfish Gene or possibly The Extended Phenotype.

As a concept it's not new at all; parental-offspring conflict is well known in many settings. The study of the actual mechanisms by which the fetus and the mother resolve that conflict? That is pretty new stuff. Here is a great article about it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2012


As an adoptee and an immensely proud father, I kind of resent the article referring to him as a father of fifteen children. Here's a clue: Unless he's the one changing shitty diapers, taking his kids to ballet practice, karate or little league, going to meet with his kids' teachers, sitting at the dining room table poring over mountains of college and financial aid brochures, and in general doing all the things that fathers do for their children, he's not a father, he's a sperm donor, nothing more.

There's noting wrong or dishonorable about being a sperm donor, mind you, but I reserve the honor of the name "father" for those who do all the stuff that comes AFTER ejaculation.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:15 AM on February 6, 2012 [38 favorites]


What a great idea for an art project: a Dixie cup, surrounded by fifteen Father's Day cards.

or should that be a turkey baster?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:15 AM on February 6, 2012


I just noticed my mental outcomes link probably wasn't the best choice for the point I was trying to make (since that study actually is somewhat contrary to the mutation theory); but the Wikipedia article on paternal age effect links to a wide range of mental and physical health studies.

So please ladies, don't use the defective nut garbage of 30+ year old men. For the sake of your future child, shtup the high school boy that cleans your pool or delivers your pizzas. Speaking as a former high school boy I can tell you that everybody wins in this scenario.
posted by dgaicun at 9:16 AM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Unless your pool boy is 15 and a thousand miles away....
posted by cjorgensen at 9:21 AM on February 6, 2012


Not the pocket pool boy - the boy who cleans your pool.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:22 AM on February 6, 2012


There's noting wrong or dishonorable about being a sperm donor, mind you, but I reserve the honor of the name "father" for those who do all the stuff that comes AFTER ejaculation.

Perhaps "sire" would be a better word.
posted by me3dia at 9:23 AM on February 6, 2012


muddgirl: "My impression is that, in the US, it's much more uncertain than 'judges rule in favor of the donor.'
Some jurisdictions have adopted a version of the Uniform Parentage Act (either the 1973 version or the 2000 version), which tries to settle some of these issues. Among other things, the act makes clear that in most cases donors aren't parents. But only about a third of the states have adopted some version of the UPA, and in states that have, courts tend to interpret the law narrowly. For example, several cases under the 1973 version of the act hold that the donor provisions don't bar claims involving known sperm donors unless the sperm was obtained and implanted by a licensed physician."
I was not saying that donors have nothing to worry about. However, most court cases (including the one mentioned in that link which was won by the donor on appeal in 2008, a year after that answer was written) do indeed come out in favor of the donor. That's clearly not a guarantee, and each case circumstances definitely matter. Worth noting that the case mentioned in your link before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was won by the donor in 2008, too.

This situation is even more complicated than the answer given in that link would lead a casual reader to believe. There are a number of issues here:

1) Donor insemination laws are state specific. They're also not always based on the UPA. In Texas, for example, the UPA was used as a thorough foundation for parentage laws. But that's not the case in some other states.
2) Some donor laws only affect married women. Some donor laws specifically mention "wife and husband."
3) Legal precedent can change from case to case.
4) Some states forfeit a donor's parental rights if the sperm goes through a clinic, bank or doctor. (The UPA specifically mentions this. But if the sperm is given directly to a recipient, they may be liable. Illinois law addresses this carefully and incidentally also refers back to point #2.)
5) Courts nearly always consider whether a donor has some involvement in the child's life. If their only act of parenting is donation, then it becomes less likely that they will be required to contribute child support.

There's a nice rundown of the results of various cases at the AFA's site in this article.

Which is why every organization involved in surrogacy, sperm donation and assisted reproduction advises prospective parents to get a skilled lawyer who is experienced in the issues and laws involved, so a contract can be set up in advance.

States have taken the UPA, modified it as they saw fit and incorporated into their legal codes. Every state has their own laws that govern parentage. Many states have adopted some form of the Universal Parenting Act from 1973. However, some state and federal Supreme Court cases invalidated several of those laws when challenged, as they were specifically worded to favor traditional marriages over children born though other unions. The revised UPA act was put forth in 2000, and has been adopted by (I believe) 11 states so far. It states that the donor of the sperm or the egg cannot be the legal parent of a child conceived from their genetic material under any circumstances. In fact, it specifically says that a donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction.

But every state words their laws differently, and existing state laws and precedents may affect how they are interpreted.
posted by zarq at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2012


"Sire" might work - although it's worth mentioning the in the US of A, the Thoroughbred registry requires a "live cover." For Jockey Club Thoroughbreds,anyway. With Warmbloods and various Sport Horses, the Thermos method is A-Okay!

My own ideas about what to call him are NSFW. Even though he seems very very sad.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2012


This situation is even more complicated than the answer given in that link would lead a casual reader to believe.

I absolutely agree, which is why I said, NOT that Trent would end up paying support, but that any such case would be interesting.
posted by muddgirl at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2012


And my futher point was NOT that known donors are automatically responsible for child support, but that anonymity protects the donor from lawsuits - AFAIK you can't really sue someone if you don't know their name or contact information.
posted by muddgirl at 9:48 AM on February 6, 2012


I just noticed my mental outcomes link probably wasn't the best choice for the point I was trying to make (since that study actually is somewhat contrary to the mutation theory); but the Wikipedia article on paternal age effect links to a wide range of mental and physical health studies.

So please ladies, don't use the defective nut garbage of 30+ year old men. For the sake of your future child, shtup the high school boy that cleans your pool or delivers your pizzas. Speaking as a former high school boy I can tell you that everybody wins in this scenario.
Whatever point you were trying to make isn't clear at all. It just list some diseases which are mostly uncommon but potentially slightly 'correlated' with paternal age. Claiming, based on that that "sperm from men over 30 years old is bad" is completely insane, since many men become fathers after that age.
posted by delmoi at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2012


Anyway, yeah his legal risk for potentially paying child support is pretty high. Especially since he's now claiming to have an 'intimate' relationship with the parents.

Plus, if he's giving this stuff out to people all over the country, what state's laws apply? Is it the state where the kid lives? Or what?
posted by delmoi at 9:52 AM on February 6, 2012


Trent had long ago acquired a taste for being observed, starting in junior high when the local paper wrote a story about his ham-radio station WWOU.
Somebody should've proofed this better. According to ARRL's database, he's WW0U.

I'm not kidding when I say that I've already contacted the New York magazine staff about this egregious error that is very important to the reader's understanding of this piece.
posted by knile at 9:58 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


One boy, fifteen cups.
posted by gene_machine at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


muddgirl: "And my futher point was..."

I was simply responding to your comment "'My impression is that, in the US, it's much more uncertain than 'judges rule in favor of the donor.'" with additional detail. Not arguing with the other points you were making, on which we agree.

He's opening himself up to a lawsuit. Whether such a hypothetical lawsuit is successful would be anyone's guess. But even though I'm not a lawyer, I believe that depending on where the case was tried and the individual situation the odds are still likely in his favor.
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on February 6, 2012


"Obey the authorities, as God’s will will not go against the authorities of the land"

What is the reference there? It thought it was more like "We must obey God rather than men." ??
posted by mrgrimm at 10:11 AM on February 6, 2012


I've been trying to figure out what the law is in New York regarding a sperm donor's rights. Found this:
Various State Laws Concerning a Known Sperm Donor's Rights

California: If you go through a licensed medical professional (even if the insemination is done at home), then the sperm donor automatically loses all claim to the child, and if the mother is married, the husband automatically becomes the legal father (assuming he and the mother sign a consent form to that end).
Oregon: Nearly identical statute to California.
Florida: If you are found to be a "donor" under state law, then all rights/obligations to the child are relinquished, even if the insemination is NOT done through a licensed medical professional. The courts will look to any written contracts in determining the parties' intent on the role of the donor.
Pennsylvania: Any insemination performed outside a licensed insemination facility will not legally be considered "artificial insemination," and the donor will automatically be considered the father of the child, with all the according rights and responsibilities.
New York: Contracts regarding sperm donation between a couple and a donor are generally unenforcable, and the court will only look at the best interests of the child in determining the rights and duties of the donor.
Totally didn't occur to me that a contract between donor and recipient might not be legally enforceable. Also I didn't realize that NY law is supposed to determine what's best for the child. Interesting.
posted by zarq at 10:13 AM on February 6, 2012


I absolutely love how both sides are arguing from a religious standpoint. Trent's argument even includes WWJD:

"The official Assemblies of God view on it is that the seed of a man is between a man and a woman, and if God wants you to have a child, you will, and otherwise you don’t have a child. And if you believe that, it shuts out quite a large group of people wanting to have children. What do you think Jesus would do?”

At the end of the day, we all have free will.
posted by teej at 10:19 AM on February 6, 2012


No - I charge for my will.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:22 AM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


zarq, muddgirl, et. al, I agree, this situation has many interesting legal facets. I don't know if he has contractual agreements between himself and the mothers--or if the contracts would standup in court. Another interesting point is that he DOES have relationships with at least some of the children. I would assume having a relationship with the child makes him more than a "sperm donor". In addition, what custody issues surround the relationships? If he doesn't like one of the mothers or how she is raising the child, can he TAKE custody of the child? After all, he is the FATHER of the child. Can he be sued for support--especially if he has a relationship with the child? Many questions
posted by teej at 10:28 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just read Vonnegut's The Big Space Fuck last night, somehow the two seem related.
posted by edgeways at 10:38 AM on February 6, 2012



Boy, that is so weird. But, this is America, we invented weird. The legalities of the situation are rather interesting and frankly I tie this all up with the legalities of prostitution.

My thought process works like this. We have an independent contractor providing a service, negotiated between consenting adults. Why does anyone else care?

I always thougt prostitution was a zoning thing. Nobody really cares is if two people meet in a club and have a one-night-stand, but if someone is paying and someone else is accepting payment, then that's a problem. Why? Most people find streetwalkers bring down property values.

As for Trent, hey live long and prosper dude. I find you incredibly bizarre, but that's just me. If people want you to provide DNA, then Gey Geshunt, who am I to say anything?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:08 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever point you were trying to make isn't clear at all. It just list some diseases which are mostly uncommon but potentially slightly 'correlated' with paternal age. Claiming, based on that that "sperm from men over 30 years old is bad" is completely insane, since many men become fathers after that age.


Allow me to clarify my point: At the age of 30, men and women and their defunct, corrupted gametes should undergo a euthanation ritual that I call "Carrousel"-- or Affirmative Vaporization-- in order to improve the gene pool and stabilize the population.

I don't see what's terribly controversial about this.

... Seriously though, I'm not sure you're wrong that the risks of paternal age are slight. I wouldn't know how much decision-making weight to give to, say a two or threefold higher risk of schizophrenia. But those kinds of added risk numbers seem to show up for a long list of bad outcomes, and the list seems to be growing the more researchers pry. However uncertain the causes and correlations for individual outcomes.

So I don't think there was any ambiguity in my comments: if you're already choosing donor sperm based on checklist criteria like education, health, and occupation, then the age of the donor should probably be given a nontrivial amount of consideration as well, since it is associated with negative health outcomes across hundreds of studies.

posted by dgaicun at 11:10 AM on February 6, 2012


Ruthless, if you look at the history of a parent's responsibility to a child. From the legal standpoint, there have been cases where the male, who believed he was the biological father, but was proven to not be the father, still had to pay child support. This is especially common if the male is married to the mother of the child. If you think about it, a child is expensive. By making someone financially responsible for the child, the person, as opposed to society carries the burden. Is it fair for the guy? No, but is it fair for society to carry the burden?
posted by teej at 11:21 AM on February 6, 2012


The hilarious part is that in the future, genetic anthropologists might assume that this was some sort of harem that this guy had.
posted by melissam at 11:24 AM on February 6, 2012


Personally, I think as more and more children of un-involved sperm donors grow up and start writing about it, it will become less popular. Reading that and other blogs (plus The Kids are Alright, which portrays it kind of ambiguously) made me rule it out personally if/when I want to have children with another woman. I think co-parenting is a good alternative. I think it's OK to have two mothers, but I also think fathers play an important and unique role, why not have two mothers and a father too (or two fathers)?
posted by melissam at 11:30 AM on February 6, 2012


There are any number of people who end up being sperm donors. My sister had a fling with a complete douchebag one night, he made a perfect sperm donor. He has zero interest in his daughter, or in the kids of the other two (three?) women he managed to knock up the same year. My sister got a really nice kid out of the deal, sure, but it isn't fair to her daughter that her dad is nothing more than a sperm donor. Asshole doesn't even pay child support, and not likely he can be made to given the circumstances. Can't get blood from a turnip anyway.

Whatever else you can say about this weird donor guy in the FPP, at least he is only donating to those who want it, rather than having random intercourse without being willing to take responsibility for the possible outcome of said intercourse. It's not my thing, but I can at least respect him for that.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:46 AM on February 6, 2012


I wonder how heritable the propensity to donate sperm like this is. For certain values, the knock-on knock-up effect could lead to an sperm-donor-dominated reproductive cycle for our species pretty quickly.
posted by phrontist at 12:01 PM on February 6, 2012


I'm really hoping for a triumph of nurture over nature for the sake of the children in this equation. Mainly because I myself would go nuts if my children decided they needed to live full time in a tent city in my back yard.
posted by padraigin at 12:05 PM on February 6, 2012


I'm baffled. After reading about him, why would anyone want his sperm? He seems more than a tad crazypants (yes, that's a technical term.)
posted by Kokopuff at 12:07 PM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


The study of the actual mechanisms by which the fetus and the mother resolve that conflict? That is pretty new stuff.

No it's not. I was learning about maternal imprinting and the IGF-II gene (and other such relevant ideas) when I was an undergrad in the early nineties. Sure, epigenetics as a whole has had a lot more stuff discovered since then, but that's because of the continual, ongoing research into the area leading up to those discoveries (and, of course, the massive advances in molecular biology technology). That article is just another thing that's been found out somewhat recently, it doesn't mean the study area is new at all.
posted by shelleycat at 12:08 PM on February 6, 2012


What a wanker!
posted by dvdgee at 12:31 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ruthless, if you look at the history of a parent's responsibility to a child. From the legal standpoint, there have been cases where the male, who believed he was the biological father, but was proven to not be the father, still had to pay child support. This is especially common if the male is married to the mother of the child. If you think about it, a child is expensive. By making someone financially responsible for the child, the person, as opposed to society carries the burden. Is it fair for the guy? No, but is it fair for society to carry the burden?

Are you referring to my comment? If so, I'm really not tracking.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:02 PM on February 6, 2012


I think we can all agree this is a seminal case. (Also, a yellow water polo ball? Really?)
posted by whir at 1:02 PM on February 6, 2012


Coincidentally, I had an arms-length, anonymous transaction in the shower just this morning.

Anonymous, really? I've heard the aphorism "let not your left hand know what your right hand does", but I think you're carrying it a bit too far.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:15 PM on February 6, 2012


So many men can't give it away...
posted by Cranberry at 1:41 PM on February 6, 2012


My main question after reading this is, why would so many women accept donated sperm from an individual who's so clearly mentally ill?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:18 PM on February 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Virgin Father sounds like something out of a cult's origin story. I'll pass on the trans-substantiated tapioca, thanks.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:09 PM on February 6, 2012


I thought the previous (sort of) related thread covered more interesting ground. It's the one about the guy with 70 donated offspring in an excel spreadsheet.
posted by bukvich at 3:11 PM on February 6, 2012


My main question after reading this is, why would so many women accept donated sperm from an individual who's so clearly mentally ill?

I think the article answers that several times: desperation and poverty. These are people for whom adoption or IVF are not options.

I too would be a bit concerned my child would have crippling OCD.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:33 PM on February 6, 2012


Did anyone else start reading this and immediately think of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory? I think there was even an episode where he mentioned the idea of having a kid with Amy, via artificial insemination.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:36 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cluster A personality disorder. However, I can't help but keep asking myself who is being harmed by this... if his genetic makeup is good then noone.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:24 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just read Vonnegut's The Big Space Fuck last night, somehow the two seem related.

Just don't get me started on Harlan's Dangerous Visions 3 fiasco.
posted by ovvl at 7:14 PM on February 6, 2012


edgeways I just read Vonnegut's The Big Space Fuck last night

Thanks for that!
posted by Kerasia at 10:30 PM on February 6, 2012


Once I get past the persistent weirdness I think I really have to respect the guy for living his life on his terms. Now I'm going to go take a shower to cleanse myself of the creepy.
posted by tmt at 12:59 PM on February 7, 2012


I didn't realize that NY law is supposed to determine what's best for the child

The best interests of the child is the golden standard in basically all law that relates to children, including but not limited to family law. It's one of the best examples of how impossible the enterprise of justice is because it's a subjective standard, which is necessary to enable judges to respond to every child as an individual, but the resulting malleability means you start reading cases where minor girls go to court to get permission for an abortion (in cases where they are afraid to tell their parents, for example, because of abuse) and the judges twist themselves into a knot to explain how forcing a 13 year old abuse victim to keep an unwanted child is in her "best interests."

In child support cases, dolla billz tend to be in the best interests of the child. Easier cases.
posted by prefpara at 4:47 AM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to see someone judicially test this:

If he gave you a plastic container with semen inside, as a gift, and you accepted this gift, it is now yours.

If you should choose to decant your gift and inseminate yourself with this semen, which is owned by you, does this make you the father?
posted by Sallyfur at 7:07 PM on February 8, 2012


The problem with 'judicially testing' is that (generally) either the donor or the recipient would have to sue for it. And it seems to me that, since the interests of the child matter, the situation which leads one or the other to sue for paternity is very very important when we're discussing outcomes.
posted by muddgirl at 8:07 PM on February 8, 2012


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