Some have had miscarriages; others are widowed; still others, divorced.Some say they got pregnant when they were much younger and gave up the baby or aborted it, and now want another chance. Hope, a single 43-year-old zoologist, echoes most FSDR searchers when she says, “I really want to have a child, and I want to give that child the best shot at having a good life, which is why I chose this route.”As with traditional sperm banks, most of FSDR’s users are lesbian couples or would-be single mothers.See all of the in these slideshows But sperm banks, though regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, carry risk.In recent years sperm with a host of serious diseases and disorders has been sold to hundreds of women, according to medical journals and other published reports.
Of course, the market for free sperm raises its own set of questions. What I found was a universe that’s often more lascivious than a Nicholson Baker novel, but somehow less bizarre and more relatable.They’re also willing to reveal their identities and allow any future offspring to contact them.Many of the men say they do it out of altruism, but some also talk unabashedly of kinky sex and spreading their gene pool.Earlier this year ABC News identified at least 24 donor-children whose father had a rare aorta defect that could potentially kill his offspring at any minute.And in September, The New York Times reported on sperm banks’ creating 100-kid clusters around a single donor, raising questions about not only disease, but accidental incest. In many states, insurance won’t cover donor insemination unless a woman can show that she hasn’t been able to get pregnant.
Far from being overrun by sex-crazed “sperminators” and “desperate girls,” the way British tabloids have portrayed the business, most of what I found was mundanely human.