Fears over growing number of Facebook sperm donors amid warnings that women are turning to strangers on social media in bid to conceive
- A major sperm donor site has warned against finding services on social media
- Pride Angel has had to ban ‘super-sperm donors’ from its site
- It highlights ‘Facebook fathers’ who track their donations on Excel spreadsheets
Concerns are growing over the increasing number of men using Facebook to advertise that they are sperm donors.
And a major donor website has now come out to warn women against turning to strangers on social media in their bid to conceive.
It comes after James MacDougall was named this week as offering his services to lesbian women despite having a genetic condition which can be inherited.
The 37-year-old has fathered 15 children, despite knowing his Fragile X syndrome can lead to learning difficulties, seizures and autistic traits in offspring.
Pride Angel – which connects couples, lesbians and single women with donors – has had to ban many ‘super-sperm donors’ who donate multiple times
The website Pride Angel – which connects couples, lesbians and single women with donors – has seen the number of men offering services double in less than five years.
And the site has had to ban many ‘super-sperm donors’ like Mr MacDougall, as well as those who try to donate sperm ‘naturally’ by offering women sex.
Pride Angel founder Erika Tranfield said: ‘We know there are Facebook fathers and men who have Excel spreadsheets recording the data on the number of children they have.
‘They go from area to area, they have a lot of bravado, and it can become a little bit like an addiction.
‘They are happy to be spreading their genes, their seed.
‘However these men are in the minority and we do all we can on the website to try and prevent them registering, and we are looking at potentially offering genetic testing for sperm in the future.’
Family court judge Mrs Justice Lieven lifted MacDougall’s anonymity to deter others from using him as a donor, after he started a legal battle so he could have access to four of the children he fathered.
He insists he ‘did a good thing’ despite failing to tell women he had a genetic condition.
Pride Angel is a major donor website and has now warned would-be mothers against turning to social media for sperm donations
After the case, Pride Angel revealed it has seen its sperm donor membership leap from just 504 men in 2011 to 4,938 this year. The rapid rise means experts fear a similar surge in men offering their services through social media – as Mr MacDougall did – for free.
They may be making up for a downturn in the number of sperm donors through UK fertility clinics following the pandemic, with just 671 registering in 2020, compared with 776 the previous year.
One online sperm donor, Simon Watson, claims to have fathered more than 800 children, including 18 sets of twins.
He has even offered to pass his samples over to women in supermarket car parks.
While Mr MacDougall fathered 15 children, men who give sperm to licensed clinics can only donate to up to ten families to minimise the number of children they can have.
This reduces the risk of two children from the same sperm donor forming a relationship and unwittingly committing incest because they do not know they are related.
Clinics are overseen by the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
It means they are required by law to screen sperm for infections such as HIV and hepatitis, and hereditary illnesses.
Experts warn of the risk of sexual assault for women finding donors online, with some men trying to take advantage of women they know are desperate for a child.
A spokesman for the HFEA said: ‘Although donating sperm outside of a licensed centre is not illegal, our advice is always that it is safer for fertility patients using donor sperm to have treatment at a licensed clinic.’
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