WTF: Virgin Fathers 16 Kids and Counting

Usually my big WTF moments come from the magical wonderland of American politics. Like when poor Thad McCotter (R-MI) recently discovered that his petition to run for reelection on the Republican ticket is invalid because instead of getting 1000 signatures, his staff got about 200 and then photocopied them and handed them in and hoped no one would notice. McCotter first thought about running a write-in campaign but decided against it and won’t seek reelection at all. I’ve met Rep. McCotter and, while I’m on the opposite side of the issues form him, I can say he’s basically a nice man and nothing in his record is shady. This is a sucky end to his political career. He deserved more dignity than going down in a scandal wrought by some staffer who treated the ballot petition like forging your mom’s signature on a school form.

Anyway, that’s usually the kind of thing that catches my eye. Most other categories of WTF are immediately spotted and snatched up by TLC which turns them into reality shows like My Strange Obsession. But this story about a 36 year old man who has never had sex but donates sperm daily to infertile couples is too weird even for TLC, apparently. I ended up hearing about it from a British tabloid. Here’s what I wrote about it over on Babble today:

According to the The Sun newspaper (UK):

Trent made his first sperm donation in 2006 when a lesbian couple responded to an advert he placed. A year later his first child was born.

Since then he has gone on to have 16 more — and another three are due to be born in coming months. He says he is currently in touch with more than a hundred families who want his sperm. A lesbian couple recently flew all the way from France to be inseminated.

Arsenault allegedly believes donating sperm to infertile couples is his calling and he has arranged his life to accommodate this. He has created a fitness and nutrition regime to boost sperm count and moved to a climate he feels is more conducive to sperm creation. He avoids pollution and sunlight because he believes both of them to diminish his sperm count, which he claims is four times the national average.

So far, this guy sounds quirky but mostly harmless, like someone who would be featured on one of those “my weird obsession” shows on tv. Some people collect Cabbage Patch Kids, some people grow their toe nails to disgusting lengths, this guy donates a lot of sperm. But then the story goes off the rails for me. See, Arsenault, isn’t working with a sperm bank or fertility clinic. He’s doing this all on his own, in his house:

But at some point every day, a woman or couple will arrive to receive a donation. He shows them into the guesthouse and retreats to his bedroom.

Then he takes the sperm to the woman in a “collection cup” and she uses a syringe provided by a doctor to inseminate herself. Trent said: “A woman who came to see me recently chose to inseminate by herself in the spare bedroom while I chatted with her husband in the yard.”

That totally creeps me out. Never mind that there are no health safeguards in place and couples are taking this man’s word for it that he’s not carrying any communicable diseases. What’s really odd is the level of intimacy he’s insisting on. This starts to sound more like a fetish than altruism.

Weird, right? Creepy, right? Asking people to fly to your house while you masturbate into a cup which you then present to them so they can inject it, right there in your house? So. Very. Icky.

I’m all about people donating sperm, blood, organs, you name it if it will help others but this? Crosses a line for me. What do you all thing?

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9 comments for “WTF: Virgin Fathers 16 Kids and Counting

  1. Layne
    June 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Did you see the show on PBS a while back of the donor in California who had a ton of kids, and they all found him?

  2. June 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

    That has a pretty high creep factor

  3. June 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Reframing your personal biological imperative as your “calling” in life? Ewwww, yet soo interesting.

  4. June 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Total obsession – not in the least altruistic. Blech.

  5. tiff_tut
    June 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Sperm donation sites won’t take you unless you have at least a Bachelor’s degree, along with a list of other requirements which seem much more reasonable. And many people can’t afford the fertility treatments involved with donated sperm. So I can see why people might go to him. But I am also very uncomfortable with the complete lack of medical screening involved with this guy. As for making people inseminate in his home, I don’t know that it’s necessarily any more creepy than doing it in a totally sterile room with medically trained strangers. Plus, it doesn’t say that everyone has to be inseminated at his home, and no one is forcing these women to go to him, so if they know the drill in advance, they have chosen this route on their own.

  6. Delora
    June 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    If I was asking my good friend to donate sperm, this seems like how I’d want to do it. But yeah, this guy does seem to have a fetish and I agree with you on the medical safeguards (or lack thereof).

  7. June 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Crazy! This is one of those things that just makes me uncomfortable and I’m not entirely sure why. Lol

  8. June 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Ack, this is really weird. I can understand why couples who can’t afford expensive treatment might be tempted to use him. However, the lack of medical screenings is downright terrifying.

    Sure he says he’s a virgin but that’s just his word.

    Like I said, I can see why they might be tempted but actually going through with it? Seems really foolish.

  9. Cait
    June 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    This is the same guy Layne mentioned. As huge as the creep factor is, he does get screened for diseases periodically, and is appealing for state and federal approval to continue. I personally would not use this route, but I can understand the desperation that some couples feel when IVF is so costly. I had to go peek at his website to make sure it was the guy I had seen last year, and he lays his whole life out there for prospective recipients to review. I suppose it’s better than Snooki’s option…

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