1. Ed Houben
While modern in vitro fertilization can cost tens of thousands of dollars, Ed Houben prefers to do things the old fashioned way, through sex. What’s more, since it’s illegal to sell sperm in his native Holland, Houben does it all for free. And lest you think he’s just doing it to get laid, reconsider, Houben says that almost none of the women who’s served as a donor for are women that he would choose in a personal sexual encounter.
“This isn’t Heidi Klum coming round and saying: ‘Let’s do it’,” he says. “It’s genuine people who I would never want to hurt. I have a good old fashioned Catholic guilt feeling and I would be a candidate for therapy if I did this for the wrong reasons.”
So far, Houben’s efforts have yielded 87 healthy children due in large part to his high sperm count of 100 million. Anything below 20 million and you’re going to have trouble reaching conception.
A pioneer in the field of assisted fertility in 1940s London, it was believed that Wiesner had a cache of sperm contributed by some of the smartest men in England. All told, the clinic Wiesner ran resulted in about 1,500 live births between 1943 and 1962. But there’s a catch.
Later DNA analysis of the people conceived in the process turn out to largely be the children of one man, Mr. Wiesner himself. Of the 1,500 live births, upwards of 600 are estimated to have been produced as a result of Wiesner’s own donations to his clinic’s supply of sperm.
Today this wouldn’t be allowed because of risks of inbreeding down the line but since Wiesner was one of the few doctors working in the field when it first started no such rules prohibited him from doing what he did.
This unnamed gentleman is single-handedly responsible for the IVF births of 150 children. While he’s remained anonymous, one mother, got access to the donor database in order to hunt down some half-siblings for her own children to contact and ended up creating an entire network between the kids who, she says, all look alike. The families in the network even vacation together sometimes, she says.
4. Kirk Maxey
Maxey, a south Michigan doctor, donated sperm twice a week between 1980 and 1994. He’s a healthy specimen of a man whose mapped genome shows only a 1.9% chance of coronary heart disease and a low risk of Alzheimer’s and baldness. He’s also pushing for greater regulation of the sperm donation industry after they used his sperm to impregnate about 400 different women all within 150 miles of the clinic meaning that there are 400 half-siblings out there who don’t know about one another that may unknowingly one day meet, marry, and have kids that could be less than healthy.
Good job thinking ahead, Michigan clinic!
5. Sam Watson
Unlike the others on the list this dude is actually going for the world record, literally. “I’ve got kids all the way from Spain to Taiwan, so many countries. I’d like to get the world record ever, make sure no-one’s going to break it, get as many as possible.”
Watson is an unlicensed sperm donor who’s been donating once a week for the last 16 years. He estimates that so far he’s sired 800 children all across the world and charges only 50 pounds per sample while collecting it himself with a syringe. Tested for STDs once every three weeks, he also claims a 30% success rate the very first time which is high, higher than the average IVF treatment and far, far cheaper.
The British IVF industry isn’t a big fan of Watson’s work claiming that it’s somehow taking advantage of women. A spokesperson stated in regards to Watson that “if you can’t afford £1,500 to secure safety for yourself and your child, you should wonder if you’re fit for parenthood. It’s an expensive job.”
So, there you have it, if you can’t afford the thousands of dollars per IVF attempt then you’re not a fit parent. Babies, they aren’t for the poors.
For seven years, as a poor college kid at the University of Utah and afterward, Kimball used to donate sperm for $20 per instance. Now he estimates that he could have had hundreds of children this way. At one point his clinic even began turning him away because, they said, he’d saturated the local area and could only donate more if people requested from out of state.
Some donors didn’t meant to have as many donated offspring as they do. Gullicksen donated for a decade and was promised that only ten families would receive his donations. However, he now says it’s clear that the clinic used his sperm way more than that, producing “80 or 90” children rather than the promised ten.
Whitman (not his real name) donated sperm while in school, mostly for the money, at the time, then went on with his life. Later, after having a child of his own and a divorce he took a look at the donor registry to see how often his sperm had been used expecting a relatively low number. What he discovered instead was 34 children, twenty girls and fourteen boys. That’s more than triple the amount currently allowed.
Rooney is a modern pioneer in sperm donation circles. Not only has he fathered 54 children of his own through donations but he’s created app as well to help couples or women seeking a donor find him. He does this all for free. Despite some expressing strong disapproval of his unregulated service, Rooney says its a double standard that’s really the problem.
“Egg donors get treated like saints, sperm donors get treated like back alley, smutty boys,” says Declan. “But I’m not doing a bad thing. I’m not ashamed. I have helped women create families.
Maybe he’s right.