For some couples unable to conceive naturally, the internet offers a much cheaper – and occasionally seedier – alternative to IVF or sperm banks.
That’s according to a new BBC Three documentary which meets willing online donors, including men who admit to being in it for the opportunity for unprotected sex, and one who is secretly thrilled to have fathered 60 children unbeknownst to his wife.
One anonymous donor, who told Desperately Seeking Semen that donations could take place in the unlikeliest of locations, said: ‘Sometimes it’s somebody’s home, sometimes it’s a hotel. Sometimes it’s a railway station, a pub toilet has been used, McDonald’s, Costa Coffee…’
Another described it as ‘a perk’ when women opted for natural insemination.
In Britain the demand for sperm donors far exceeds supply and many donors are travelling the country fathering scores of children, with many offering their services on Facebook groups for a fraction of the cost of a trip to a medical clinic – which can run into the thousands if it is not funded by the NHS.
Here Femail shares the recollections of serial donors included in the BBC Three documentary.
Jody (left) and Charlene (right), both 18, searched for their donor on Facebook. They encounter problems and after two separate attempts unfortunately fail to fall pregnant
As part of the home artificial insemination, one person volunteers to conceive and the partner often inserts the sample using a syringe bought online
One anonymous donor reveals that he has kept his hobby secret from his wife and has fathered more than 60 children
MEET THE MEN WHO DONATE
Artificial and natural insemination is something many couples who are searching for a donor have to decide between.
Jason explained: ‘My preference is probably NI [natural insemination]. You have to have unprotected sex but when you ejaculate it comes out at twenty something miles per hour.
‘So it’s more thorough doing it the NI route than it is the AI [artificial insemination] route.
Currently I have 59 donor babies, seven on the way. My wife doesn’t know anything about it.
‘And I’m not going to lie, having sex, it’s a perk.’
He recalls being thrilled when one particularly attractive female customer turned up on his doorstep requesting his services.
‘I thought how did I get so lucky? Because she was gorgeous, we went in the bedroom and [I] give her a massage and there you go. It’s my trademark manoeuvre.’
Another gentleman, who remained anonymous, revealed that he has fathered over 60 children – all behind his wife’s back.
‘Currently I have 59 donor babies, seven on the way, my wife doesn’t know anything about it.
‘To find out your husband has not got six children anymore, he’s got way over 60, it would be disastrous really.
‘It’s just a secret I have to take to the grave.’
George, a donor for five years, travels all over the UK making semen exchanges. In the documentary (pictured) he visits Chelsea and Sarah’s home to hand over a sample
George has been donating his sperm for five years, and in the documentary he is filmed travelling to meet same-sex couple Chelsea, 25, and Sarah, 23.
HOME ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION
Home artificial insemination is a growing practice in the UK, because demand for semen far outweighs supply.
Men advertise their services online, usually Facebook groups, and will visit couples unable to conceive naturally.
Semen exchange can be made anywhere, more often than not a sperm donor will visit a recipient’s home.
Insemination kits can be bought online without the need for sexual intercourse.
However, some sperm donors prefer natural insemination, the practise of unprotected sex with the recipient.
They had been looking for a man to artificially inseminate Chelsea for over a year after a tragic miscarriage, and paid him £30 for his travel costs and time.
He explained: ‘The reason I wanted to become a donor was to help people, particularly same-sex lesbian couples.
‘Clinics do exist that claim to help these women but it comes at quite a high cost and I’ve heard it can run into thousands.
‘I think they are taking advantage of a woman’s desire to be a mother and I think that is morally wrong.’
He is seen being welcomed into their house and ushered into the bathroom with his phone in hand ready to use for stimulation.
Chelsea went on to fall pregnant, but unfortunately loses the baby, but George is determined to be around to help them succeed in their dreams of motherhood.
‘It’s so important in an arrangement like this, however with social media you can effectively cut someone out of your life, you block them and that’s it.
‘People can behave however they want to because there are no consequences.’
George only charges his customers the cost of his petrol money. He explains the reason he donates sperm is to help people, specifically same-sex couples, who cannot conceive naturally
MEET THE WOMEN SEEKING SPERM
Couple Jody and Charlene, both 18, feature in the documentary where they face difficulties with their donor.
They chose Garry via an online group and arranged for him to visit their home to make the semen exchange.
But when Charlene failed to fall pregnant on their first attempt they had difficulty tracking him down to repeat the process.
In the end they parked up outside his home where he handed them a vial of his semen.
It was a race against time for the couple to get back to their hotel to complete the process, and on their way back made the decision to stop roadside for Jody to artificially inseminate her girlfriend.
By the time their second attempt failed Garry had gone AWOL, despite his promises to be available for the couple. They were left to start the search process all over again.
The people involved in the exchanges never refer to a contractual agreement, but one anonymous donor explained how important it is for the donors to stick to their word.
‘You make a promise to a recipient to help them get pregnant and you have to stick with it, they have invested their hopes in you.
‘You give them your word and keep with them until you succeed.’
Sex Map of Britain: Desperately Seeking Semen is now available to watch on BBC Three iPlayer