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May 10, 2001
The thought of fathering a bunch of kids who I don't know and never meet actually turns me on. Is that weird or what? Are there any restrictions against gay guys donating to sperm banks? Are there sperm banks that specialize in hooking up gay spunk with lesbians? How do I go about this?
Who's Your Daddy?
"We serve the gay and lesbian community," explained Lisa Ferretti, donor coordinator at Pacific Reproductive Services (PRS), a sperm bank with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. "Our recipients are more than 90 percent lesbian, but we can't accept gay male donors."
"It's complicated," said Lisa. "We're a licensed sperm bank [and have to] follow the guidelines put out by the American Association of Tissue Banks. Those guidelines don't allow us to accept donors from any high-risk groups." (Those high-risk groups include gay men, people with many sexual partners, and men with a history of IV drug use.)
PRS will, however, work with gay men in one instance: "If a woman has a gay friend or an in-law who is going to be her own private donor, we will medically screen that man." But that process is just as long and involved as with an anonymous donor. "Designated donors will still have to go through a complete medical screening, a physical exam, a battery of lab tests (blood work and STDs), and an HIV risk assessment. The semen is frozen and quarantined for a minimum of six months, then we re-test the donor, and then any of the sperm donated can be released."
Dragging a designated donor down to PRS provides a woman with more than just medical protection. "California law states that if a man furnishes his sperm to a licensed medical facility to inseminate a woman who is not his wife, he waves all parental rights," Lisa explained. Bringing her designated donor to PRS protects the woman from a no-strings-attached sperm donor who suddenly decides he wants to be the daddy (and make the decisions), while at the same time protecting a no-strings-attached donor from a woman who suddenly decides she wants child-support payments.
But being a designated donor isn't going to help you, WYD. So what options are open to pervy gay boys turned on by fathering children they'll never meet? You can lie to Lisa, of course, and tell her you're straight, though most of PRS' staff are dykes, and Lisa assured me that they know from homos. "I don't think he would be able to fool us for long," she said. "Because we ask for a two-year commitment, and the process is so rigorous, we tend to get to know the donors pretty well."
And even if you did fool the folks at PRS and knocked up a few lesbians, you might have to meet your kids one day. Like most progressive sperm banks, PRS requires its donors to meet any children they father once the kid turns 18--provided the kid wants to meet his dad, of course. You could offer your spunk to a more conservative sperm bank with less finely tuned gaydar, but they're not going to be hooking up your gay spunk with lesbians. Many mainstream sperm banks won't work with single or lesbian women. "Most won't sell sperm to a couple that doesn't have a marriage certificate," according to Lisa.
Even if you were straight, PRS probably wouldn't be interested in your spunk. "Someone who's doing this for some kind of turn-on factor will be turned off by the level of commitment that's required," said Lisa, perhaps underestimating the lengths to which perverts will go to get off. But even if a pervert is willing to invest the time, Lisa told me PRS works very hard to screen out the freaks. Guys who arrive at her sperm bank expecting an experience out of the Tom Green flick Road Trip (in which a sperm bank nurse shoves a finger up a straight boy's butt), "will leave very disappointed," Lisa insisted.
So if donating sperm is a pain in the ass--and only figuratively, never literally--and the money's not great ($60 per shot), and gay men aren't allowed, and men who might be turned on by the whole idea are kicked to the curb, who the hell is filling the freezers at Pacific Reproductive Services? "We work with a lot of students," Lisa said. "The money's not great, but it can help supplement a student's income. We also see a lot of straight men who are married and already have kids. Some men are motivated to help the lesbian community, others just want to get their genes out there in the world."
Straight guys and straight-acting gay men can learn more about sperm donation by visiting Pacific's website, which has the cringe-inducing address www.hellobaby.com. While awful, that address is still more inviting than, say, www.hellofrozenchunksofspunk.com, or any of the others I might come up with.
Can't Decide, the young man who found himself attracted to several 17-year-olds, might find the help he needs at www.ageofconsent.com. It has good information on the legality of his situation, no matter where he lives. And you can learn plenty of other useful things there, too, like just how many states still have sodomy laws.
I checked out the website and personally found it to be both deeply, deeply disturbing and something of a comfort. The site lists the age of consent for straight, gay, and lesbian sex in countries all over the world, and I must say it ruined my day to learn that I will never be able to live in Bhutan, Guyana, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Uzbekistan, or Zaire. I was, however, relieved to learn that I will never be able to live in Florida, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, or Utah.
Can I quote your last column to you? You wrote about Bridget Jones's Diary: "I even cried at the end when Bridget, in her tiger-striped panties, got her man." I'm shocked that you just ruined the movie for me. I guess that's why you're in the advice column business and not the film review business. If you're going to ruin the ending of a film or book in your column, could you warn us in advance?
Won't Be Seeing That Movie
Excuse me, WBSTM, but it's a well known FACT that Bridget Jones's Diary is a film about a young woman and the two men--both prominently featured in the film's adverts--chasing her around central London. In my brief comments on the film, I didn't indicate which man Bridget got. Even if there were only one man, and I had "given it away," only a dolt would sit through a movie like BJD and not expect the girl to get the guy in the end. The girl always gets the guy at the end of a romantic comedy, you dope, except when the guy gets the girl. Gee, I hope I'm not ruining the movie by revealing that the young Miss Jones doesn't die of leukemia in the final reel, nor are her arms severed in a wheat thresher, nor does she perish when her plane is shot down by the Peruvian Air Force working in concert with the CIA. Cripes.