A former US Republican politician has made international headlines after allegedly acting as a sperm donor to multiple women in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Herald, Bill Johnson provided sperm to at least nine women although official guidelines state that no man should donate to more than four families.
Speaking to the Herald on Sunday, Mr Johnson said: 'Every person who is a father and a mother knows why I am doing this. If life's circumstances had dealt me a different hand I wouldn't be doing this. It is not the hand that life has dealt my wife'.
'Reproduction and having children is as basic a human need as eating', he told the newspaper.
Mr Johnson explained he was unable to have children with his wife as she had had a hysterectomy before they met. She has three children from a previous marriage but was aware that Mr Johnson had a strong desire to have his own biological children. Although they had discussed him being a sperm donor, she was unaware that he had gone through with it.
When the Herald on Sunday spoke to Mrs Johnson she told the newspaper: 'He knows I am shocked and deeply hurt and even angry. It's not something a wife ever wants to experience. It's very personal and very tragic and we'll have to work through this as a family'.
Mr Johnson ran for governor of Alabama last year where he campaigned against gay marriage. According to the New Zealand Herald, at least one woman he donated to was in a committed lesbian relationship. Mr Johnson said that he was unaware of the relationship status of the women he had donated to.
He used an online alias and Internet sites to bypass the country's strict donating guidelines and, according to the New Zealand Herald, at least three women who have received donations from Mr Johnson are currently pregnant.
The newspaper says Mr Johnson, who works for the disaster recovery company, Ceres, moved to Christchurch in February to help run the earthquake recovery efforts. The company said it was investigating the allegations.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to be involved in the lives of the children conceived using his sperm if the mother's permitted. 'I'll be just as much a parent to them as they want me to be, as I am to my own children', he said. 'I've been trying to get my wife over here, my family over here... so I can be around for these children'.
Mr Johnson has since reportedly asked for his comments made to the New Zealand Herald to be retracted. The newspaper has now reported that Mr Johnson has returned to the US to spend Christmas with his family.