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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter





Private sperm donor fathers 82 children using sex as donation method

23 April 2012

By Rosemary Paxman

Appeared in BioNews 653

Ed Houben, a 42-year-old Dutch man has fathered at least 82 children by private sperm donation, mostly by having sex with his clients, news sources report.

Houben, who lives in Maastricht, launched his free service nine years ago after reaching the legal limit for donations to sperm banks in the Netherlands. He spoke with prospective parents and many of them, he told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, said they found IVF in fertility clinics to be 'very impersonal, cold and clinical. They appreciate being able to see who the biological father of their child will be'.

Houben claims an 80 percent success rate from donations. 'From my own experience, statistically, natural insemination is faster', he said.

Of Houben's 82 children, 45 are girls, 35 are boys, while two mothers preferred not to tell him of the sex of their child. His firstborn is now nine years old and the youngest two months old, and ten more children are on the way. Keen to maintain a relationship with his children, Houben organises an annual get-together in Maastricht for them.

Potential clients usually initiate contact with Houben via his website. After a series of email and phone exchanges, and if considers them suitable, he then sets up a meeting in person.

To reach this stage, Houben demands that women show him medical records as well as tests to ensure they are not drug users. He provides similar information together with a semen analysis, detailing his sperm count.

'I can easily imagine that not everyone agrees with everything I do, but so far I've seen happy people and happy children', he told Radio Netherlands Worldwide. 'If you saw them, you wouldn't question what I'm doing. This isn't my job, I don't earn anything from doing this - I think it's everyone's duty to do something positive for other people, once in their lives, without expecting anything in return'.

But his generosity may yet have inconvenient consequences. 'If all the mothers decided to sue him for maintenance he would be paying them off for the rest of this life, and the next', an unnamed German family lawyer told the Daily Mail.

Official sperm banks in the Netherlands suffered a decline in donations following the abolition of donor anonymity in 2008, possibly leading more women to seek the services of private donors.

 

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Telegraph | 02 December 2008
 
Radio Netherlands Worldwide | 20 April 2012
 
Mail Online | 16 April 2012
 
Der Spiegel | 13 April 2012
 

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