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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.


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


13 January 2014 - by Ari Haque 
A couple who used artificial insemination services at a Utah fertility clinic have found out that their daughter, Ashley, is in fact the genetic daughter of a former clinic worker... [Read More]
07 May 2013 - by Ari Haque 
A man who claims to have fathered 49 children as a private sperm donor has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault... [Read More]
22 October 2012 - by Maria Sheppard 
A man in Queensland, Australia, who acted as a known sperm donor for a woman in what appeared to be a private arrangement, has been awarded shared parental responsibility over a girl he fathered... [Read More]
22 October 2012 - by Linda Wijlaars 
A celebrity sperm donor service called Fame Daddy that was profiled in news reports in the British media has been revealed as a hoax... [Read More]
01 October 2012 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
The Danish Government is currently reviewing its guidelines on sperm donation policies following the discovery that a donor has passed on a rare genetic condition to at least five children... [Read More]

16 April 2012 - by Cait McDonagh 
A British scientist who ran a fertility clinic in London from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, used his own sperm and may have fathered hundreds of children, it has been claimed... [Read More]
12 December 2011 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
A man in the United States is reportedly being investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after offering his sperm for donation. Trent Arsenault, a 36 year-old computer security expert from California, has set up a website offering his sperm without charge to anyone who wishes to use it to have a baby.... [Read More]
31 October 2011 - by Andrew Proven Donor 
A shortfall in donated sperm, we are told, has pushed potential recipients onto websites where private sperm donors hawk their reproductive wares. If only the officially sanctioned sperm banks were well stocked, the thinking goes, women would not have to venture into that murky world. But is that correct? What if sperm donation outside the official channels actually carried certain advantages over the clinic system... [Read More]
17 October 2011 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud 
Increasing numbers of women under the age of 25 are turning to sperm donors online, an investigation by the Sunday Times has shown. Many of these women have stable jobs and good support networks, and see no reason to wait before starting a family... [Read More]

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