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Prolific US sperm donor banned from operating in Israel

25 June 2018
Appeared in BioNews 955

A US sperm donor who has already fathered over 30 children has been prevented from impregnating women in Israel.

Seven Israeli women are keen to use Ari Nagel's sperm: six already have samples frozen at fertility clinics but are not permitted to use them. The sample provided to a seventh woman – who had paid to fly Nagel to Israel – was destroyed before freezing. 

'They're banning my sperm,' said Nagel, a mathematics lecturer from New York. 'There's a do-not-donate list, and I'm the only one on the list.'

Israeli law forbids gamete donations between parties who know each other – there must be complete anonymity except in cases where two people plan to co-parent the resulting child. 

Nagel has signed documents saying he will co-parent with the Israeli women but the Department of Health rejected the gesture in a letter to one of the women: 'Considering the number of women whom Mr Nagel impregnated with his sperm... it is our position that the claim of an intention to perform true joint parenthood with Mr Nagel is not sincere or reasonable.'

At least one of the Israeli women plans to challenge the ban in court, but in the meantime, the women are each paying up to US$1400 per year for sperm storage.

Nagel donates his sperm for free, often handing over samples in bathrooms of New York shops or cafes to women who would otherwise have to pay thousands of dollars to a sperm bank. He also has three children with his wife.

Five of the 17 US women to whom he has donated have sued for child support, which he says takes half of his income. Despite this, he says he has no intention to stop. 'I just love seeing how happy the moms and kids are... That's why I do this. It's the gift that keeps on giving,' he said in 2016.

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