Gennadij Raivich, a professor of perinatal neuroscience at University College London (UCL), was charged after accusations from two women in their twenties, the Sunday Mirror reports. It is claimed that Professor Raivich met the women in Norfolk and London in his capacity as a private sperm donor. Reportedly, one of the women is pregnant with his child.
A spokesman from the Metropolitan Police told the Sunday Mirror that, following the two women's allegations, a third alleged victim was identified by police.
The Mirror had conducted an interview with Professor Raivich, using a pseudonym, in January this year, before the assaults are alleged to have taken place.
Using the name Frank Qalman, Professor Raivich advertised his services on unlicensed donation websites; he told the Mirror that he had fathered as many as 49 children.
While the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recommends that assisted reproduction services take place within a licensed clinic, some women continue to seek the services of unlicensed, private donors. This may be due to personal choice but can also be because a variety of reasons, in particular, the high cost of assisted reproduction services.
The HFEA also limits the number of families to which a donor can provide sperm to ten. It has not been confirmed whether all of the children which Raivich fathered were conceived in the UK and so it is unclear whether he has contravened the rule.
In his interview with the Mirror, Professor Raivich said that the women to whom he donate are aware of his fecundity. He said he thought the HFEA's limits were 'just based on moral horror, not that there is much risk offspring will accidentally meet and set up homes with half-siblings. The risks of this are very low. In America there is no restraint on the number of children a donor can father and in the Netherlands it's 25 per donor'.
Professor Raivich also told the paper that he considers donating sperm as 'like a hobby or a charitable act'. In addition to his role as a donor, he offers his services as a doctor. He does not accept payment, aside from travel expenses, for his assistance.
Originally from New Zealand, Professor Raivich is an expert on maternal and fetal medicine. UCL has commented that it 'is aware that a member of staff has been arrested. We understand this does not concern allegations surrounding the staff member's employment'.
Professor Raivich has been bailed by police.