Woman Anonymously Sues FDA for Right to Free Sperm


"What the FDA is trying to do is protect the people, that's their job," said Dr. Mitch Rosen, director of the University of California at San Francisco fertility preservation center and the director of the University of California- San Francisco reproduction laboratories.

Rosen said that while paying fertility clinics and sperm banks to conceive is a costly process, Doe would not be complaining if the cost of donor testing was not an issue.

Rosen said the cost of infectious disease testing, including a blood test, for a sperm donor ranges from $250 to $500 on average. He said it costs another $300 for the donor to get a physical examination from a physician to assess whether or not he's been engaged in high risk behavior that might affect his sperm.

"From a medical perspective, you don't want to infect another individual, that would be the worst scenario you could possibly imagine," said Rosen.

Like Doe and her partner, other couples seeking to conceive also opt for alternative methods to sperm banks to get pregnant.

Some enlist the help of friends to donate their sperm privately, while others consult email lists of donors passed between friends, or browse the Internet looking for answers.

Beth Gardner said that in her and her wife's pursuit to start family, they did a ton of research to help them make a decision.

While they looked into the legal ramifications of all options, there was no forum for women with similar questions to get together and share information with each other, she said.

"I thought there would be five or six websites I could read through that were like, 'How to find a private sperm donor,'" she said. "There wasn't anything but a few I had to pay for. I wasn't paying $30 a month to join a website."

So Gardner decided to start a website herself, Knowndonorregistry.com.

"We wanted to provide the resource we felt was missing, and we wanted it to be free," said Gardner.

Like Jane Doe, she and her wife had tried to get pregnant with the help of two different donors through intracervical insemination, but had no success.

The third time was a charm -- thanks to a donor they found through their website. Their daughter is now three weeks old. While the couple offered to pay for medical testing on the donor's behalf, he had recently been tested and provided them with the results.

Gardner said that while she and her wife could have afforded to pay a sperm bank, they felt the prices were exorbitant for something that was not expensive to produce.

"It pisses me off that it costs $2,000 a month just to buy sperm, it seems outlandishly expensive," she said. "Could I afford it, yes? Should I? No."

Gardner said that while her wife was more comfortable with an anonymous donor, she had problems with being prevented from knowing who the biological father of her child was.

"This is a major thing and I want to be able to talk to the person who's going to be that half of my child," she said. "I want to know that he's a decent human being or some smarmy weirdo with a desire to populate the earth with his superior genes.

"You can't get that from a profile at a sperm bank."

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