From Hotel Rooms to Coffee Shops: New World of Online Sperm Donation


Arsenault, a 36-year old computer engineer, has been donating his sperm since 2006 and says he has fathered 14 children, including a set of twins. He posts pictures of himself and his offspring on his website.

The FDA declined ABC News's request for an interview but in an email said: "Human cells and tissues intended for donation… are regulated…regardless of whether they are for sale or free of charge."

To insure that Arsenault gives his recipients the healthiest and most potent product, he has a strict physical regimen and a diet that includes organic foods and his homemade "fertility smoothie" twice a day. (See the recipe here.)

"It has all kinds of ingredients," he said. "Lots of anti-oxidants, amino acids, fructose….which I think all play a part in improving sperm count and fertility and hopefully making healthy babies." Whether it helps or not, he claims to have had his sperm count tested and that it is "approximately four times higher than the average man."

Arsenault says the goal is not to create hundreds of copies of himself, instead he is doing this to "help the community." One woman he is trying to help is Krista (whose asked that her last name be withheld), a finance professional who previously spent $10,000 on unsuccessful frozen sperm inseminations and decided to try a different route.

She says she trusts Arsenault, who posts his medical history and STD tests online. Krista and her partner scheduled appointments with him during her ovulation cycle. He hands off a cup of his fresh semen from his front porch and she inseminates lying in the back seat of her car, or at home, because semen start to die in a matter of minutes.

Early attempts with Arsenault were successful, but Krista miscarried. Yet, she still believes in this method and does not think the FDA should control private sperm donation.

"It's not up to the government to determine who the father to our child… should be," Krista said. "If someone has the right to go to a bar in the evening and wind up having sexual intercourse, why is it they can do that and I can't choose to have this person be the biological contributor to my child."

But beyond the legal issues, there are alarming questions about how much the women really know about the online donors. It turns out that over the years Arsenault has posted dozens of graphic videos of himself online. He defends the postings, saying they are "part of his donation process." But they raise concerns. Fertility experts point out that at traditional sperm banks, semen is not only tested for diseases, but donors are also screened for possible psychological problems.

Krista said she is aware of Arsenault's postings, but may continue to work with him, in addition to contemplating adoption or in vitro fertilization. For women eager for children who have already spent thousands of dollars, there are few easy choices.

"I know that I will be a mother someday," said Krista. "I just don't know how yet."

Watch the full story on the latest episode of "20/20" online.

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