A lawyer who leaned on a Virginia sperm bank to help him get through school recently learned he has dozens of offspring.
For three years while attending law school at George Mason University, 33-year-old Boston attorney Ben Seisler donated sperm at Fairfax Cryobank, he revealed for a new Style Network documentary. He planned to stay anonymous but learned of a website that connects offspring and siblings to each other and their sperm donors.
“Today I know of 70 kids,” he said.
“That does seem like a high number,” said Dr. Michelle Ottey, of Fairfax Cryobank. “So most sperm banks have internal limitations that they have created. Fairfax, for example, has a limitation of 25-30 family units per donor.”
That's 25 to 30 births per a population of 800,000 thousand people.
"The way that we track this information is twofold,” Ottey said. “We track the actual units or sperm specimen that are distributed for each donor as well as relying on the patients to report their pregnancies and births."
Although it won't disclose numbers, Fairfax Cryobank will stop selling a donor's samples if it reaches its designated limit. Donors are supposed to disclose if they've supplied other sperm banks.
“We do currently ask that question,” Ottey said. “We always ask that question. ‘Have you even applied to be a sperm donor at another bank?’ And we ask that question multiple times during the screening process. It has happened in the past that there have been serial donations at multiple cryobanks. We work very hard not to allow that to happen."
Although there are federal guidelines, there are no federal laws or regulations about the number of offspring a donor can father.
Fairfax Cryobank follows guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. When Seisler was donating 10 years ago, some of the current limitations were not in place.
"They're not my kids,” he said “I don't see them as my kids.”