Social media can help connect people to friends, love interests, and jobs — and sperm donors, like Kenzie Kilpatrick. The 26-year-old tells Yahoo Parenting why he donates his sperm to would-be parents. (Photo: Birmingham Mail)
Kenzie Kilpatrick is a 26-year-old openly gay man from England with a burning desire to help women have a long-wished-for baby.
So after browsing Facebook and seeing ads posted by men offering to donate their sperm, the former caretaker decided to advertise his own services on Facebook, creating the page “Drama Free UK Sperm Donors.”
Potential moms immediately began contacting him. “I had interest from gay, straight, and single wannabe mums and dads,” Kilpatrick tells Yahoo Parenting.
Since the ad was posted in June 2014, Kilpatrick has helped 50 women. And his baby-daddy services have been fruitful. Six of the women have given birth to two girls and five boys (including a set of twins) in the last 10 weeks. Three more babies are due within a month.
Kilpatrick does it purely to help women and couples who desperately want to be parents, he says. “I have helped people to make a family, something they have truly longed for,” he recently told the Birmingham Mail. “You can’t beat the feeling that gives you. It seems that I am incredibly fertile. And as a man, that does give me a sense of pride.”
In the age of assisted reproduction, it’s not the fact that he’s a sperm donor that’s so striking but the way he delivers his genetic material: in person. After trading messages with a woman via Facebook, they’ll meet at her home or a hotel room. He never asks for a fee for his sperm. “I only ask that travel and hotel costs be covered,” says Kilpatrick.
Once there, he’ll produce a fresh sperm sample in private. The woman alone or with her partner can use a home insemination kit to make their baby as soon as they wish.
When he became a sperm donor for hire, Kilpatrick decided not to go through a sperm bank or fertility center because of the high fees involved. “It’s too expensive,” he says. “A child shouldn’t have a price, nor should happiness.”
Forgoing a sperm bank or fertility center can be a risky move for recipients, especially for health reasons. “Sperm banks have regulations in place that mandate each sperm sample be tested for a range of diseases when it first comes in,” Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director at the NYU Langone Fertility Center, tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s then frozen and quarantined for six months before being thawed and retested.”
“The sperm is tested not just for HIV, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases, but it also undergoes genetic testing to find recessive genes that might lead to a baby being [born] with conditions such as cystic fibrosis,” says Grifo.
Then there’s the potential for legal issues. In the United States, sperm donors who go through a sperm bank are shielded from ever being named the legal parent and forced to support a child, says Grifo.
But if a man just hands over sperm to a woman, he could potentially end up being listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate. “The waters are muddy regarding what makes a legal parent,” he adds.
For his part, Kilpatrick says he has been tested for STDs, and, since under UK law, he is the children’s legal father, he has the women who use his sperm sign a contract (the terms of which he didn’t disclose).
He also says he has no interest in seeing the kids that are born because they aren’t his children. “I do want my own kids soon, [but] I’d not like to put a date to when,” says Kilpatrick.