Controversial world of 'sperm bandits' who brag of lesbian conquests, orgasm powers and fathering hundreds of kids
28th May 2022

HE claims to have fathered no less than 160 children as one of the world's most prolific sperm donors.

But self-styled "miracle man" Joe Donor is far from alone in his field, with a growing 'black market' of men offering their cut-price services to women desperate to have a baby.

Advertising themselves on platforms such as Facebook and specialist apps, social media savvy donors have seized upon a nationwide shortage, with private and NHS sperm banks across the UK running dry after two years of Covid restrictions.

And, most controversially, their methods can range from artificial to ‘natural insemination’ (NI) – donor-speak for full sex.

Joe, 51, who runs a string of Facebook donor groups, says: “Half the women I’ve donated to wanted NI because it’s more efficient.

“If they’re in a relationship, they'll often want to avoid those types of intimacies which you would reserve for your partner – like kissing or oral sex. The actual [penetration] is often not a huge problem.”


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Dark side of booming 'black market'

While this unconventional, booming baby market has helped many mothers achieve their dream, others have revealed a darker side.

Prospective mums have told The Sun how they were bombarded with texts pressuring them into sex and sent X-rated, unsolicited pictures.

One Facebook moderator has warned of a "sperm mafia” where well-known donors resort to threats and blackmail when they fall out with ‘rivals’.

And vile messages are being traded on donor messaging groups with names like 'Sperm Bandits', where one poster brags about his sexual exploits with a lesbian woman after agreeing to help her try for a baby.

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Nina Barnsley, director of the Donor Conception Network charity, says: “We’ve heard some horror stories. 

“We hear of very difficult situations people have found themselves in, where they’ve been pressured into having sex at the last minute when that wasn't what was agreed.

“Unfortunately we don’t know the scale of it because this is a very secretive world, but with some men, that is the way they work.”

'I've fathered 47 kids – I have a group chat with the mums'

One leading private clinic – the Fertility Partnership – reported a 66 per cent fall in the number of UK donors since the pandemic, and the NHS says the “huge shortage” means long waiting lists for treatment.

At the same time, funding for IVF treatment on the NHS fell in every UK nation except Scotland between 2014-2019.

Strict rules on who qualifies for NHS help mean same-sex couples, as well as single women, have to pay for as many as 12 rounds of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) before they are considered for funding.

The donor shortage, coupled with the high cost of going private – as much as £2k for a single artificial insemination (AI) cycle using donor sperm, or £7k for IVF – has pushed thousands of women to find help through social media.

Globe-trotting donor Kyle Gordy has made two trips to the UK to donate to British women, who find him on Instagram.

In eight years, the 30-year-old Californian has fathered 47 children – mostly in the US – and has another 11 on the way, with at least three women in Britain currently carrying his babies.

There’s zero chance of incest. I have a group chat with all the mums so they all know each other

“There’s zero chance of incest,” he says. “I have a group chat with all the mums so they all know each other.”

He plans to return to the UK in the summer as part of a ‘European tour’, with stops to donate to women in Zurich and Madrid.

“I’m not aiming for a specific number of children,” explains Kyle, who says donating has cost him around £24,000 since he started. 

“I’ll keep going until I get bored. It’s a lot of work, a lot of effort. I don’t make anything out of it – I get paid in joy and happiness.”

Kyle – who advertises his services on a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Sperm Donor' alongside his Instagram handle and founded the Facebook group ‘Sperm Donation USA’ – says the vast majority of his donations are via AI.

However, some come through full sexual intercourse, and the rules rules governing the legal fatherhood status of donors are complex.

Fertility law specialists NGA Law explain: “A sperm donor who donates through sexual intercourse- sometimes called 'natural insemination' – is always the legal father of any child conceived,” meaning he can be held financially responsible for the child and has a right to share decision making with the mum.

'Half of women want to do it with me naturally'

One fan of the controversial NI method is Joe Donor, an American currently living in Britain who has fathered children across the world, including in Australia, China, Italy and Denmark.

Joe claims he has made up to five donations in a single day but adds: “These days, maybe three is kind of pushing it.”

He admits sperm donor rivalry means men get upset if they are dropped by a woman for someone else.

“We’re humans,” he says. “It’s almost like these women want us to be out there like gladiators killing each other so they can see us at our best, displaying like peacocks.”

Though prospective mums would be concerned to read some of the content posted by Joe and other donors in private chat groups with names like ‘Sperm Bandits’ and ‘Sperm Squad’ – seen by The Sun.

In one, a poster writes about having full intercourse with a gay woman seeking insemination, writing that it took him "only 2-3 minutes to bring her to orgasm".

He adds: "She obviously had the itch for a while, just needed it to be scratched by a man."

In a separate message, Joe writes: "Perhaps not all lesbians are horrible parents, but, there is much greater chances of mental illness than in the general population."

When presented with the message by The Sun, Joe said: "I don’t recall writing that but I do recall a discussion about some scientific literature, in which there were some reports that did say things like this.

“This is not anything homophobic or transphobic, simply a discussion of some scientific literature.”

'We can't afford going private – our donor charged £15 petrol money'

Kirsty Marks, 36, from Leeds, has a seven-month-old boy, Sonny, with wife Natalie, 42, after turning to Facebook for a donor, largely due to the sky-high cost of treatment at a private clinic.

“The NHS wouldn’t help because we’re gay,” Kirsty explains.

“You can’t put a price on a child but tens of thousands of pounds is beyond the reach of most people. Our donor charged about £15 petrol money.”

The trio met in a coffee shop and got to know each other over six years before having four tries at AI – using the donor’s sperm inserted with a syringe – before Kirsty became pregnant.

Kirsty says: “I wanted to get to know the guy – because at the end of the day he was providing half our child’s DNA. 

“He was a university graduate in a well-paid job and had a great ethos about him. I trusted him implicitly.”

I didn’t want my child falling in love with someone who it later turned out he was related to… that scares the living hell out of me

But Kirsty says for every genuine donor, there are scores of creeps using donation as a ruse for sex.

“You start talking and you make it clear that you are looking for AI, but then things turn seedy – it becomes about their sexual gratification rather than them simply trying to help,” she explains.

"I do get some seedy messages still, which are quite creepy."

She adds that some prolific donors are “battling” with each other in a bid to father as many children as possible.

“One of the main reasons we chose our donor was that we didn’t want someone who has mass-spawned all over the UK,” she says.

“That scares the living hell out of me – I didn’t want my child falling in love with someone who it later turned out he was related to. The man we chose has a couple of other donor children, and that’s it.” 

'Sperm mafia' resorting to threats and blackmailing rivals

Anthony Fletcher – a pseudonym – has fathered 33 children in the UK over nine years and founded a popular Facebook donor group, which has nearly 31,000 members.

Like Kirsty, he says some men treat donations like a competition, likening a small number of well-known donors to a “sperm mafia”.

“There are decent men on these forums, but probably the majority of them are going to have a sexual motivation of some sort, so women have to spend a lot of time weeding through that,” says Anthony, who is in his early 40s and based in Scotland.

“I once set up a fake female account to see what kind of approaches I’d get, and it was not pretty. Almost everybody who messaged basically wanted sex.

“For some men, it’s about spreading their genes and getting as much sex as possible. They’ll drive to anybody, anywhere, who is willing to do natural insemination.”

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says official donors – who are only allowed to create 10 families – are screened for STIs and blood-borne viruses, including HIV. Donor sperm is also frozen and re-tested after a 180-day quarantine.

Although unregulated donors will usually offer a recent STI test to show they are infection-free, Anthony warns: “If you're doing multiple donations using natural insemination, STI results are worthless.”

'I felt sick to my stomach'

Connecting with unvetted strangers on social media can also lead to terrifying – and dangerous – situations.

When Jane* received a message from a man offering to help make her dream of becoming a mum come true, she was thrilled.

She’d signed up to a sperm donor matching app and, while wary, felt reassured by this user’s “genuine” approach.

But when he offered to arrange a hotel where they could meet up, Jane says he showed his true colours.

“He told me he did have one request. He wanted to recreate a rape scene with me,” she recalls.

“He even sent me a list of scene directions and said I had to follow them precisely, otherwise I wouldn’t get what I wanted. 

“I felt sick to my stomach, reported him and blocked him immediately without responding.”

After the terrifying encounter, Jane quit her donor app, describing it as a “breeding ground” for blokes “just looking to get their leg over”. 

“It put me off using a donor,” she says. “I was scared. I took a step back for about a year.”

She eventually found a donor on a Facebook group and went on to have a child last year, but claims she was bombarded by unsolicited photos of penises and men trying to sleep with her.

Nina Barnsley, from the Donor Conception Network, says women seeking sperm donors are in a uniquely vulnerable position that exposes them to coercion. 

She explains: “A woman knows she needs sperm today, because it’s the right time to get pregnant, and if the man is saying he will only give it to her if they have sex, that is very manipulative.

“A vulnerable person, a woman who hasn't really thought about it and is prepared, can end up agreeing to something that wasn’t planned, that they later regret.

“Using an informal donor can work very well for some women, but we’d advise being really vigilant about vetting this person, and make the choice that is right for you.

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“Above all, remember they will be half your child’s DNA and in that sense, you will be connected with them forever.”

*Names have been changed.

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