By Princess Chukwuneke
In a time where egg and sperm donations face rigorous screening, Simon Watson, 41, appears to have found a way around it.
Watson has been an unlicensed sperm donor for 16 years, claiming dual benevolence for his actions. On one hand, he hopes to save prospective mothers from paying exorbitant treatment prices at licensed fertility clinics, which could go up to £1000 per treatment cycle. He charges only £50. On the other hand, Watson has a personal feat to father children all over the world.
Concerns abound about his methods including the physical and sexual safety of the women involved. Critics point to “sexual diseases, hereditary disorders and men interested in “no strings” unprotected sex,” as some of these problems. In response, Watson claims to be tested for STDs every three months and provides proof for his clients on Facebook, where he finds them. According to Watson, he also charges a fee to ensure that prospective mothers understand that a business transaction is taking place.
However, critics like Laura Witjens, chief executive of the National Gamete Donation Trust, are not appeased. She cautions that there are other issues with unlicensed donation. Pay or no pay, sexual harassment and rape are possible consequences. There is also the uncontrolled spread of half-siblings around the world. Most importantly, without regulation, state laws on donation will have no bearing on the parties involved: children can easily locate their biological fathers without the 18-year restriction and women can ask for child support from unlicensed donors with simply a proof of paternity, to name a few.
Witjens makes a statement that is unarguably at the crux of the matter, “[I]f you can’t afford £1,500 to secure safety for yourself and your child, you should wonder if you’re fit for parenthood. It’s an expensive job.”
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