The FDA Weighs in on Sperm Safety

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 by Militant Libertarian

by Karen De Coster

The FDA has asked a sperm donor to cease-and-desist in the case of his community service, er, um, sperm donation. Trent Arsenault, a minister’s son from the San Francisco Bay area, just wants to help women who cannot afford governmentized sperm donor banks. Trent has fathered 14 children in five years and has four more bunnies on the way.

The case of Trent Arsenault of Fremont has drawn attention to the practice of informal sperm donation, which physicians and bioethicists call unsafe but some people say is a civil liberties issue.

…The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Arsenault a cease-and-desist letter late last year telling him he must stop because he does not follow the agency’s requirements for getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases within seven days before giving sperm.

Violators of FDA regulations on human cells and tissues face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, according to guidelines published on the agency’s website.

I can’t help but note how the article makes a point that the FDA’s rules and regulations will make it impossible for Trent “to keep offering his sperm for free.”That leads me to post this quote from the article:

A sperm bank will also isolate the actual sperm cells from the donor’s semen, which reduces the risk of passing along pathogens, [Dr. Mitchell] Rosen said. “In this situation there’s no reduction of risk. It’s just as if they’re going out and having a one night stand.”

And…? Yea, what about all of the standard, day-to-day donations of pathogens and other unknowns among sexual partners? Most sperm donations are indeedfree, as unregulated sex is undertaken by folks everywhere, and without following FDA guidelines or “getting tested.” Finally, Arsenault says, “…it comes in a cup versus sex.” Trent’s problem with the feds is due to the fact that he has bypassed the gatekeepers of (profitable) sperm donation and he has become a one-man fertility-for-free show. That’s unfair competition. Could it be said that he is guilty of predatory pricing? After all, he is selling his assets at less than fair value.

You can see Trent’s donor resume here. Thanks to Travis Holte for the link.

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