A man nicknamed “Australia’s most prolific sperm donor” is now under investigation after fathering 23 babies in one year.
Alan Phan, 40, who lives in Brisbane, originally planned to donate only nine times but found it hard to say no to some women.
Phan eventually exceeded the limit under Victorian law, which states that a donor can only help 10 women conceive — including their own partner.
“I reached my ninth and I thought that was it. Then I received a message from a lady around Christmas saying the donation was successful, which then became my 10th and I thought, ‘Well I’ve already gone over my limit, I’ll just help a few more’ and it kind of blew out,” Phan told Kidspot in October. “Some of the original recipients weren’t too happy about it.”
Phan, who is of Vietnamese descent, first thought of donating after he and his wife, Merlyn, visited a fertility clinic while trying to get pregnant for their second child. At the time, he suspected himself to be infertile.
After learning that he was not, Phan decided to donate his sperm. To his knowledge, he was the only Vietnamese man doing it in the country when he started.
Phan’s sperm became the word on the street over time. Due to his ethnicity and high success rate, women desperate for a child lined up to contact him.
The 40-year-old calls his donations a “hobby” but suggested similarities to a full-time job since it requires him to exercise daily, take up to 20 vitamins and abstain from sex to ensure healthy sperm. On one occasion, he donated to three women in one night, two of which succeeded.
The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Authority (VARTA) is now investigating Phan for exceeding donation limits. Chief Executive Officer Louise Johnson says steps are being taken to ensure that no more families are formed using his sperm.
“This is a rare incident. We monitor information that comes to our attention and via the clinics but if someone is operating outside the clinic situation that’s very difficult to monitor,” Johnson said, according to 7 News. “My message to women would be to be very wary of men who are offering to donate informally. They are not protected legally or health-wise in relation to infection.”
Unfortunately, a 30-year-old woman is now in danger of having her embryos destroyed since they were fertilized with Phan’s sperm. She is said to be under extreme stress.
“The embryos in storage cannot be used,” Johnson said, according to Daily Mail. “Once a treating clinic knows that more than 10 families have been formed through one donor’s donations, they cannot keep using that donor’s sperm.”
Phan had donated to clinics Number 1 Fertility and City Fertility, both located in Melbourne. Johnson said it was “incredibly sad and naive” of Phan to continue donating despite knowing his limit.
“When a donor reaches the 10-family limit, the clinic cannot use embryos already created using his sperm for a recipient who has not already had a child using that donor’s sperm,” Johnson added. “It is against the law to provide misleading information to a clinic as part of a consent process to donate.”
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