Dec. 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM ET
A California man is vowing to continue his do-it-yourself sperm donor operation, despite efforts of federal health officials to crack down on the free service.
Trent C. Arsenault, 36, of Fremont, Calif., told msnbc.com that he has fathered 14 children -- with four more on the way -- and donated sperm to between 60 and 75 families since he started the online operation in 2006.
“Every time I log into Facebook, I’m overwhelmed with all the pictures from the families,” said Arsenault, who regards his donations as a way to help low-income people struggling with infertility.
Last year, federal Food and Drug Administration officials delivered a letter ordering Arsenault to “cease manufacturing,” or halt his service, because the computer security expert had not followed regulations governing safety precautions for transmission of human cells or tissues through donor clinics.
“We have legitimate concerns,” said Shelly Burgess, a spokeswoman for the FDA.
But Arsenault was allowed to continue the operation while the agency decided whether to grant him a hearing on the matter, according to his lawyers.
The lawyers, who work for the nonprofit legal firm Cause of Action in Washington, D.C., argue that Arsenault shouldn’t be held to clinic sperm donor standards because his contracts with recipients are individual intimate partner arrangements allowed under the law.
No hearing has yet been scheduled, Burgess said. Arsenault could face penalties including court action if the agency concludes that his acts were a violation of federal regulations.