Tanzanian model Calisah, who was Mr. Tanzania 2018 and later won the Mr. Africa International title, recently revealed in an interview with Global TV that he has been in the business of impregnating women without necessarily being there for the children. According to the model who takes pride in his 'work' he is providing a service that is similar to sperm donation with the only difference being the involvement of sexual relations.
The model's revelation brings to the fore the sensitive issue of sperm donation and the ethical connotations surrounding it. The initial concept that led to the development of sperm banks was quite noble in the sense that it sought to give the gift of a child to couples whereby the male was infertile. Other men who wanted to donate their sperms could go to the sperm banks whereby they would undergo various screening tests before being accepted as potential donors. While most donors are driven by the desire to help, others are motivated by a cash incentive that is offered by some sperm banks. The entire process is relatively expensive hence the reason as to why some couples and single women would opt for other alternatives such as personal arrangements.
The internet and technology have made it quite easy for one to access any kind of service at the click of a button. Sperm donor services are not an exception. From Facebook posts to web advertisements, there seems to be no shortage of men who are ready to provide such services with little to no medical checks or legal contracts with their 'clientele'.
The Tanzanian model reminds me of American 'Joe Donor', a self-appointed international sperm donor who freely admits that he is on a mission to impregnate scores of women across the world.
The American claims to have already fathered over 100 children and his aim is to father 2,500 children. His favoured method to pass on his sperm is unprotected sex which he offers at no charge, with 'more than half of his clients' reportedly agreeing to the proposal. However, in instances where women request for vials of his sperm to help them artificially inseminate, he is known to charge quite a hefty fee.
Just like 'Joe Donor' Calisah considers himself to be a modern-day white knight who is simply helping women. While 'Joe Donor' boasts of having 100 successful cases, Calista has no qualms when it comes to bragging about his 25 children. The Tanzania model states:
Yes, it’s true, I have impregnated 25 women. I have a company that I am involved in giving women pregnancy and I have employees too. To be part of my company, the man should be well built and not have a pot belly."
The model who prides himself on his appearance seems to have very stringent requirements when it comes to his clientele. He explains that the women who are seeking his services need to demonstrate their financial ability before signing a contract with him as he will intentionally not be involved in the child's life.
I give services but in my contract, the lady needs to have the ability to take care of her kid. That’s not my baby I’m just a sperm donor."
While both 'Joe Donor' and Calisah consider themselves to be helping women, other people have criticised them for taking advantage of desperate women and their children. Critics argue that by having limited to no medical checks, they are undoubtedly putting the lives of many of their clients at risk. Some have even gone to the extent of faulting them for trying to play God.
The Debate surrounding sperm donation is every bit as complex as the subject itself. Most of the debate has been largely centered on morality and ethical issues. Critics of sperm donation have always argued that potential recipients and their children should have the right to know the names of their donors. In many countries and more so in issues concerning sperm donations, the data privacy laws preclude sperm banks from revealing the identities of sperm donors.
Essentially sperm banks turn on confidentiality and proponents argue that altering the laws may scare off potential donors given the fact that some men who donated in their youth and later married, would not be comfortable revealing to their spouse that they could have multiple children somewhere in the world. If recent changes in the fertility laws in Australia is anything to go by, it may not all go downhill as expected. A minor change that allowed children of sperm donors to access information about their father seems to be helping many sperm donor children to understand their identity.
While it is appreciated that many sperm donors may not want to have contact with the children they father, it must be remembered that it is more about the child's identity as opposed to contact. Our society is venturing into a troubling face where children are growing up without fathers and mothers are left alone struggling to teach their sons how to be men.
The role of a father in a child's life cannot be overemphasized. While there may be situations that are out of people's control, one that should not be tolerated is a man denying his child a sense of identity. By stating that 'that's not my baby I'm just a sperm donor' does not erase the existence of the child or the undeniable fact that one is a father irrespective of whether or not they acknowledge it.
Critics have further argued that the privacy laws with respect to donor information can lead to many sperm donor children to unknowingly get into relationships or marry their half brothers or sisters with disastrous consequences. While they appreciate the idea behind the privacy laws, they note that sperm donation should be exempted to prevent the evolution of an incestuous society.
Irrespective of which side of the debate you are biased to, one thing that we all must agree on is that our society needs to do better on this issue. What Joe Donor and Calisah need to understand (and they probably do not care in the least) is that it is not about their ego or whatever else they want to achieve, there are lives that are definitely going to be affected by their present actions.
Photo Credits: Talk Media Africa; 60 Minutes/Supplied