I look for odd and thought-provoking news stories, and analyze them.
Ari Nagel is a math and computer science professor at CUNY-Kingsborough in his 40s. Mr. Nagel is also the biological father of 64 children as of May 2020. The number has surely grown since. He is a sperm donor, but not an ordinary one by any means. He provides his services in a very unconventional way. He's known to his recipients, and he does not charge for his donations. Rather, he provides his donations in a very personal way. A 2016 New York Post profile of Mr. Nagel explained that he had conceived about half of his offspring the "old-fashioned way", while the other half were conceived with a sample he extracts and then hands directly to the moms. Explained the New York Post profile:
He often uses public bathrooms, like those at Target and at Starbucks shops, to procure his samples and hand them off to ovulating women.
“You don’t want to do it in one where people are knocking,” he notes.
How exactly Mr. Nagel transfers his sample to the women is explained in further detail:
Once a location is chosen, Nagel will go into the bathroom, pleasure himself while watching porn on his iPhone — “You can’t connect to Target Wi-Fi if you’re connecting to a porn site, so I use my cell service,” he says — and ejaculate into an Instead Softcup, a type of menstrual cup.
He then delivers the specimen to the woman, who goes into the ladies’ restroom and inserts it into her cervix.
Mr. Nagel says that he does this simply to help the women who want to conceive.
“I just love seeing how happy the moms and kids are . . . That’s why I do this,” he says. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he said in the 2016 article. A follow-up 2017 NY Post article quoted him explaining more about his motivations: "Creating a life and saving a life are my proudest moments. I donated my bone marrow twice and I never got to meet the recipients, I have no idea who it was,” he said. “[Fathering children] is a lot more fulfilling. It’s an honor to be chosen.”
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Mr. Nagel is a very in-demand donor. According to the 2016 article, women who have used his services say that his good looks and outgoing personality are a draw (Nagel is 6'2" and has large, bright blue eyes). Says client Tiffany Harrison in the 2016 article, “He’s a lot of fun to be around, he loves people, he’s outgoing, and he’s gorgeous.” His high sperm count and known past successes also attract hopefuls who want to conceive but don't want to pay the exorbitant prices demanded by fertility clinics to Mr. Nagel. And now, after the initial spate of media attention, Mr. Nagel is getting more inquiries from around the world, according to the 2017 article. Women in Turkey, Nigeria, South Africa, Vietnam, and China have reached out to Mr. Nagel in the hopes that he can help make their dreams come true.
Mr. Nagel is not without his critics, of course. In a 2017 interview with Nagel, Piers Morgan said he couldn't decide if he was a "force for good" or "the world's biggest creep."
What Mr. Nagel is doing does have some questionable elements. One could easily wonder if he's motivated not by altruism, but by some megalomaniac desire to "spread his seed" all over the place. Such creeps have been documented. It's also worth noting that most of Mr. Nagel's clients, or at least those pictured in media reports, are women of color. Could Mr. Nagel be on some kind of power trip by impregnating these women, knowing that for many of them, the price of traditional fertility services is out of their range, and knowing that he's their "only option"?
Sketchier still, are all the health risks involved. For the women that Mr. Nagel has impregnated the "old-fashioned way"; how could this have been safe, without some type of barrier in place to protect against STIs? Even if there was testing, it would need to be same-day to ensure safety. Or what about genetic screenings? Mr. Nagel's offspring have been reported to be healthy, but this is an important step in traditional donor matching, because there's always a risk of genetic diseases.
Well, that's the story of Ari Nagel. And it doesn't look like he's not stopping any time soon. His story was chronicled in a webseries by the New York Post, which you can view here.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.