Most happy to be delivering a research paper on internet sperm donors who abuse women. The research day is organised by the UNESCO Group at Lancaster University and it is on the theme of, ‘Where is the boundary between violence and not-violence?’
Abstract: The blurring of violence and coercion for women trying to conceive with unregulated ‘sperm donors’
In July 2014, Professor Gennadij Raivich, an online sperm donor, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman trying to conceive with his assistance. This current research indicates that intimate violence abounds in a masculinized cyber-culture where the majority of men expect sexual intercourse and/or money in exchange for ‘donating’ their gametes. This paper highlights women’s difficulties in defining the boundaries of violence when trying to conceive with men they have met through online sperm donation websites. The current ethnographic research has found that as many as 1 in 2 women using an unregulated sperm donor, outside HFEA regulated fertility clinics, experience some form of violence or coercion. Yet, many women comment that factors such as their desperation to conceive; an inability to afford DI (donor insemination) through medical fertility clinics, forming an emotional attachment to their sperm donor, blurred their violence/not-violence boundaries, which often resulted in systematic abuse and a failure to report the offender(s) to the police.