Debunking Delivery Man: PFC Nixes the Numbers
With the launch of the new movie, Delivery Man, news and entertainment media turned to Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) to answer the question the film inevitably raises, Could one sperm donor realistically father that many children? It doesnt even remotely resemble reality, said PFCs president, Carl M. Herbert, MD.
In the movie, actor Vince Vaughn is an affable underachiever who discovers hes fathered 533 children through anonymous donation to a fertility clinic 20 years earlier. Now he must decide whether to come forward when 142 children file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.
Interviewed by MTVnews.com, everydayhealth.com, and aol.com, Dr. Herbert broke down the numbers: For starters, he explained, not all specimens end up producing a pregnancy, let alone a live birth. A sperm donor would need to make 700 hundred or more donations to a sperm bank to produce more than 500 children. Even if the process were efficient, sperm collection would require at least 500 hours of the donors time. Given the time required between ejaculations to recharge and maintain a high sperm count, it might be possible to collect just 100 specimens in a year.
Therefore, it would take him [the donor] seven to 10 years to collect the sperm needed to create 533 children, explained Dr. Herbert.
This doesnt even consider the ethical regulations that come into play. Reputable licensed sperm banks have rigorous criteria for accepting and maintaining men as sperm donors, he said, and no sperm bank would allow a single donor to make this many donations. Also, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issues guidelines for the proper use of donor sperm and eggs. Their recommendation is that any single donor should be limited to no more than 25 births, said Dr. Herbert, citing ASRMs concerns about an inadvertent close mix of the gene pool.
The only way a man could physically produce this many children, concluded Dr. Herbert, would be the natural way. But even this would require three or four years of having sex two times a day, at least 200 days out of the year, with different women. And that, well, that also stretches the limits of believability.
About Pacific Fertility Center
Pacific Fertility Center is an international destination for male and female fertility treatment and care. It provides an extensive array of fertility treatment options ranging from intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to cutting-edge technology such as vitrification and genetic testing of embryos. For more information: www.pacificfertilitycenter.com.
Renee H. Scudder, MS
Pacific Fertility Center
55 Francisco Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94133