Annals of Health Law
THE CURIOUS CASE OF TRENT ARSENAULT
and have no personal connection to the potential biological father. Vials of
frozen semen can be purchased and drop-shipped directly to the recipient’s
doorstep; the bank staff requires no in-person consultation. 22 The most
common form of AI, intracervical insemination, closely replicates natural
insemination: fresh semen can simply be placed in the woman’s vagina
using nothing more than a needleless syringe; the procedure can be
conducted from the comfort of home without medical personnel
Additionally, significant disadvantages are associated with use of sperm
banks. As mentioned above, sperm from banks often come with minimum
information about donors and allows for little chance for the woman or
child to have contact with them. Would-be purchasers usually go through
at least one medical gatekeeper, such as their personal physician. 24 The
chemicals added to protect sperm from damage in freezing can cause
external and internal reactions in some women. 25 For women who use
intracervical insemination, frozen sperm are less likely than fresh to lead to
a pregnancy. 26 Costs can also mount quickly: each vial contains only 1
22.Ar tificial Inseminations, CRYOS INTERNATIONAL, NEW YORK, http://
(last visited Aug. 2, 2012); E.g., Instruction Page for Registration in Frozen Donor
Program, RAINBOW FLAG HEALTH SERVICES, http://www.gayspermbank.com/
program.htm (last visited Aug. 2, 2012).
23. SLOAN, supra note 18, at 65-91. For women who require more than this to conceive,
medical help is necessary. For example, a clinician may perform other insemination
methods that place the sperm in closer proximity to the ovum, such as intrauterine,
intratubal, or intrauterine-tuboperitoneal insemination. However, fresh semen cannot be
used in these procedures, as the sperm must be washed to remove prostaglandin-bearing
seminal fluids that cause uterine cramping.
24. Catherine DeLair, Ethical, Moral, Economic and Legal Barriers to Assisted
Reproductive Technologies Employed by Gay Men and Lesbian Women, 4 DEPAUL J.
HEALTH CARE L. 147, 148 & 152 (2000) (In some states, the gatekeeper is a mandatory role.
Five . . . states have statutory language criminalizing artificial insemination if a
licensed physician does not perform it. For example, Georgia’s statute provides,
in relevant part: “Physicians and surgeons licensed to practice medicine. . .shall
be the only persons authorized to administer or perform artificial insemination. . .
Any other person or persons. . . shall be guilty of a felonyFalse” This creates a
real barrier for gays and lesbians, as well as heterosexuals, wishing to utilize
artificial insemination. Many prefer to self-inseminate in the privacy of their own
home, thus avoiding medical professionals with perceived or real discriminatory
practices. Requiring the involvement of a physician may also create a financial
barrier to those who cannot afford the additional medical costs.).
See generally Recipient Information for Ordering and Use of Donor Specimens, PACIFIC
REPRODUCTIVE SERVICES, https://pacrepro.com/documents/how.pdf (outlining an example of
25.Ar tificial Insemination Information, NW CRYOBANK, https://www.nwcryobank.
com/artificial-insemination (last visited June 13, 2012).