Woman Gives Up Child, Sues Sperm Donor She Met Online for Lying About Education, Ethnicity

A Japanese woman gave up her baby after finding out the sperm donor she used had lied to her about his marital status, ethnicity and educational background. She is now suing the donor—a first for the country.

The woman, who has only been identified as a 30-year-old woman from Tokyo, said she and her husband wanted to try for a second child but began looking for a sperm donor through a membership exchange site (SNS) after they discovered he had a hereditary condition.

The woman found a sperm donor in his 20's on social media who claimed he graduated from one of the top universities in Japan and that he was Japanese. He also told the woman he was single. The woman and donor reportedly had sex 10 times in order to get pregnant and in June 2019 the two were successful, Tokyo Shimbun reported.

But later she found out the donor was actually a Chinese national who was indeed married and did not graduate from Kyoto University as he claimed.

By the time she learned this information, it was too late to receive an abortion and she gave birth to the baby. Japanese media reported the baby is now in the care of a child care facility in Tokyo.

Now the woman is suing the donor for roughly $2.8 million dollars for emotional distress. She claimed the donor gave her inaccurate information for the sake of having sex with her.

Due to "right to know" laws in Japan, children of donors are legally able to identify the donor. This has left many donors seeking other methods of donation in order to remain anonymous and has in turn made it more difficult for individuals or couples to find potential donors.

The relatively unregulated market makes it quite easy for people to seek donors on various social media platforms. This method of sperm donation is a growing trend in Japan and it is estimated that more than 10,000 children have been born from sperm of an involved third party.

Newborn baby
A woman in Japan gave up her child after realizing the sperm donor she used was lying about his ethnicity and education. Now, the woman is suing the donor for more than $2.8 million in emotional damages. Didier Pallages/AFP via Getty Images

In an attempt to combat the growing trend, the Mirai Life Research Institute opened the country's first sperm bank over the summer.

Hiroshi Okada, the director of the Mirai Life Research Institute, told Japan Insider that this sort of "do it yourself" insemination can be extremely dangerous and lead to severe health risks.

"Not only is this a safety issue, but it can also be criminal and extremely dangerous," Okada said. "The semen that is handed over may carry infectious agents. We don't know if the sperm belongs to the donor or not. When the child is born, it may turn out that the sperm is not Japanese. Such crazy things are happening."

Okada and his team have confirmed that approximately 96.4 percent of the more than 140 websites providing sperm donation are unsafe. He said many of the websites are just hook-up schemes taking advantage of people seeking legitimate donors.