Declan Rooney is a one-man babymaking machine by his own right.
The 43-year-old is on a crusade to help women struggling to have children. In 2015 alone, Declan has engineered 31 births after setting up an online sperm donation website last year.
Now he has taken it a notch higher.
He has a smartphone app offering his services as a private donor and a free alternative to clinics. And with 15 more babies on the way, he has no plans of slowing down, despite causing uproar among family campaigners.
Declan, – who has eight children of his own with four different women – hit back at critics of unregulated sperm donation, insisting in his case that everything is above board.
Looking exasperated while nursing the result of one of his donations, Declan said:
“I’m a nice guy. Why can’t people understand I am just doing this to help out? Egg donors get treated like saints, sperm donors get treated like back alley, smutty boys. But I’m not doing a bad thing. I’m not ashamed. I have helped women create families.
I have seen five of the children in the past month because I have been donating for siblings.”
The former graffiti artist and website designer insists he imposes strict conditions on his services, which includes no sexual contact and banning women from smoking while they are trying to conceive. He also checks potential parents out to make sure they can afford a child.
According to UK Mirror, Declan decided to start donating sperm in March last year.
“There wasn’t a eureka moment. I just felt as I was in the right place and time of my life.
It’s not really on an industrial scale. The first children were born last December and will be one this month.
All of the recipients keep in touch. All the babies are healthy and happy. I have a watchful eye. They send me feedback and tell me how the children are doing.”
He knows that 17 of the 31 children born so far are boys and 14 are girls. After setting up his website, the requests soon started rolling in.
“I’ve been inundated from the start. There were women who had been trying to have a baby for three or four years so it was very busy to begin with.
I have helped people who have been to clinics where it’s failed, and it has worked first time with me. There are more babies born in the UK by private donation than through private clinics.”
Declan usually insists the recipients provide their own sterile sample kits. He says some of his clients simply want a baby without involving a man.
“One was a victim of abuse. She was desperate to be a mum but adamant she never wanted a sexual relationship. Another was in her early 40s caring alone for elderly parents. A sperm donor was her only way of getting pregnant as she had no time to meet a man.”
Declan’s current partner knows about his donations and he says she is OK with what he is doing.
But he adds:
“My eldest child isn’t too happy about it, but she found out before I was able to tell her. Two of my children are at university. The others are too young to understand. I’m a nice person.”
Two of the women who have had children with Declan are already trying to get pregnant again. And five of his donor babies have met each other because the mums are friends.
He says: “I have got things in place where everyone knows who everyone is, but privacy is still respected. I don’t pressurise people into telling me they are pregnant.
The prolific dad has a three-year-old boy, a two-year-old daughter and a year-old girl from his current relationship. He is also aware that children conceived using donor eggs or sperm can trace their biological parent once they reach 18, in the same way as children who are adopted.
One thing Declan is not concerned about is being stitched up by the mums he vets so carefully.
“I’m not worried about CSA claims because of the people I’ve chosen to help. It’s all done on trust. I don’t expect any problems,” he says