Why A Man Who's Fathered 97 Children Is Urging The Government To Stop It From Happening Again

As thrilled as he is to have helped create so many families, he can't help but question the ethics of sperm banks.

Man urging the government to regulate sperm banks after becoming a father to baby number 97 @donordylan | TikTok, DAPA Images, wolf_art, Victoria_Regen | Canva

As fraught as the process of having children is for so many, the joy that our many medical and scientific interventions bring to parents who struggle to conceive makes it easy not to notice the ramifications some of these treatments can have.

One man on TikTok knows this firsthand as the sperm donations he made in his 20s have been used in a staggering number of pregnancies — and it's spurred him to call for more regulation over certain parts of the fertility industry. 


A father of 97 children is using his experience as a sperm donor to highlight the complicated ethics of sperm banks.

Dylan Stone-Miller has become somewhat famous in the world of sperm donation because of the sheer number of children he has fathered — 97 children, the most recent of which was just born in September of 2023.

Stone-Miller documents his experience as a donor on his TikTok channel @donordylan, and on the occasion of the birth of his 97th child, he posted a video exploring just how very joyous but complicated that experience has been.



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Stone-Miller began donating his sperm in his 20s for the same reasons many men do —to earn some quick easy money by helping would-be parents conceive. But in the intervening years, he says his donations have been used to an extent that makes him uncomfortable.

"The sperm bank blew way past the limit that I agreed to," he says of the number of children his sperm has been used to create.

On his TikTok channel and in a recent profile in The Wall Street Journal, Stone-Miller paints a picture of the sperm donation industry that is both beautiful and flawed — and perhaps even in some ways dangerous.

Sperm donation is heavily regulated in most developed countries, but not in the United States.

Most developed countries have laws about situations like Stone-Miller's that cap both the number of children conceived by a single donor, as well as the geographic locations in which they are conceived. There are a myriad of reasons for this, chief among them the prevention of accidental consanguinity, the scientific term for inbreeding via incest. 


But the United States has no such laws — the industry here operates under guidelines that many sperm banks, Stone-Miller's chief among them, take as mere suggestions, seemingly in large part due to simple, good old-fashioned profit motive.

Stone-Miller's sperm bank has "retired" his samples, "but just because they hung up my jersey in the rafters as somebody who has made them an exorbitant amount of money," he said, "does not mean that they have stopped distributing to families who have already had a birth by me." 

Stone-Miller's samples can still be used to create siblings to children previously conceived by him — a process he supports, but with reservations. 

"This is a policy that, if they had stuck to a reasonable number of births in the first place, I would totally agree with," he said. "This doesn't mean I don't think about what type of legal, social, and familial landscape this [97th child] has been born into. It's incredibly complex and is not for the faint of heart."


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Such a high number of births has implications both emotionally for the children themselves, as well as for public health.

The situation Stone-Miller highlights makes it seem obvious that the standards and practices guiding sperm banks were created in a time totally different from our own, when the ease of tracking down not only donors, but the many children they've created would have been inconceivable. But home DNA testing kits mean that the relative privacy of sperm donation is mostly a thing of the past.

This presents unique ethical questions for the children conceived.

"This baby joining us does mean that every one of the [97] kids now has one more sibling to welcome into their heads and hearts," Stone-Miller said. That includes the roughly 60% of unreported donor-conceived children who "now have one more unknown sibling that they might run into later in life without knowing it," as Stone-Miller put it.


Stone-Miller's experience is hardly the only case of this, either — even countries with actual regulation on sperm banks have instances of donors slipping through the legal cracks and fathering staggering numbers of children, like an infamous Dutch man who has been banned by court order from future donations after fathering 550 kids.

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But it's not just the children who are impacted. As he revealed in his Wall Street Journal profile, the experience of learning about his 97 children has led Stone-Miller to feel the pull of parental connection and to seek out relationships with his children, with mixed results.


"He is not her dad. Period," one mom told the Journal of Stone-Miller's relationship to the daughter she conceived with his donation. "If she were to say that in front of us, we would straight up say, ‘Dylan is not your dad. He will never be your dad,'" an approach Stone-Miller said made it "hard to look my biological daughter in the eye."

Unregulated sperm donation also has public health implications, and Stone-Miller is calling for the US government to step in.

Cases like Stone-Miller's aren't just ethically thorny — they're potentially medically dangerous too. Aside from the concerns about accidental consanguinity, high numbers of births from the same donor raise the risk of genetic disorders and ailments becoming more prevalent in the gene pool.

Donors are screened for health problems of course, but the list of ailments screened for differs from state to state, as do the screening processes themselves. That lack of regulation in screening means relying, in some cases, on the honor system which is decidedly flawed.


This has led to scenarios like that faced by one Maryland mother who discovered her son had inherited a deadly heart condition from his donor father. It was later found that none of the 23 other children conceived via the donor had been notified about the condition either.

"Until we regulate sperm banks like the rest of the developed world does," Stone-Miller said in his video, "we're gonna continue to see unreasonably large sibling pods of donor-conceived people who have some very unique challenges growing up in the general public, facing some serious genetic and public health issues."

Despite the complicated ethics of sperm banks, however, Stone-Miller maintains he is still deeply grateful to have had a hand in building so many families. Reflecting on the occasion of his 97th child's birth, he shared, "Today, I'm just happy for this family. In this moment, I'm celebrating this beautiful, queer family having yet another beautiful baby. Join me today in congratulating them."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.