Sperm donor has become dad to 54 children and even launched his own app
19:10, 5 DEC 2015UPDATED 10:23, 6 DEC 2015BY LEWIS PANTHER
Declan Rooney offers hope for a family to those who cannot become parents by the usual means
Declan Rooney offers hope for a family to those who cannot become parents by the usual means " data-type="fb-share" data-action="article:6961131" data-content-
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror
Dad's the word: Declan Rooney with one of the many children he has fathered, Elijah Metcalf and proud parents (l-r) Coleen Roberts and Katie Metcalf
Middle-aged, grey-haired and mild-mannered – it’s hard to believe that dapper Declan Rooney is a one-man babymaking machine.
But in a few months time he’ll have fathered FIFTY-FOUR in an astonishing crusade to help women struggling to have children.
This year alone Declan has notched up 31births after setting up an online sperm donation website last year.
Now he even has a smartphone app offering his services as a private donor and a free alternative to clinics.
And with 15 more buns in the oven, he has no intention of stopping – despite causing uproar among family campaigners.
Today Declan, 43 – who has eight children of his own with four different women – wants to hit back at critics of unregulated sperm donation, insisting in his case that everything is above board.
Read more: Man dubbed 'Sperminator' after fathering TEN kids with nine different women claims he's better than a sperm bank
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?”
He insists he has not received any money as a donor apart from petrol expenses to deliver the sperm to the mother – once, he admits, in a takeaway coffee cup.
“Egg donors get treated like saints, sperm donors get treated like back alley, smutty boys,” says Declan. “But I’m not doing a bad thing. I’m not ashamed. I have helped women create families.
And some like what he offers so much, he even gets repeat business. “I have seen five of the children in the past month because I have been donating for siblings,” he says.
Declan 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.
The former graffiti artist and website designer decided to start donating sperm in March last year.
He said: “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.
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror
Womb picture: The scan is of Elijah Metcalf, who is now aged 7 weeks - one of Declan's children
“It’s because it works – and I have a really high first time success rate, over 50 per cent. “I once had three successes in 24 hours, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it. You can’t control when a woman is going to ovulate.
“Timing is crucial. You ask a lot of questions, about pee sticks, body signs, temperature. That all goes back and forth. A lot of guys think becoming a sperm donor is really easy. It’s not. You have got to have good swimmers.”
Declan says he warns women to stay well away from private donors who try to charge for their sperm, which is illegal.
He says he has been offered “payments in kind”, but always refuses.
“I’ve been contacted by people from abroad and offered free flights to the West Indies,” he says. “But I haven’t gone down that route. Long haul flights are not good for the swimmers.” Declan says almost 75 per cent of his donations take place in the homes of recipients, with another 20 per cent in hotels and the rest elsewhere.
His most bizarre donation involved meeting a woman at a museum. He had to hand over a coffee cup of his sperm after producing it in disabled toilets.
He ended up drawing unwanted attention to himself when he accidentally pulled the emergency cord on his way out.
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,” he says. “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.
“One lady was born severely disfigured and believed she was unable to have sex.I could have gone to bed with quite a few of my successes, but it’s not about that. It’s about helping other people. When I have been successful and get a message from the pregnant woman, it makes me happy.”
He says he’s only had one recipient “go missing” on him.
“But her friends busted her,” he says. “It’s called sperm-jacking. She sent a picture of a negative pregnancy test, but her friends told me she was actually pregnant.”
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.”
Helping out: Declan also has EIGHT children of his own with four different women
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.
“But everyone is playing ball and everyone is nice. I am doing the right thing by the recipients and they are doing the right thing by me.”
But Declan admits the pressure of being an in-demand babymaker has been getting to him, so much so he is scaling down his operation a tad.
“Nowadays I try not to do more than two in a day. Maybe one in the morning and one in the evening,” he says. “Last December it was 40 in the month. I am winding it down. It’s about 10 a month.
“It’s quite a stressful thing to do, donating and having a sexual partner at the same time.”
The prolific dad has a three-year-old boy, a two-year-old daughter and a year-old girl aged one from his present 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.
So there could be a lot of knocking at his door in Teesside when he’s in his 60s.
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.
“If the CSA do want to take it on, I’ll say, ‘I’ve got 50 kids, you work it out’.