Sperm Bank Doctor Who Used His Own Semen?

What’s the straight dope on the story of the sperm bank doctor, who was a genius, who replaced several patient’s semen samples with his own semen? Is it true that he became the biological father of several children, all of whom went on to be intellectually ‘gifted’? Was he charged with any crime for this??

Does the fact that ALL of the children he produced were ‘gifted’ indicate that nature is much more important than nurture when it comes to intelligence?

He certainly did father several children this way, but I never heard anything about them being especially gifted. I’m sure they were bright since Dad was a doctor and no dope.

In answer to your other question, yes, nature is more important than nurture when it comes to intelligence. Sure, a child’s environment can stifle or make the most of the child’s intelligence but, the best research I’ve seen to date indicates that this trait is essentially hardwired in by birth.

Thanks ejrn.

Do you happen to know his name?

Dr. Feelgood.


ejrn, I thought the latest research suggested that intelligence was a maternially inherited trait. Yea? Nay?’

It would suggest that this Drs. offspring are probably no smarter than the average, assuming that their mothers for a normally distributed cross section of the population.

Well first you might want to check out the musical

or the movie

or the bookThe Babymaker : Fertility Fraud and the Fall of Dr. Cecil Jacobson

or just the facts

Yeah, I heard about this one… I believe it might have been the basis for a long-ago “Law and Order” episode. Even if it wasn’t, though, that’s still something weird to think about. What would happen if, for example, two of his children decided to get together, and unbeknowst to them, they were brother and sister? Very creepy.

Creepy, yes, but I think no more likely to happen in this case than in any case of real, by-the-book artificial insemination in which an anonymous sperm donor is used.

Except that a large number of children were produced this way in a fairly small geographical location. Rarely would you find that many children in one location with the same father and being completely unaware of it.

Well I wouldn’t be so quick to say that since I lived in St. Joseph, MO for a while. :eek:

The Jacobson case was complicated. IIRC at the time the case was a bit of an embarrassment to the Mormon Church since Jacobson was a Mormon and some people (unfairly) connected his behavior to Church of LDS scriptural or doctrinal exhortations to to be fecund, which is common to practically all religions (except maybe the Shakers) .

Jacobson was also all about quality control apparently

Here is a interesting cite for the legal case and arguments his malpractice insurers made that they should not have to pay for his actions. Here’s just a liitle bit of it.

etc etc etc

Since you capitalized “Who” in the title, I just mentally parsed it in a VERY strange fashion involving Tom Baker in a frock coat and scarf. Continue.

Has nobody yet asked ejrn or alice_in_wonderland for cites, concerning the “nature vs. nurture” question? Last I knew, the matter was still hotly debated, with neither side having conclusive evidence. While I’ll grant that there may have been a breakthrough recently, I’d still like to see what it is.


Could you provide a link about ol’ Jacobsen being LDS and pulling that stunt? I ask this because the LDS church teaches that sperm donation ain’t kosher unless it’s the marital partner of the woman receiving the sperm donating said sperm.

It was some time ago and it’s strictly from memory but I’m pretty sure this is accurate re his being an member of the Church of the LDS because I remember the comment by some Rep. of the Mormon Church (I think it was a letter to the Editor to some publication covering this story at the time) saying pretty much the same thing you just did.

Yes, the media reported such a study within the past few years. But that does not make it scientific truth. That research must be repeated and confirmed by independent researchers, and then an explanation of the genetic mechanism must be offered and then confirmed. After that, objections from other scientists in the field must be answered by experimental observation before this becomes scientifically accepted.

Too often the media reports a study that shows a correlation between say, an envirnonmental factor, such as several people working together later being diagnosed with Parkinson’s (such as on the Family Ties production crew and cast, 5 cases including Michael J. Fox). Such a cluster does not in fact suggest that the cause of Parkinson’s is being on Family Ties, merely that they may all have had an exposure that in combination with something else led to the disease. It does not explain the mechanism. Another recent example from the last few days is the suggestion that Amyotrophiclateralsclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) tends to affect athletes more than the general population. But that does not say what causes it, or only that athletes are at risk. (Stephen Hawking, the world’s “smartest man” has the disease, but was never much of an athlete. He has also survived much longer than others with it, like Lou Gehrig or Catfish Hunter.

In short, the media is going to report lots of preliminary studies showing correlations without a proper explanation to the public that a correlation is not causation, merely an indication that more study is needed.

[www.law.emory.edu/4circuit/rtfs/feb95/931986.p.rtf+Dr.+Cecil+B.+Jacobson,+Jr.+&hl=en"]United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals]([url). This is the entire judgement, as near as I can tell.

I’ve Googled a few combinations of the good Dr.'s name, and LDS, and come up empty-handed. It would be decent not to make that kind of assertion without absolute cite. It only serves to side-track the thread in an overly inflammatory way.


In the context of (based on memory) being fairly positive he was a Mormon I was making the note in a contextual background manner and made mention of the unfairness of linking his religious beliefs to his behavior in this scenario. I don’t believe I was being either unfair or inflammatory as this aspect of his background was mentioned (again IIRC) in several stories about the incident. In any case your request (and Monty’s) are noted and I will see if I can find a cite or note supporting this assertion.

Thanks, man. Can’t ask for more than that. I didn’t mean to be so accusatory, I apologize. I was just asking for a bit of steak to go with the sizzle… and to defend LDS from any more mud being thrown onto it than already has happened recently.

If he is, hey, he is. I just really dug a bit, and couldn’t find it…

This was also the premise of a sitcom spoof on SNL. I forget who the father was–John Goodman sounds right . . .