On a busy night last week at the Target on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, Ari Nagel, 40, emerged from the men’s bathroom looking a little flushed and quite pleased with himself. “It’s better when it’s fresh,” he told them. “It” is Nagel’s semen, and it’s in demand. The 6-foot-2 CUNY Kingsborough math professor has served as a sperm donor for dozens of locals, siring 22 kids over the past 12 years with 18 women of various backgrounds. For lesbian couples and single ladies looking to have a baby without the expense of going through a sperm bank (which can run in the thousands of dollars), he’s the No. 1 dad. “This isn’t time-consuming, and I’m doing it anyway,” he says of his hands-on hobby. “It’s very easy for me to do.” His oldest child, now 12, was conceived with a woman he was in a committed relationship with, but all of his offspring since, he says, have resulted from his donations.
About half the time, he provides his seed the old-fashioned way. Sometimes, a lesbian looking to conceive will have her partner in the bed for moral support while she and Nagel engage in intercourse. “She’s never slept with a guy before, so the partner’s in bed, holding her hand,” Nagel explains. “Sometimes, it could be a little painful, then after a few times, they’re comfortable to do it on their own.” Other times, he supplies his goods in a cup, which he prefers. And Nagel’s seed-sowing isn’t a drain on his love life. He doesn’t make a point of mentioning it on dates, but when it comes up, ladies typically don’t mind. “Never underestimate the desperation of a single woman on the Upper West Side,” he says.
But it’s not all sunshine and babies. The first five women he worked with successfully sued him for child support, and nearly half of his paycheck is garnished for his offspring. “I don’t know what’s more surprising: that five sued or that 17 didn’t,” Nagel says. “They were all well aware there was no financial obligation on my part. They all promise in advance they won’t sue.” Crystal, a Connecticut woman who has two sons, 6 and 7, by Nagel, says she wasn’t aware of any such arrangement.
The 45-year-old mom, who took Nagel to court for child support, says that she was expecting to co-parent with him and that she didn’t know of his plans to father an entire baseball team. Nagel’s progeny isn’t limited to the tri-state area. He has kids in Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Connecticut and Israel. Some he sees once a week, some he sees once a year, some he’s never met.
I don't really care how people live their lives. And I don't care about how many children any person has or doesn't have. That is a personal decision. If you have the time and resources to raise and support your children go for it. As the song goes, it's your thing. Do what you want to do. I can't tell you who to sock it to. But one thing that is worth mentioning is that Nagel and the women with whom he's interacting are deliberately depriving the children of a parent or at least of a father. There are consequences to running around and being irresponsible that don't just impact the adults who are involved. At the extremes this sort of behavior raises the chances, however slightly, of accidental incest as there are a number of half-siblings created who will not know each other or grow up together. Ugh. But even putting that aside I've always thought that it's just a crappy thing to do to bring a child into the world when you lack the ability or desire to build a parental relationship with that child. And it turns out that Professor Nagel is still married. So you can throw adultery into the mix as well. We've written before about men who acted in good faith as sperm donors for lesbians or single heterosexual women. Some of these men later get sued by the state or the women for child support. In many of those cases the men had either a written agreement or verbal understanding with the women that they would not be a father in any sort of way. The women changed their minds or the state big footed its way into what was a private relationship. In those cases I do think the men got a raw deal. But in Nagel's case I think he's just a fool. He deserves whatever comes his way. As far as the women are concerned I think it is amusing and a little sad that in a time where women complain loudly and incessantly about men who impregnate them and disappear, several women are lining up to be impregnated by a man who will disappear and not be a father to the resulting children. I guess it all depends which men are doing the pumping and dumping. There are apparently a lot of desperate and yet picky women out there. People are strange.
Though she has yet to actually meet Nagel, Simmons has no qualms about the notoriety of the man comedian Chris Hardwick recently called “Johnny Peopleseed.” She says, “I’m OK with [Nagel’s newfound fame]. I’m OK with people knowing who my child’s father is, because I know he’s a great man.” Blandine Rodney, a 43-year-old Brooklyn nurse who wants a child with the college math professor, agrees. “He’s handsome, he’s a genius. I’d be proud to have my child say Ari is his father.” The divorcée, like all of the other women The Post spoke to, is black (Several of Nagel’s 22 children have black mothers). “Someone said [to me] he’s trying to whitewash the black community,” says Rodney. “It’s not whitewashing! More white men should give sperm to women who need it.”