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Meet the Israeli with almost as many children as Abraham

When we speak, Ari Nagel, a New Yorker who grew up in an Orthodox home, is visiting one of his children in Jacksonville, Florida, for a few hours before he travels to Orlando to see another three of his offspring.                It has been 14 years since Ari, a maths professor at City University New York, made his first donation. And he’s hardly stopped since.

Since his first encounter, he has gone on to sire children across 20 states and 27 countries, including Israel, Russia, Thailand, Barbados and Ghana – fathering an approximately 50 percent split of boys and girls.

While most people were locked down over the pandemic, he was busier than ever. As college lectures went online, he used the time to meet more families seeking his services. In 2020, he set a personal record by fathering 21 children. This year, he is on course for a total of 30. If all the women Ari has now impregnated give birth, he will have fathered a total of 120 children over the next nine months.

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For his proficiency, Ari, who travelled to eight countries last month, has been dubbed ‘The Sperminator’.  Educated, tall (he is 6ft 2in), blue-eyed and with a full head of curls, women seeking his sperm can contact Ari Nagel on social media. The majority are lesbian couples and single mothers, although he has fathered children in trans and heterosexual relationships. He rarely charges people for his seed, just for his expenses – from hotel rooms to flights.

Ari with some of his many children who call him dad

So what does he get out of it?  “I want to grow my own modern family and I want to make people happy,” says the 46-year-old, while pushing his cooing three-year-old on the swings.  He has met most of his children, but not all. Though some families do not want Ari in their lives, others see him – as well as the other children he has fathered – as part of their extended family. He says he spends his free time visiting as many children as he can, as often as he can.

Do they call him ‘Dad’? “Well, they don’t call me The Sperminator,” he laughs. “Some call me ‘Ari’, because that is what they hear their mother call me. But most do call me ‘Dad’.” Unlike traditional donors, who anonymously use a sperm bank, Ari offers a more ‘direct’ service. In the early years, he would often have sex with the women. Of late, he has focused on the task in hand by passing over a cup with the goods, allowing a woman to artificially inseminate herself.

It was not a route he was expected to take. Born to an Orthodox family in Monsey, New York, Ari was one of seven children.

He attended the Yeshiva of Spring Valley boys’ school and the Yeshiva Shaarei Torah high school, before going on to major in finance at St John’s University in Queens, New York.

“I was a very typical Monsey boy,” he said. “I wore a black hat for davening and for school. The boys I was studying with spoke Yiddish. I didn’t know anything else. Monsey is a ghetto where you don’t see cars driving on Shabbes and you don’t know about the outside world. I was sheltered.”

Brooklyn-based Ari Nagel has fathered children for single mothers, lesbian, trans and heterosexual couples, and loves visiting his children around the world

But after he was hit by a motorcycle aged 17, he used the $70,000 settlement money to visit 40 countries across the world, from Europe to Asia. He spent semesters in Italy and in the UK, studying at the London School of Economics. He ate non-kosher food, met new people, had a lot of sex and never looked back.

“As a young guy travelling around the world, keeping kosher was not the easiest option; neither was keeping Shabbes. I saw people worshipping cows and monkeys and it was responsible for me losing faith. I still feel very Jewish, just not Orthodox.”

He returned home with a new perspective and made up for lost time. After impregnating a Caribbean-born woman he was having a casual sexual relationship with, he married her – while still having relations with other women and donating sperm after seeing an advert online. After that marriage ended, he had another two “fraudulent, fake marriages”, including one to a mature Orthodox woman who did not want their child to be considered a mamzer (bastard).

“We had a Jewish marriage with a rabbi and a ketuba,” he says. “We got dressed up, took a picture, and got divorced a year later. The rabbi said I was doing a very big mitzvah.” His parents, who are in their 70s, disagree. While his dad has attended the brit milah of one of the children Ari fathered, his mother is less accepting and is “very ashamed” of his lifestyle. “She is a typical Jewish mum. She wants me to be normal, religious and married. Even though she doesn’t approve of my lifestyle, we are still close and love each other,” he explains.

He pauses when I ask whether they see his children as part of the family. “My parents have 27 grandchildren, not including my children,” he says. “I think they feel sorry for the children because I am not a full-time father. I am never going to be as good to the children as my father was to me. I visit them here and there, but I am not telling them bedtime stories like my dad did.”

Ari, who grew up Orthodox in Monsey, has fathered 96 children and has no plans to stop donating his sperm. Here he is at the Kotel

He adds: “I had a very traditional childhood, where we would shut off the TV, sit around the table and sing Shabbes songs. Part of me does crave it – there would be something nice about having all my kids around me. I will never have that. Maybe at my funeral.” Ari’s modern family is not without complications. In 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court banned him from acting as a sperm donor and ordered the destruction of all his samples, citing a requirement for a donor who is not anonymous to co-parent a child.

And while he clearly has amicable relationships with some of the families he has helped create, it is not always so. Despite their casual agreements, he says some mums have reneged and demanded financial support for the children. As a result, nine of the mothers were granted court-ordered payments. Ari, who is based in Brooklyn and is paid around $100,000 a year as a professor, says he struggles financially.

He says: “Because my salary is high, I am not entitled to government support. The court-ordered child support takes around 50 percent of my salary. Another $20,000 goes on taxes and I am left with $30,000, which is not enough in New York City. I try to help out the other kids. But there is not much I am able to do.”

He gave one mum $10 the day before we spoke. “All the women I help out can file for child support, but 90 percent have not.” Ari is not perturbed and intends to continue donating his sperm.

“I don’t do any vetting,” he says, when asked if he checks whether the mums, some of whom are anti-vaxxers, can emotionally and financially support the children he fathers. “But the clinics don’t check. All they want is for someone to be able to pay for treatment.”

Ari Nagel just can’t stop giving

Ari says he will stop donating by the time he is 50, and then possibly settle down. “It is difficult to be in a serious relationship when
I am giving sperm to another woman,” he says. “Whoever I meet would have to love children and help me co-parent. When you fall in love, you fall in love.”  For now, it is time for a less traditional type of love. “There is a lot of love between me and the mums,” he says. “Half of them are lesbian couples so it’s not romantic, but we do love each other very much.”

 

 

 



Source: Jewish News

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