Professor Julie Shapiro makes a compelling case:
Let’s suppose any sperm bank a man went to had access to accurate information about how frequently that man had provided sperm to other banks and how many children had been conceived using that sperm. Would a sperm bank buy sperm from a man knowing there was a lot of his sperm already out there in the marketplace? You might think the very experience noted here answers that (because after all, this bank did keep taking his sperm even though it obviously knew how much he had already sold) but bear with me, keeping in mind that the majority of banks are for-profit operations.
Now suppose the same information was made available to potential purchasers/users of the sperm. How many people would buy sperm if they know the provider already had fifty or more offspring? Or that there was so much of his sperm out there on the market that this was likely to happen? I don’t actually think that is what most people want, so I suspect that if there was accurate information out there, most people would reject the provider. Anticipating this, most sperm banks probably wouldn’t think it worthwhile to pay for sperm from men with lots of offspring–they wouldn’t make a profit on the investment. If sperm banks stopped paying men for donating repeatedly, men would stop doing it.
While I think Professor Shapiro is on to something, I also think there will be a small segment of the marketplace that will place an intrinsically higher value on a repeat donor (even one with 150 children). In other words, because that particular donor is so popular, there will be recipients that feel compelled to use that donor, notwithstanding the number of children he fathered, because he has a certain cachet (or “y factor”).