A father who fought tirelessly in the family courts to stay in contact with his children after his seven-year relationship with their mother ended became a sperm donor after spiralling into a deep depression.
Matthew Beal, from Melbourne, felt like he’d ‘lost everything’ when his relationship ended about 18 months ago.
The 32-year-old said he’d ‘lost hope of being a father to my kids’ after a tough battle in the family court and wound up being admitted into hospital after he suffered a breakdown.
‘I was taken to hospital under the mental health act and while there they arranged for therapy and anti-depressants,’ he said.
It was during his therapy sessions that he recalled being asked by a lesbian couple to donate his sperm in his early 20s.
After some consideration, he felt offering this gift to others again would bring them enormous joy and began researching donation avenues in Victoria.
Matthew Beal, from Melbourne, felt like he’d ‘lost everything’ when his relationship ended about 18 months ago
‘The breakup and family court made me understand how hard it was to be a father and I fought very hard to be a father. I thought about this during therapy, so I joined Sperm Donation Australia,’ he said.
‘I looked at a couple of Facebook groups but chose Sperm Donation Australia because [the] screening process was very through and seemed very genuine about what was wanted for the group.
Mr Beal said there was a ‘specific mission to create relationships between donors and recipients for the benefit of any donor children.
‘It was creating a safe place to find donors and recipients and it was very well structured.
‘While I am on this path of recovery, I can help other people with similar holes in their heart wanting to be a family.
‘It has been absolutely life changing for me meeting these supportive people.’
Mr Beal said there was a ‘ specific mission to create relationships between donors and recipients for the benefit of any donor children’ and agreed to become a sperm donor for five families
Mr Beal plans to help five people create a family and has become extremely close with all his intended recipients, with one becoming his best friend.
He said it’s a connection and friendship he never expected, but it has helped him heal, and having his recipients remind him regularly what an wonderful person he is buoys him if ever he feels down or alone.
‘I help these people and do amazing things for these families. Being a sperm donor is an amazing thing.’
Mr Beal said his support network and extraordinary new friendships were a bonus.
‘It goes beyond getting a donation from me; they are all incredibly sweet and if I am feeling a bit lonely, I can reach out to them.’
He believes becoming an online sperm donor could be life changing for many men suffering from depression or anxiety as a result of a separation.
‘It creates an extremely unique and supportive network.’
Mr Beal pictured with the daughter of the recipient who has since become his best friend
Mr Beal believes becoming an online sperm donor could be life changing for many men suffering from depression or anxiety as a result of a separation
Mr Beal has asked his intended recipients for updates at least every two years so that if and when the children want to meet with him, he will be able to form a stronger connection with them, having watched them grow up.
‘It will make it easier for them (the donor child) to overcome the hole they might feel from being a donor child,’ he said.
The 32-year-old has become an ambassador for the group, hoping to help find more donors in rural and regional areas while guiding men through any questions they may have, including the legal elements.
He said some women are having to travel up to four hours to find a donor and sit on the side of the road in their car to inseminate themselves, which he feels is not ideal or comfortable for anyone.
Adam Hooper, who founded Sperm Donation Australia, said a lot of men coming into the group have struggled with the breakup of a relationship and loss of friends as a result.
Mr Beal has asked his intended recipients for updates at least every two years so that if and when the children want to meet with him, he will be able to form a stronger connection with them, having watched them grow up
‘It’s nice to be involved in a group that not only creates lives, but saves lives too,’ he said.
‘Not only has Sperm Donation Australia been successful in helping create families, it has played a big part in men’s mental health. It has given them a positive focus and created some everlasting friendships.
‘In a time of darkness creating new bonds and connections with people may seem hard in normal circumstances, but we have seen many men benefit and get through the challenges they are facing.’
Donors are encouraged discuss the amount of contact they have with the children.
Some see the children regularly, which provides them with completely new relationships.