Pseudonymous Luke is 33, and has found himself at a crossroads in his life. His marriage of nearly 10 years is ending — much to his dismay — and, as an American living in Ireland, he’s feeling the sudden and burdensome weight of loneliness. Although he already has one child — a 10-year-old daughter who now lives with his ex-wife — Luke says he can feel the clock ticking on his chance to father more children. “I see being a parent as life-changing,” he tells me. “My daughter already forces me to be the best I can, so having more children would put more expectant eyes on me to be even better.”
As he lacks confidence in his dating skills and feels “too old for any drama that may arise” from fledgling romantic relationships, Luke is trying his hand at an unconventional dating method: a Reddit group that facilitates reproduction. He’s one of nearly 20,000 members of r/BreedingR4R, which connects vagina-having people or couples who want to have children with sperm donors. And while some are looking for fairly anonymous sperm donations — whether via natural or artificial insemination — others are searching for real relationships based on child-rearing. Luke is after the latter. “I’m looking for a dependable teammate who can pull their weight,” he explains. “I’m not ready for a romantic relationship, but if feelings do develop [on my end], I hope they’re reciprocated.”
Although he only joined the subreddit two weeks ago — and made his first post this week — Luke has already spoken with five women who expressed an interest in breeding with him. Unfortunately, though, none of these connections have worked out. Out of the five, two were looking for long-term relationships, two were likely scammers and the final woman and Luke “determined amicably that [they] weren’t a match.”
While a subreddit specifically for breeding (an underground cum network, if you will) might seem unusual, the community’s moderator, an England-based IT professional in his late 50s, says it’s actually no different to other, more traditional dating or hookup apps — the only caveat being that it’s “for people who want their activities to result in children.” In this sense, it’s arguably no different to apps like FetLife, which caters explicitly to those interested in casual sex, polyamory and kink (though breeding is, admittedly, a lesser sought-out fetish). Indeed, like the dating app market, r/BreedingR4R isn’t the only community catering to its specific niche — other subreddits matching hopeful parents include the less popular r/spermdonation and r/SpermDonorMatch.
r/BreedingR4R appears to be the most in-demand choice, however — which might have something to do with how it’s run. “I set up this subreddit because other groups addressing this field were poorly run and infested with people posting for attention or money, like trying to direct people to OnlyFans,” explains the moderator. “Moderation doesn’t stop everyone with non-serious intent, but it does limit blatant abuse of the subreddit. At the same time, we do allow a ‘fun’ element in adverts.” So-called “ads” in the subreddit vary — some are more overtly sexual, and include a NSFW photo or video alongside a caption like, “Looking to be taken and bred endlessly. Would love to bake up some creampies.” Others are more sweetly sincere, detailing the poster’s backstory, hobbies and reason for joining the group — these often come with headers like “Looking to Start the Next Chapter.”
Some posts appear to be from couples looking for nothing more than sperm donation — with one couple describing their need as “strictly business, not pleasure.” Given the eye-watering price of IVF treatment in the U.S. — which can cost anywhere between $12,000 and $25,000 per try — it makes sense that people would seek more underground methods of obtaining donations, even if that means undergoing natural insemination (in fact, for many, that’s the plus).
Nevertheless, despite there being tens of new posts per day, the moderator tells me that, although there are some happy endings, “it’s fair to say the success rate is low.” He suggests this could be in part because “the male to female ratio is heavily unbalanced,” with women who post getting lots of replies, while men don’t get many. In one thread asking for success stories, most of the people replying said they hadn’t done any breeding via this subreddit specifically — some said they’d met up with people without conceiving, while others discovered they were being scammed before meeting up or had potential partners back out at the last minute. Many men suggested they’d had success as donors, but via other sites or sources.
Still, although Luke’s search continues, other male members seem to have slightly more luck — even if it hasn’t always led to procreative breeding. Fifty-eight year-old Danny (not his real name) from England has been involved with the subreddit since it launched in November 2020, and has already had several in-person meetups. “These interactions have been fine,” he tells me. “But I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet.” Danny did have sex with one of the women he met, though she didn’t get pregnant — instead the relationship became a “casual friends-with-benefits arrangement.”
Like Luke, Danny already has children of his own — though his are all grown up — and is using r/BreedingR4R as a dating site, of sorts, but with the ultimate goal of having more kids. “I’m looking for a relationship on the subreddit because it’s convenient,” he explains. “It attracts the type of women who match what I’m looking for.” What Danny’s after is a woman aged 25 or under who’ll ideally move in with him — although he’s willing to negotiate other co-parenting arrangements — and be the mother of his next two children. While he’s looking for a relationship, Danny’s latest post in the group comes with a “clean” and “dirty” explanation of his desire, exhibiting the sexual gratification he gets just from the idea of breeding. It details his want for a woman who’ll let him “fill her young fertile pussy as often as possible with [his] cum” so he can “enjoy her belly growing” and share her “nice full milky tits” with their child.
To be clear, this isn’t solely a male fantasy. Seemingly, many women in the group may want to be impregnated without the baggage of a relationship, and are equally turned on by the idea of being “bred.” Twenty-two-year-old Valerie (also not her real name) tells me that her participation is “just a kink,” and that she sees her chance of actually finding someone to breed with as “extremely low.” If she did manage to meet someone in person, she’d go through with it, but would just “bone and dip.” “It’s like sperm donation but with sex,” she summarizes. “Pretty legit if you ask me.” Other women may simply be looking for a sperm donation, for example if they’re in a queer relationship, their partner is infertile or if they just want a baby on their own terms.
Still, although impregnation is the goal for many members, it doesn’t mean that everybody wants the responsibility of being a parent. Even though Danny does, he also wants to indulge in his breeding kink. “Like virtually every other sexual act, unprotected sex is also a well-known sexual fetish or kink,” agrees the moderator. “So people may want the thrill and pleasure of being a donor without necessarily wanting the end result.” For men, the moderator continues, it’s often about “having progeny and being a success in evolutionary terms” but “without the financial burden and commitment that having children entails.” Because of this, some posts in the group are from people who are on birth control, or whose current or past partners are — one guy even lamented the loss of his breeding kink partner, a woman who had an IUD, so they “weren’t playing with real risk.” Plenty of others, however, are looking for sex that results in real pregnancies, without the typical relationship structures that child-rearing entails.
In these instances, how do non-committal sperm donors ensure they’ll evade legal or financial responsibilities in the future? “In most countries — unless you go through a clinic — you’re liable for child support and are legally the biological parents,” explains the moderator. “However, people can choose to be fairly anonymous to each other if they wish.” Sexual encounters could occur without either of the parties declaring their identities, meaning the parents may never need to interact again. This isn’t dissimilar from IVF protocols, in which the donor’s identity is often protected.
Of course, many people in the group are looking for children and relationships, like Luke and Danny, who both want to be involved in any of their future children’s lives. For them, there’s no point wasting their time on more traditional dating sites when they can interact specifically with women who are ready to enter the same stage of life as them. As Luke concludes: “Taking a chance on someone serious enough to commit to having a child [seems like a good way to find someone] serious about a potential long-term relationship.”
At least that’s one way to do it.