Lauren Stromquist, a mother from Minnesota, was struck with a feeling of familiarity when she read a Fox News story on Bay Area sperm-machine Trent Arsenault. She recognized the blonde Silicon Valley worker as her former neighbor in Pleasanton -- the guy she once went to a farmer's market with and who always had copious quantities of blueberries around (good for the sperm count, apparently).
She also recognized the baby in the picture
with him -- and it certainly wasn't his. It was hers! For the record, Stromquist tells us, her daughter, Pualani, is not one of Arsenault's brood of 14 donor babies (and counting).
Stromquist discovered that not only was Fox News using the photo, Arsenault himself had posted the picture of him holding her apple-cheeked, blue-eyed daughter (Gerber baby material if you ask us) on his own website, TrentDonor
, which advertises his controversial sperm donation services.
"This baby is not his child," Stromquist told the SF Weekly, after we, too, ran the picture on our blog. (We have since taken it down.) "All I want to know is why did he use her picture? Obviously, she's a good-looking kid, but why would he do that to his neighbors?"
Stromquist tracked down Arsenault's attorney, Amber Taylor, in Washington, D.C., and asked her to order both Fox News and Arsenault to remove the photo immediately, and they both complied. Yet that really means nothing in the era of Google, where everyone will still be able to see that photo of her baby girl in Arsenault's arms.
Stromquist says the photo saga has created some serious family drama. She says her husband's family now wants a paternity test to prove that her husband is truly the baby's father.
As if this sperm story couldn't get more Jerry Springer.
Arsenault says he understands Stromquist's utter shock. "The baby wasn't in a caption saying it was a biological baby. It just said it was a picture of me and a baby ... I think someone who didn't know me, who didn't have one of the other babies, might assume that that's a baby [of mine]."
Still, Arsenault, 36, equates it to the many other miscellaneous photos on the site of him traveling with friends. "I'm debating whether I should take some of those down, with all the publicity."
So why did he use the photo of a baby that wasn't his on a website advertising his sperm? "I thought it was a good photo. Unfortunately, many of my photos are at landmarks and not close-ups, so this one was a nice one they had taken for me, and I used it."