Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sperm shortage in Britain

Recall the previous post about one sperm donor for the entire country of Scotland. The shortage of sperm for IVF treatment in Britain is becoming acute, with some groups calling it a "national crisis". The abolition of anonymity for donors and allowing of children to contact their donor fathers has all but eliminated the donation of sperm. Some in the government have called the abolition of anonymity "stupid" and in need of a rethink. But the spokesman for the Department of Health says the government does not intend to change the law.

Some fertility clinics are closing while others are importing frozen sperm from the U.S. and Denmark. And some couples are going abroad for fertility treatment, which is a viable option since there are numerous world class fertility centers in other countries. Still others are buying frozen sperm online. A website called Man Not Included reports a three-fold increase in donor sperm purchases. They were established to provide donor sperm to lesbian and single women who were denied IVF treatment. Now married couples are turning to them due to the shortage of donor sperm at IVF clinics.

One question that comes to mind is how the law abolishing donor anonymity treats imported donor sperm. Do they not require that the importers certify who the donor is? If not, that is an interesting loophole that may eventually be plugged if the government remains firm on its position on donor anonymity.



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