An Australian fertility clinic has advertised for sperm donors at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in exchange for a free trip 'down under'. The advertisement, placed in the sports section of the university's student newsletter, announced in large bold print 'Sperm donors needed. We will pay'. The advertisement states that the clinic is seeking men aged between 18 and 40 who would be available every second day of their 'holiday' to provide a sample of sperm.
The Albury Reproductive Medicine clinic, based in New South Wales, reportedly cannot find enough non-anonymous home-grown sperm donors in Australia. So it offered a two-week, all-expenses paid trip to Australia for Canadian males who passed initial screening and blood tests. 'We have advertised locally but with little success and for that reason find it necessary to search further from our own region', said Ruth Keat, program director of the clinic.
The clinic blames the shortage on a proposed New South Wales law which, if passed, will compel donors to disclose their identity. Previously, sperm donors could remain anonymous. Donors coming forward must be willing to be identified in confidential records as the donor, and may have their identity disclosed to offspring through a third-party agency at the age of eighteen, but would have no legal responsibilities for any children. Following the placing of the advertisement, Ms Keat said the response had been overwhelming: 'We just wanted a few donors but now it seems half the world wants to know', she said.
Meanwhile, fertility experts in Hobart, Tasmania, have said that a sperm shortage in the state could put Tasmania's IVF programmes at risk. More local sperm donors were needed, it said, because sperm stored at Tasmanian clinics was being 'depleted' by clinics in other states, where demand for sperm far exceeds supply. 'The situation on the mainland is desperate and it will become desperate here within the next 12 months unless more men donate sperm', said Dr Bill Watkins, who runs a clinic in Tasmania. But, commenting on the drastic action taken by the Albury clinic, he said his clinic would not be offering free holidays.