Liverpool fertility clinic has been forced to import sperm from Manchester and
London after a significant fall in local donations.
The Hewitt Fertility Centre is struggling to meet demand for
sperm, meaning stocks are being bought in from other clinics.
'It's not just our stocks that are low, it is all stocks,
because the law concerning donors changed some years ago. Now donors only get
reasonable expenses as opposed to getting paid and they can no longer remain
anonymous', said Professor Charles Kingsland, lead consultant at the Hewitt
'Liverpool used to have one of the biggest sperm banks. Since 2006,
when the law changed, there was a quick decline. Now couples face a wait of
over a year before a donor becomes available', Professor Kingsland added.
This problem stretches back to the founding of
a sperm donor database by the British government in 2000, according to the
Guardian, after which sperm donations began to decline. This was then intensified
by further law changes in 2005, meaning that sperm and egg donors no longer received payment for
their donation, but instead claimed travel expenses. Donors also no longer have
the right to anonymity, meaning donor-conceived children can find out the identity of their biological parents.
On average, 4,000 people in the UK use donor insemination every
year, with 500 donors needed to enable this. However, in the year following the
removal of donor anonymity, the number of suitable sperm donors stood at 307 (reported in BioNews 515).
longer wait for a sperm donor in recent years has led to some people using sperm
from clinics abroad, such as in Denmark, where donors still have the right to
anonymity. People receiving donor insemination in Britain are required to
choose a non-anonymous donor, but if they travel abroad for the treatment, they
can select sperm from an anonymous donor.
Fertility Clinic is keen to
boost sperm donation and has started
a campaign to encourage more men to donate. However, they stress that donors
should be fully informed about the implications, including the possibility that
any resulting children may wish to contact them in the future.
looking for donors who have the maturity to understand the implications of
donating - not only for the recipients of their sperm, but for the donor
himself', Professor Kingsland told the Liverpool Echo.