A Boston-based sperm bank has asked permission to import semen to the UK, reports the newspaper USA Today. Looking to extend its market, the commercial company wants to take advantage of the fact that sperm donations in the UK over the last 10 years have apparently decreased by 60 per cent.
The lower levels of donation in the UK and so-called 'static' rates of sale for commercial sperm banks in the US have made exporting sperm to the UK commercially appealing. Boston's New England Cryogenic Center is reported to be the first such organisation to apply to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for approval to send 'bulk shipments' of semen to the UK. However, the HFEA denies that such an application has been made by or on behalf of the centre.
USA Today says that there would be benefits to using American sperm. It suggests that current deliberations in the UK about whether sperm donors should be identifiable or not may be affecting the number of men willing to be donors.
Children born of sperm donation in the UK can be given only non-identifying information about their donors and many fertility clinics keep very limited amounts of information. More details about donors, including their family history, education, personality, appearance and interests, is collected in the US.
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US sperm bank seeks a new market in UK