27 February 2012
ByAppeared in BioNews 646
The exchange rate between the euro and Denmark's krone is causing a crisis for the sperm banking business in Ireland, reports the Irish Independent.
Ireland receives almost all of its donated sperm from Denmark, but with the Danish krone remaining at record high levels against the euro (€), the strong krone is keeping import prices high.
Although exact data is unavailable, the Irish Independent estimates that donors are paid up to €300 per viable sample. A fully identified donor can expect to receive considerably more.
'It's big business in Denmark. In most countries it's considered inappropriate to pay for samples, but donors get paid there', said Graham Coull, laboratory manager at the Sims fertility clinic in Dublin, which reportedly imported almost €80,000 of sperm last year.
Danish sperm donation company, Cyros, is one of the world's and Ireland's leading suppliers.
Standard IVF costs between €3,700 and €5,000 in Ireland, according to figures obtained by the Irish Times. However, with the falling value of the euro and the continuing economic crisis, the fertility market looks set to also be affected.
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is not provided by the public health service but private clinics are permitted to offer the service. There is currently no legislative framework to regulate fertility treatment but guidelines issued by the Irish Medical Council set out the conditions under which clinics may provide such services.
The payment of donors is prohibited in the UK, but donors may claim 'reasonable expenses' up to a maximum of £250 per course of sperm donation.