02 February 2009
ByAppeared in BioNews 493
The health board of NHS Grampian in Scotland have included a plea for sperm and egg donations on thousands of staff payslips, in an effort to restore depleted stocks at their Aberdeen fertility clinic. The message has appealed for male donors aged 18 to 45 and female donors aged 18 to 35, with the message beginning, 'could you help someone have a much wanted child', and going on to ask prospective volunteers to contact the donor co-ordinator.
An unnamed employee reported staff feeling 'bemused' by the request, commenting; 'it's pretty shocking to make this appeal through our payslips. They must be really desperate'. An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said that this was the first time they had advertised for donors through NHS payslips, but that the scheme had already generated three inquiries. The spokeswoman stated that, 'there is an ongoing need for egg and sperm donors and although there have been a number of adverts and newspaper articles over the years, many potential donors who contact us say that they had previously not been aware that they could donate in Aberdeen'.
The spokeswomen said that they were always looking for new ways to inform people about the need for donations, holding a press briefing in November 2007 that resulted in 64 inquiries, 15 potential donors attending initial discussions, and four going on to donate.
Infertility Network UK welcomed the move, with spokeswoman Susan Seenan commenting that, while there was a need for both sperm and egg donors, 'it takes a very, very special type of person to come forward, but it can make a real difference'.
Some experts believe that reluctance to donate has increased since new fertility legislation was introduced in 2005, which meant that donors had to give up their right to anonymity, and so may contacted in the future by one of their biological children.