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More Danish sperm to make up UK shortfall

29 November 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 286

Cryos International, a Danish sperm bank, is said to have recruited 40 sperm donors to meet British requirements, ready to supply the UK market when rules on sperm donation change on 5 April 2005. Cryos, the largest commercial sperm bank in the world, hopes to take advantage of an expected shortage of donor sperm in the UK after the anonymity of donors is removed.

According to The Times newspaper, Cryos is banking on experience that shows that the removal of donors' anonymity in other countries has reduced sperm donations by around 85 per cent. The UK already has a shortage of donated sperm, even before the new rules come into effect, said Dr Allan Pacey, an andrologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and spokesman for the British Fertility Society (BFS). He told the paper that 'everyone is already screaming that they can't get enough sperm'.

Cryos already exports sperm to 40 countries, including the UK, Kenya, China, Paraguay, Hong Kong, Spain and the US. Ole Schou, founder of Cryos and its managing director said that, with the removal of anonymity, 'the system in the UK will collapse', adding 'we expect in the near future sales to the UK will increase dramatically'. He continued by saying that Cryos is already 'contacted daily by UK centres - they are desperate'. Cryos sperm is 'popular' because, as well as being 'plentiful' it undergoes a rigorous filtering procedure, making it of higher quality and producing above average conception rates.

The UK's Department of Health is attempting to pre-empt a major British sperm shortage. It is planning a major donor recruitment campaign and is considering increasing the £15 maximum fee that can be paid to sperm donors. Commenting on the whole situation, Dr Pacey said 'it's really odd that to overcome a shortage, we have to import from overseas, and that we can't sort it out in-house to serve the country's needs'.

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