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Profile of sperm donors in UK has changed

10 October 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 329

Statistics accompanying the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)'s publication of the results of its spermegg and embryo donation (SEED) review show that the profile of sperm donors in the UK has changed. The statistics show that men who donate sperm are now far less likely to fit the stereotypical image of students donating for pocket money and more likely to be slightly older men donating altruistically.

In April this year, the UK government made the decision to remove the anonymity of donors, sparking concerns that the number of men coming forward to donate sperm would decline, particularly if there was no incentive, in the form of payment, to do so. Currently, egg and sperm donors receive £15 for each time they donate, plus 'reasonable expenses'. The HFEA's SEED review has now recommended that donors should, in future, be compensated for lost earnings - to a maximum of £250 for each 'course' of sperm donation or cycle of egg donation.

The HFEA, as part of its review, conducted an analysis of people who volunteered to donate sperm and eggs in 2004-5. The research showed that the majority of sperm donors (69 per cent) were aged 30 or over, with the most common age group being 36-40. Newspaper reports have suggested that 'fathers are now more likely to donate sperm than students'. However, the statistics show that although the proportion of sperm donors who have their own children has increased slightly in the last ten years, only two-fifths of sperm donors surveyed had children, with 31.4 per cent of donors having two or more.

An HFEA spokesman said the SEED report recommendations were designed to make the donation process as easy and straightforward as possible and that the new guidance should simplify the system following the recent legislation removing anonymity and in the light of the European Union Tissue Directive. However, Josephine Quintavalle, from the pro-life pressure group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), said that the recommendation on compensating donors contravenes the Directive. In a press release, she said that 'CORE believes this violates the EU (European Union) Tissues and Cells Directive (Article 12(1)) which limits payment only to make good expenses and inconvenience'. She added: 'This new sum will be added to the existing expenses which are already paid to the donor, including accommodation, transport, babysitting and numerous other extras'.

Fathers now more likely to donate sperm than students
The Scotsman |  7 October 2005
Who are the UK's sperm donors? - Fertility regulator presents national picture of the people who donate
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority |  7 October 2005
27 July 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
A public debate is urgently needed to decide whether people should be paid for donating eggs and sperm to infertile couples, according to Lisa Jardine, Chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). In an exclusive interview with the Times, Professor Jardine said that the lack of egg and sperm donors in this country was driving couples abroad for fertility treatment in often unregulated clinics, and that the HFEA could potentially consider a reversal of the ban on paymen...
30 June 2008 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
The number of recorded sperm donations in the UK has fallen to the lowest level since anonymity was removed from donors in April 2005, say officials. Figures published in the Times newspaper show that there was a decline of about 20 per cent in the number...
8 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
A investigation undertaken by the Scotland on Sunday newspaper has found that some fertility clinics in the country are treating lesbians and single women on the National Health Service. The investigation shows that three Scottish health boards pay for donor insemination and sometimes IVF for lesbian...
11 November 2005 - by BioNews 
The number of potential sperm donors applying to one UK clinic fell sharply after 2000, 'almost certainly' due to growing awareness that changes to the law would remove donors' right to anonymity, a new study shows. The researchers, based at the Newcastle Fertility Centre at LIFE, have called for urgent...
22 October 2005 - by BioNews 
Professor Eric Blyth, speaking at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) conference in Montreal this week, presented an analysis of a UK Department of Health survey of sperm and egg donors, which shows that loss of donor anonymity could potentially halve the number of people donating. In April, a...
26 September 2005 - by Pip Morris 
Today, John Gonzalez, founder of the internet sperm firm Man Not Included, announced that he is launching a direct mailing campaign to attract new sperm donors. The mailshot will be sent to 50,000 men, to tackle the predicted shortage of donors following the announcement earlier this year that people conceived...
25 July 2005 - by Professor Allan Pacey 
The eighth child of Charlie Chaplin was born when he was 73 and as far as we know has lived a healthy life. However, whilst most men remain fertile into their old age, it has long been recognised that to father children later in life increases the risk of their...
21 July 2005 - by BioNews 
The risk of having a child born with certain congenital problems may increase with the father's age, US and Danish researchers say. In a study of over 70,000 births, published online in the journal Human Reproduction, they report that the risk of Down syndrome and other conditions begins to increase...
8 July 2005 - by Professor Guido Pennings 
The abolition of gamete donor anonymity has led to a greater shortage of candidate donors (including sperm donors) in several countries. All kinds of solutions have been proposed, including increased payment. Another solution, namely egg sharing, has been criticised by some as morally dubious. In the meantime, as the SEED...
4 July 2005 - by BioNews 
Critics of a UK campaign to encourage more people to donate eggs and sperm say that each new sperm donor recruited so far has cost the Government £ 6,250, the Daily Telegraph reports. From January to May, the £300,000 'Give Life, Give Hope' campaign has resulted in 486 calls to the...
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