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NHS Grampian appeals for donated sperm and eggs on staff payslips

2 February 2009
Appeared 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.

Hospital staff urged to become sperm donors - with message on their payslips
The Daily Record |  30 January 2009
Payslip plea for sperm and eggs
BBC News Online |  29 January 2009
17 November 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Sperm donation services require infrastructural reorganisation, 'sperm-sharing' incentive schemes and regulatory reforms to overcome the severe shortage presently causing 'anguish' to thousands of infertile couples in the UK each year and to the health professionals unable to provide treatment to their patients, according to fertility experts writing...
18 February 2008 - by Peter Wardle 
Legislation removing donor anonymity came into force in the UK in April 2005. Transitional arrangements, to allow the opportunity to use up reserves of anonymously donated sperm, were short; only one year. After that, the use of anonymously donated sperm was illegal.Since then, there have been a number of...
13 January 2008 - by Dr Kamal Ahuja 
The consequences of the removal of anonymity for gamete donors in terms of quality and number have been a cause of concern to patients, clinics and policy makers in the UK. At the London Women's Clinic (LWC), donor insemination (DI) is an integral part of our life. We have the...
4 April 2007 - by Laura Witjens 
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) has never believed that removal of anonymity in the UK caused the decline in sperm donor numbers. As we said in a previous BioNews commentary: 'It is important to remember that, with or without the removal of anonymity, there have never been enough gamete...
7 August 2006 - by Pip Morris and Laura Witjens 
Britain's sperm crisis' was the front page of The Independent on Sunday (30 July) accompanied by another article: 'Your country needs you'. As was expected, the removal of anonymity was blamed for the decline in sperm donors and the presented solution looked simple: reverse the law and donors would come...
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