Page URL:

HFEA publishes new sperm and egg donor figures

3 August 2009
Appeared in BioNews 519

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) published new figures showing the number of new egg and sperm donors registered in 2008. The figures published on 31 July 2009 show that the number of both sperm and egg donors has increased.

The figures show that there were 284 sperm donors for the year 2008 this is an increase of 20 on the previous year. The number of sperm donors dropped to 224 in 2004 prior to the removal of donor anonymity in 2005. However, since that low point the number of donors has slowly crept up each year, but has still not matched the 1996 figure of 417 the highest number of donors recorded by the HFEA and has been further countervailed by a decreasing willingness to donate sperm to banks for use by multiple families, resulting in a worsening shortage overall.

In relation to egg donation the lowest figure this century came in 2006 when there were only 783 donors, the figures published last week show 1084 donors for 2008. This is an increase of 128 on last year. Despite these increases, there is still a shortage of donated gametes.

Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, who in an interview published in the Times last week called for a public debate to decide whether people should be paid for donating eggs and sperm to infertile couples, said: 'Egg and sperm donors deserve enormous gratitude, particularly when we consider how important donation remains for many families seeking assisted reproduction. Despite improved techniques such as ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), donors are still essential to help many people for whom a family is otherwise impossible.'

Updated egg and sperm donor numbers published by HFEA
HFEA press release |  31 July 2009
11 January 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A British woman has travelled to Denmark to undergo donor insemination after the fertility clinic where she had been receiving treatment in the UK ran out of sperm, BBC News reports. Single and 41, Abby, who is using a pseudonym, made the decision after three unsuccessful insemination attempts in the UK using donated sperm. Once the clinic informed her there was no more sperm available she contacted the Danish clinic. Following treatment there she gave birth to a...
5 October 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Beginning from last Thursday, new disclosure laws for donor-conceived individuals and gamete/embryo donors came into force which will broaden access to donor genetic information. The provisions were enacted together with the vast majority of the new Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act 2008, approved by Parliament last year and aimed at updating its predecessor 1990 statute to be more inline with contemporary liberal attitudes and advances in reproductive technolog...
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...
6 July 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
An acute shortage of donor sperm is diminishing the capacity of the UK's public and private health sectors to treat infertility, resulting in growing concern and lengthening waiting lists at clinics. The shortage is widely attributed to the removal, in 2005, of entitlement to donor anonymity. The Progress Educational Trust, with support from the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Fertility Society (BFS) staged a panel discussion on Thursday 25 June 2009 entitled 'Banking Crisis - what ...
6 July 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The results of a new study into cross-border fertility treatment in Europe indicate that every year, thousands of women from Britain are travelling abroad to access treatment which is unavailable to them at home....
29 June 2009 - by Dr Alan Thornhill 
Long before the current commercial banking crisis, the UK suffered another banking crisis - that of donor sperm shortages. The difference is that the sperm bank crisis is not global. Instead it is quintessentially British - full of principle and good intention but sadly resulting from compromise and inconsistency. Only the areas of inconsistency are consistent: the removal of anonymity, donor expenses, screening and selection guidelines and the limitations on use of individual donors. Taken s...
15 June 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The entitlement to anonymity of UK sperm and egg donors ended in 2005, a development that has been welcomed by those who spent long years campaigning for it, and criticised by those who blame it for a current shortage of donor sperm and eggs. Because this change in law applies only prospectively, it remains difficult - if not impossible - for previous generations of donor-conceived individuals to locate their genetic parents and other genetic relatives. Initiatives such as UK DonorLink and it...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.