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Sperm shortage drives some Brits to Denmark

11 January 2010
Appeared in BioNews 540

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 health boy, Oscar, conceived using a Danish donor's sperm.

The story illustrates how a number of British women are seeking donor insemination outside the UK because of a shortage of sperm, BBC News says. Denmark is an increasingly popular destination for women travelling abroad for fertility treatment and it is also home to the world's largest sperm bank. Under Danish law sperm donors may be paid by clinics and they also remain anonymous. In the UK, donor anonymity was removed in 2005, and the law now allows donor-conceived individuals access to identifying information about their biological father and, potentially, their genetic half-siblings. Many commentators have attributed a present shortage in sperm supply to this change in law.

The Vita Nova fertility clinic in Copenhagen reports a 40 per cent rise in British women coming to their clinic since 2005. Sophie Bugge from the Vita Nova clinic says that donor anonymity laws have resulted in longer waiting lists for donor sperm. 'Women who have decided to have a child don't feel that they can wait two years, if there is a two-year waiting list,' she said, adding that this was the most common reason for choosing fertility treatment abroad.

The Cryos sperm bank in Denmark has expanded in recent years and has opened franchises in the United States and more recently India. In a similar vein, the Age newspaper reports that Danish companies have attracted many American customers from North American offices through advertisement campaigns focusing on the commonly perceived physical characteristics of Scandinavian men, such as athleticism and strength.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Brits opting for IVF 'Viking' babies
BBC News |  23 December 2009
Danes design Viking babies
The Age |  5 June 2005
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