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Campaign in North West hopes to encourage more sperm donors

29 November 2010
Appeared in BioNews 586

The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), together with fertility clinic Manchester Fertility Services, has launched an initiative to recruit sperm donors in the North-West of England. The sports-themed campaign targets men who may otherwise not have considered becoming a sperm donor to inform them of what is involved in donation and to learn from the perspectives of families involved.

The 'Strong Swimmer Challenge' kicked off at Rochdale Mayfield Rugby Club where players, all between 18 and 37 - the ideal age group to recruit donors from - were asked to indicate whether or not they would choose to donate. At the start, only four players said they would but after an hour long session hearing from donors and parents with children conceived using donated sperm, ten players had changed their mind and expressed a willingness to become donors.

'The event gave us a chance to show the boys in real terms what it's like to be a sperm donor, and ultimately what your donation can achieve - namely giving someone a family which otherwise wouldn't happen', said Joanne Adams, Senior Andrologist at Manchester Fertility Services. She added: 'Many of them had completely got their facts wrong about being a sperm donor, thinking that they were financially responsible for any resulting children, or that they would actually be paid for donating sperm'.

Laura Witjens, Chair of the NGDT, said: 'It's really reassuring to see lads in this age group considering becoming sperm donors. Many men this age don't give it a second thought, so the fact that they are now thinking about it is really positive'. Five hundred sperm donors are needed every year in the UK to meet the needs of couples seeking donor insemination. Although the total number of new registered donors has risen slightly, this has been countervailed by a decreasing willingness to donate sperm to banks for use by multiple families, resulting in a worsening shortage overall.

Manchester Fertility Services (MFS)
November 2010 | 
National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT)
November 2010 | 
Sperm donor drive kicks off at Mayfield
Rochdale Online |  23 November 2010
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31 August 2010 - by Rose Palmer 
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21 June 2010 - by Professor Vardit Ravitsky 
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14 June 2010 - by Professor Eric Blyth 
Unlike either oocyte or embryo donation, sperm donation presents a massive PR problem - masturbation. At least since Onan came to a sticky end, masturbation (aka 'self-abuse') has both suffered censure and has provided a fertile source for low-grade humour....
26 April 2010 - by Ben Jones and Dr Vivienne Raper 
Should egg and sperm donors be rewarded with souvenir mugs and T-shirts? An independent think tank has launched a consultation to consider this and other radical ideas for increasing donations...
12 April 2010 - by London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre 
The regulations governing the reimbursement of donors and the withdrawal of donor anonymity in the UK have combined to ensure that there are insufficient egg donors to meet requirements...
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