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.