Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_93117

Woman looking to make a baby seeks ideal sperm sample

8 August 2011
Appeared in BioNews 619

The London Sperm Bank (LSB) is to launch an online 'dating agency-style' catalogue listing the appearance, physique and personalities of its sperm donors.

The catalogue, being compiled for fertility patients seeking sperm donors, will include written statements from each donor on his reasons for donating, as well as staff assessments of the donor's personal characteristics. For example, one donor is described by the clinic as 'very individualistic, quirky and artistic in nature'. 'He has a unique 'rock star image' in terms of appearance but not at all in lifestyle or confidence', it says.

'Women can access the catalogue from home and make their choices online', said Dr Kamal Ahuja, Scientific and Managing Director of the London Women's Clinic, which is associated with the LSB.

Since April 2005, UK donors must provide identifying information about themselves, as well as information regarding their physical description, including height, weight, eye and hair colour. The information is collected by the clinic and passed on to the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Only donor-children conceived as a result of assisted conception by a UK fertility clinic have the right to request the donor's identifying information once they reach 18-years-old. Successful recipients of donor-gametes may also apply for non-identifying information about the donor.

The new catalogue is likely to provide a greater level of detail in staff assessments and written statements from donors, as well as possible details such as physical traits, hobbies, and occupation. Some clinics already provide basic information about donors to would-be patients, but they are not required to do so by law. Clinics must not provide identifying information about the donor, however.

Dr Ahuja argues that 'it would be far better to improve the image of sperm donation so that men enjoy the same respect as blood donors'. According to research by the LSB, most men now donate for altruistic reasons and also empathise with a child's right to know their biological father.

It also comes at a time when the UK is short of sperm donors. Even though the latest figures reveal that the number of new donor registrations has increased from 251 in 2005 to 396 in 2008, the number falls short of the estimated 500 new sperm donors needed each year to meet demand. To help overcome this shortage, the HFEA is currently considering how much and what sort of compensation donors can receive for their services.

The catalogue is due to be launched in September this year.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Sperm donation: who's the daddy?
Evening Standard |  2 August 2011
Sperm sample, GSOH, softly spoken, would like to make a baby
Sunday Times |  24 July 2011
Wanted: Sperm donor with a little fashion sense and good sense of humour
Daily Mail |  25 July 2011
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
4 February 2013 - by Michelle Downes 
A DNA test has been developed to see if couples carry the 'ginger gene'...
26 September 2011 - by Luciana Strait 
The world's largest sperm bank, Cryos International, is turning away red-haired men as donors due to a lack of demand for their sperm. Its director, Mr Ole Schou, said the bank has reached its capacity of 70 litres of semen due to a surge in donations in recent years...
22 August 2011 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
UK Donor Link (UKDL) - the voluntary contact register for adults conceived with or who donated sperm or eggs before August 1991 - is threatened with closure...
25 July 2011 - by Kriss Fearon 
Some of the most persuasive advocates for egg and sperm donation are donors. We become donors because we care about others and are proud of our decision to help infertile people build families. But donors' voices are seldom heard and it's too easy to overlook the impact of our experiences on donor recruitment...
11 July 2011 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
A controversial lottery, offering 25,000 worth of IVF treatment as a prize, has been given the go ahead. The Gambling Commission has licensed To Hatch, a UK charity offering fertility advice, to sell tickets to win the fertility treatment in a monthly draw....
31 January 2011 - by Dr Tamara Hirsch 
A recent review paper has emphasised the need for improved provision of fertility information, especially regarding age-associated risks, as the trend for women having children later in life continues....
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in 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.