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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019

The UK has a "major" shortage... of sperm

The fall in donations could make procedures more invasive for women, it has been warned.

Image: Sperm Donations via Shutterstock

BRITISH FERTILITY CLINICS are relying on imported sperm to satisfy demand.

That is the warning from the British Fertility Society (BFS).

However, the BFS chairman, Dr Allan Pacey, told the BBC he was “worried” that some clinics may be setting a lower bar to “get donors through the door”.

He added the quality of the sperm used has a direct impact on the invasiveness of the procedure on the woman.

The UK removed the right to anonymity for donors in 2005, a decision that has been attributed to the fall in donations.

Added to that, the demand for donors has been falling as advances in fertility treatment let more men father their own children.

Figures from the UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), show nearly one in four donated sperm samples are from abroad.

Generally, these samples come from clinics in the US and Denmark.


Larger version here.

Egg donors have risen year-on-year, however.

Pacey said:

“We do still have a major sperm shortage in the UK.

The worry is clinics might decide to change the quality of sperm they are willing to accept in order to get donors through the door and I think that’s a very dangerous road to go down.

“My worry is clinics may be tempted to bend the rules, I have no evidence that they are, but I think when we have a national sperm shortage they’re the kind of things we need to be looking for and warding against.”

Read: Oireachtas committee says children should have a right to know who their biological parents are

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