Sunday, August 3, 2014

Danish sperm donors and British babies

The Telegraph has the story: Invasion of the Viking babies--With a growing demand for donor fathers, women are turning to Danish sperm banks

"Donors are paid a similar sum in Britain, but clinics can’t recruit enough men to keep up with the growing demand for sperm (the number of women with female partners having donor insemination, for example, rose by 23 per cent between 2010 and 2011). The percentage of new registered donors from overseas has more than doubled in recent years, from 11 to 24 per cent – and around a third of those imports are from Denmark.

“It’s a bit like the Viking invasion of 800AD,” says Dr Allan Pacey, a fertility expert from the University of Sheffield and current chairman of the British Fertility Society. “They’ve invaded us once by boat, and now they’re doing it by sperm.”

"Part of the problem is down to our system, with donor recruitment generally carried out on a small scale in British fertility clinics. On average, just one in every 20 men who applies will be suitable to donate. Men do not only need to have high-quality sperm: they also have to undergo a full range of screening tests for genetically inherited diseases and sexually transmitted infections, and their family medical histories must be assessed. Those deemed suitable will need to commit to regular visits to the clinic, usually during the working day. It’s often easier for a clinic to suggest their clients use a Danish donor, where a specialist sperm bank has the resources to devote to finding the 5 per cent who fit the bill.

"Although some bigger fertility clinics here do have a ready supply of donors, inter-clinic competition means that those who don’t tend to recommend an overseas sperm bank. Olivia Montuschi, of the Donor Conception Network, a charity for those affected by donor conception, told me that patients are not being informed about the clinics that have donors available. “Clinics like to retain their own patients, not share them, and they keep information about donors at other clinics to themselves,” she says.

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