Fertility clinics are to advertise for potential sperm donors in men's toilets for the first time in an attempt to help couples desperate to have children.

The shortage in recruits has forced one clinic in the West Midlands to display posters above public urinals urging men to sign up.

Midland Fertility Services, near Birmingham, is targeting 18- to 45-year-olds with its campaign, which launches this month, through appeals in the gents at Walsall Football Club as well as in fire and ambulance stations.

The clinic says traditional donors, including students, have been deterred by a change in the law abolishing donor anonymity.

Dr Gillian Lockwood, the clinic's medical director, said: "The removal of anonymity has had a direct impact on sperm donation. We want to attract older men who may already have families with quality sperm who are motivated by altruism."