Clinics hunt sperm donors in snooker hall

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The Independent Online
FERTILITY CLINICS in Bristol faced with a decline in sperm donors sensibly decided to target sportsmen as volunteers. Athletic, energetic, they would be the very image of virility.

The clinic's first hunting- ground? Snooker clubs.

The decline in the number of people willing to produce "a gift of life" for Bristol University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine has reached crisis levels, said senior seminologist Joanna Day. The centre is down to its last four donors.

It needs 20 to satisfy demand from the 300 couples a year who seek help to start a family.

"We are approaching crisis point and really need men to help out. We are having to rely on frozen samples given years ago," she said. "As snooker clubs are dominated by men, it seemed a good idea to target them with leaflets." Next to darts, it is perhaps hard to imagine a group less likely to prove a woman's procreative dream. Next to the genetic charms of David Ginola, or Linford Christie, budding "Hurricane" Higginses, complete with fag and whisky chaser, might find demand for their gametes slow. But a spokesman for Riley's Snooker Club in Bristol said: "We have a pile of leaflets going fast. Lots of regular players are laughing, but then they pocket them and take them home. I think it is a fantastic idea."

Ms Day said next on the target list would be rugby, football and tennis players. Sumo wrestling and darts are as yet unmentioned.