Britain is facing a 'major sperm shortage'

Some clinics in the UK are relying on imported sperm to meet demands

Britain is facing a ‘major’ sperm shortage with some clinics relying on imported sperm to meet demands, the British Fertility Society (BFS) has warned.

The deficit in sperm donations could tempt clinics into accepting lower quality sperm in order to "get donors through the door", the BFS chairman, Dr Allan Pacey said.

Dr Pacey told the BBC he was concerned women could be subjected to more invasive procedures if lower quality sperm is used, citing possible examples of sperm being accepted that would be suitable only for injecting into an egg, known as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection.

"That is putting the woman through more procedures, in terms of eggs being collected, than would be done if sperm of higher quality was collected and she could be treated with a simple insemination,” he explained.

"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."

The decline in the number of sperm donors is thought to be attributed to the removal of the right to anonymity in 2005. One in four donated sperm samples are now from abroad – a sharp increase from one in ten in 2005, according to figures from the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

According to Dr Pacey, this limits patient choice and increases waiting times, which in turn could increase the chances of risky practices such as DIY insemination from an unregistered donor.

Dr Pacey added: "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."

A HFEA spokesperson said: "We expect our clinics to use only donor sperm of a quality that will ensure the best outcome for the patient, and under our code of practice clinics are required to fully inform patients of the different treatment options available to them."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue