Donors shy away from sperm banks

THE SUPPLY of donated sperm for infertile couples has been severely reduced by new regulations which require donors to lodge their names in a confidential register.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is to send a leaflet to family doctors and fertility units aimed at informing and encouraging men and women to consider sperm and egg donation.

The authority wants to move away from the image of medical students donating sperm to pay for books, beer or rent.

Data collected by the authority shows, for the first time, about 20,000 attempts at donor insemination are taking place each year, resulting in about 2,000 babies.

The confidentiality laws, introduced in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, which regulates fertility clinics and embryo research, have scared off some donors - needlessly says the authority. Disclosure of the confidential information could attract a two-year prison sentence.

The effect has been less choice of 'father' for couples seeking donated sperm and even greater difficulties for infertile couples from ethnic minorities who can have particular racial, or religious requirements.

The authority - set up under the Act - has proposed that there should be a limit of pounds 15 'expenses' for each sperm donation. The regulations stipulate that one donor should not father more than 10 children. In addition, donors must provide blood for testing at the time of the donation and six months afterwards to be certain that the donation is free of HIV infection.

The authority has a legal obligation to tell 'children' - who ask - if they have been born as a result of donated eggs or sperm, in order to check if couples contemplating marriage are blood related.

The package of regulations means a 'more committed and altruistic' approach from donors, says Hugh Whittall, spokesman for the authority. 'What our leaflet will seek to do is to make access to the right kind of information easier for men who may be interested.' he said.

'There has always been a difficulty in getting the right kind of donor and the new law has added to existing problems. Masturbating into a pot has always been a slightly embarrassing affair. People in the clinic know what the man has just done,' he said.

The authority is now looking for older men in established relationships who discuss the idea with wives or partners first.

Peter Bromwich, director of Midland Fertility Services, near Sutton Coldfield, said they had lost all but one of their 20 donors when the names had to be recorded. 'We tried to reassure them, but they still took the view that the law could be changed in the future. One man carried on for a little while, but then his wife became concerned about future confidentiality.

'There are special problems for our ethnic minority patients. We have promised a Hindu couple we will not use Muslim semen, and there is a Chinese lady who is registered at many British clinics and who has even been to Singapore in search of Chinese semen,' he said.

Peter Brinsden, director of Bourn Hall Clinic, near Cambridge, said the loss of supply had not been as great as had been feared. 'The availability of a broad range of donors has reduced, but I believe the effect has been to improve the type of donor coming forward.

'We would prefer the donor to be a man in his early thirties with proven fertility in a happy relationship. I am not so happy about the medical student producing donations for pounds 10 or pounds 12 a time. We should be encouraging donors with the right motive - to help infertile couples,' he said.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
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

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:TEACHERS REQUIREDWe are...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistant ...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is urgently recruiting...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?