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Posts Tagged ‘fertility’

The dilemna of sperm donation

A big problem sperm donation has in the UK is the 2005 changes to rules about anonymity. These are that any child created through donated sperm has the right on their 18th birthday to learn the name of the donor. Naturally this has led to a fall in donations as most donors don’t want the risk that in 18 years time dozons of their biological offspring will arrive a-knocking at the door.

These changes also apply to egg and embryo donors.

There’s been lots of discussion on the radio about IVF and a recurring theme is the difficulty of getting your hands on quality sperm/eggs. Most UK couples it seems choose to go to Europe to get IVF.  The current favourite is Spain. The waiting times are shorter than the NHS and the price is cheaper. Also, because Spain pays people for donating they have ample supplies of sperm and eggs.

In the UK the idea the NHS had to cover the shortage of donations was to offer a discount in the price of IVF treatment if women donated eggs. That’s right – eggs from people having fertility problems. Is it any wonder the chance of successful impregnation is so low in the UK, compared to say Spain?

Personally I think the ‘Gathering Sperm Trust’ (or whatever they’re called) should use this cartoon from Dinosaur comics in their advertising material.

The fertility watchdog has recommended that women should be offered payment for donation of their eggs as the most effective way of ending that shortage. In America payment is offered for both sperm and egg donation.

Personally I think I would be unlikely to donate my eggs unless I was offered a substantial payment (this is what critics are worried off, that people like me would risk their health purely for finacial gain, to pay for university etc). It is quite a big needle – right into the ovaries! And I also don’t really like the idea that my genetic material would be just wandering around somewhere. I believe reproduction comes with a great deal of responsibility. Also I am a big advocate of ADOPTION! I have little sympathy for couples who spend thousands upon thousands on IVF instead of adopting.

At a push I might donate an egg (or a syringe full) to someone I actually knew. But I’d have to like them a lot.

It’s a thorny issue. Should the rules be changed back to total anonymity for donors? I feel that would be one of the most effective ways of getting more donations. But when it comes to it there’s still the bigger issue of how much help a couple should be given in creating a baby from scratch.

(sperm and eggs are also used for various experimentations, not even creating babies. Is that more controversial? I don’t think so)

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