Assisted Reproduction

U.K.'s Sperm Supply Dries Up Following Anti-Anonymity Rule for Donors

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The Realist

U.K. laws denying anonymity to sperm donors seem to have resulted in a "major sperm shortage," according to the British Fertility Society (BFS). Now some clinics are importing sperm from the U.S. and Denmark to keep up with demand.

The right to anonymity was stripped from British sperm donors in 2005. At the time, only about one tenth of donated sperm samples at U.K. clinics came from abroad. Now, figures from the country's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority show that foreign sperm makes up a quarter of all samples. 

Am I the only one surprised—but a little bit delighted—that an international sperm trade exists? I'm also curious whether American or Danish DNA will prove to be more popular with Brits (bets?). 

In other semen news this week: Women using in-vitro fertilization seem to fare slightly better with older sperm donors (40 and over) than those in their 20s, according to research being presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Tuesday. "Current UK guidelines suggest men should not be accepted as donors over the age of 40," according to The Daily Mail, "but experts say it may be time for a re-think to ease the growing shortage of sperm donors." 

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