British women trying to conceive must purchase sperm samples from overseas, experts warned today.
Three quarters of the donated sperm used in UK fertility clinics is shipped from overseas, such as the US and Poland.
Health leaders fear that the nationwide shortage of donors may also force women to purchase samples from rogue online banks.
It could leave women at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to the fertility charity Progress Educational Trust.
The body now wants to see a recruiting campaign to get men in England to donate sperm to the NHS.
His survey of over 2,000 adults found that 53% of men are willing to donate sperm.
A new report warns that UK sperm shortage is putting women at risk by operators with less stringent controls than UK fertility clinics
World’s first IVF baby calls for an end to NHS fertility assistance “postcode lottery”
The world’s first IVF baby has called for an end to the NHS fertility assistance “postcode lottery”.
Louise Brown, born in 1978, said it must be “devastating” for people to be told they cannot access funded IVF treatment.
This is a new survey for the Progress Educational Trust (PET) charity, which found that 67% of British adults support the provision of NHS-funded fertility care to people who are infertile and wish to conceive.
Commenting on the survey, Ms. Brown said, “It’s time to end the postcode lottery for fertility treatment.
“For people who don’t have a lot of money and desperately want a baby, being told, ‘We’re not going to fund your IVF treatment’ must be devastating.”
National guidelines in England recommended that women under 40 be offered three full courses of IVF and women between the ages of 40 and 42 one course.
But previous analyzes suggest that women are offered different amounts of fertility treatment depending on where they live.
In some locations, prospective parents are offered three fully funded cycles – worth thousands of pounds – but in other regions, people are forced to pay for treatment out of their own pocket.
“The Fertility Services Commission needs to catch up with public opinion,” added Sarah Norcross, director of PET.
‘The results of these polls send a strong message to the government, NHS England and the bodies charged with taking action.
“The postcode lottery approach is unfair and unjustifiable and we hope the government’s upcoming women’s health strategy will address this problem.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care added: “We recognize this is a major issue for anyone having difficulty having children and we are clear that patients should have fair and equal access to NHS fertility treatment. where and when they need it.
A spokesperson for NHS England said: “Ultimately, these are legal decisions for individual GCCs (clinical commissioning groups), who have an obligation to balance the various conflicting demands on the NHS locally, while living within the budget allocated by parliament “.
Sarah Norcross, director of PET, said: “We need to act so that the will of men to donate is not wasted.”
Sperm donation is used to help people start a family when they cannot have children of their own naturally – if, for example, a male partner is infertile, both parents are women, or the mother is single.
In the UK, sperm donation is regulated by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
Under these rules, all donors are screened for sexually transmitted diseases and hereditary medical conditions, such as debilitating asthma, clubfoot, and hemophilia.
But not all foreign clinics offer the same screening standards.
Clinics in the UK are not allowed to pay men to donate sperm, except up to £ 35 to cover expenses such as travel.
Anonymity is also not guaranteed, with children conceived through donated sperm gaining the right to know their father’s identity when they turn 18.
British couples can import sperm into the UK through any licensed fertility clinic at a cost of nearly £ 950 per dose.
According to statistics, around 3,000 samples come from Denmark and 4,000 from the United States every year.
Another option is online websites, where people can arrange a donation privately, but the HFEA warns that there are “very real risks and consequences” to getting sperm this way.
Donating sperm online is technically legal, as long as women are not charged for the service.
Users of such sites also claimed that the men tried to lobby or mislead them by having unprotected sex or by sending them inappropriate pictures.
Professor Allan Pacey, a sperm expert at the University of Sheffield, said that while importing sperm into the UK was perfectly safe and legal, reliance on foreign donors indicated problems with the British system.
“It suggests that the UK has a structural problem in its donor recruitment infrastructure, as so many men in this survey would consider donating sperm but don’t seem to do so,” he told the Times.
Clare Ettinghausen, strategy director of the HFEA, said egg or sperm donation was a selfless action, but it should be carefully considered.
“Patients should always use an HFEA licensed clinic when using sperm donors to ensure that all medical and other checks are done and proper consents are taken,” he said.
The NHS states: “By becoming a sperm donor, you could truly give the gift of life to those who would otherwise not be able to have children.”
It comes after a major donor website was posted to warn women against turning to strangers on social media in an attempt to conceive.
Pride Angel – which connects couples, lesbians and single women with donors – has seen the number of men offering services double in less than five years.
An online sperm donor, Simon Watson, claims to have fathered more than 800 children, including 18 pairs of twins.
He even offered to pass his samples to women in supermarket parking lots.