Banking crisis: What should be done about the sperm donor shortage?

Thursday 25 June 2009

Venue: The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE

A debate organised by the Progress Educational Trust and the Royal Society of Medicine. Supported by the British Fertility Society Educational Charity Limited.

This event runs from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Attendance is free of charge but is ticketed due limited space so you will need to register.

An acute shortage of donor sperm is diminishing the capacity of the UK's public and private health sectors to treat infertility, resulting in growing concern and lengthening waiting lists at clinics. The shortage is widely attributed to the removal, in 2005, of entitlement to donor anonymity. Since then the total number of donors has actually risen slightly, but this has been countervailed by a decreasing willingness to donate sperm to banks for use by multiple families, resulting in a worsening shortage overall.

The experience of countries such as Sweden holds out some hope of a long-term recovery from the shortage, albeit with an increase in the average age of donors. In the meantime, the shortage appears to be boosting 'fertility tourism' abroad and unregulated sperm provision via the internet, as demand for donor sperm outstrips supply.
Proposed solutions to the shortage include:

- Increasing the number of families that an individual is permitted to donate to (above the current UK limit of 10)
- Optimising clinic infrastructure (by organising it as a 'hub and spoke' model)
- Improving donor recruitment and public awareness campaigns
- Increasing 'loss of earnings' compensation to donors (above the current UK limit of £250)
- Explicitly remunerating donors and commodifying donation (rather than adhering to an altruistic model)
- Deregulating the licensed import of donor sperm from overseas
- Reintroducing donor anonymity

This event will see these and other solutions to the donor sperm shortage debated by a panel of experts with contrasting perspectives, followed by questions from the floor.

Speakers include

- Professor Susan Golombok, Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research
- Mark Hamilton, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University of Aberdeen
- Professor Emily Jackson, Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
- Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield
- Laura Witjens, Chair of the National Gamete Donation Trust
- Laurence Shaw, Deputy Medical Director, London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics centre

If you wish to attend please contact Sandy Starr at Progress Educational Trust or +44 (0)20 7278 7870.

Registration Details:

For further details please contact the Coordinator.

Related information


Sandy Starr
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7278 7870

Media Information:
Rosalind Dewar
Tel: +44 (0) 1580 764713
Mobile: +44 (0)7785 182732