Women are resorting to informal channels
Australian fertility clinics are reporting a “sperm drought”. According to a feature on ABC News, “With travel plans delayed and people having more time on their hands to ponder their future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fertility clinics have reported a surge in demand for their services, while an increasing number of people are also going online to fulfil their baby dreams.”
A number of clinics across the country say that the number of single women and lesbian couples is increasing while the number of sperm donors is decreasing. To the dismay of the clinics, this is driving some women to seek donors through unregulated channels like Facebook. This means that women cannot be sure of the medical history of the donor or whether the sperm is disease-free.
Adam Hooper, who manages the Sperm Donation Australia Facebook page, is trying to give more certainty to women. He is launching a his own baby register to keep a formal record of donors so that they will eventually be able to track down their biological fathers and siblings. “Online donation is continuing to evolve in terms of making it more of a professional experience and we are looking at ways to reinvent ourselves to offer a better experience,” he says.
The state of Victoria plans to set up Australia’s first public gamete bank for sperm and egg donors. It “will proactively recruit donors, store eggs, sperm and embryos and educate the public about the need for donations.”
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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