May 25, 2024


It’s being described as a “crisis” for would-be British mothers: a sperm donor shortage. The lobby group Infertility Network UK is calling for a campaign to recruit more donors. The UK recently abolished donor anonymity, so donors can expect a knock on their door after their biological child turns 18. For most of them, this is not a welcome prospect and as a result, apparently, suppliers have vanished. The Network wants to educate possible donors about the extent of their obligations towards their inconvenient offspring — there are none, either financial or moral, it says.

The shortage follows the change, but even network spokeswoman Susan Seenan was reluctant to pin all of the blame on the new legislation. In fact, the UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, says that it is a “myth” that the change caused the shortage. “What we see is a patchy provision across the country,” says HFEA spokesman John Paul Maytum. “Some areas are struggling but other areas have plenty. We’d like to see clinics in areas where there is a shortage talking to other clinics where there is a good supply.”