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Action urged to boost sperm donors

Leading fertility experts have called for measures including more "sperm sharing" schemes to be set up in a bid to deal with the shortage of UK sperm donors.

In 2005, legislation was introduced in the UK banning anonymous sperm and egg donation, which means that children can now trace their biological parents when they are 18.

Many experts have blamed the move for the overall decline in the number of sperm donors since the 1990s, with fewer women than ever conceiving children using a donor.

Now, a raft of measures have been urged by leading experts in the field to increase the availability of donor sperm.

The number of families that can be created by a single donor is limited to ten, a limit which is "arbitrary and not evidence-based", they said.

Dr Mark Hamilton, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, and Dr Allan Pacey, the society's secretary, called for more sperm sharing schemes to be set up.

Such programmes allow the male partners of women needing fertility treatment to donate sperm in return for cut-price IVF. Similar schemes are already in place for egg-sharing.

The doctors said around 4,000 UK patients needed donor sperm each year, meaning that a minimum of 500 new donors were needed each year to meet demand.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

British Fertility Society