Public debate: BANKING CRISIS: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THE SPERM DONOR SHORTAGE?

A debate organised by the Progress Educational Trust and the Royal Society of Medicine

Supported by the British Fertility Society Educational Charity Limited

6.30pm-8.30pm, Thursday 25 June 2009

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

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.

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

ALLAN PACEY

Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield

LAURA WITJENS

Chair of the National Gamete Donation Trust

Followed by questions from the floor

Map

This event is FREE to attend, but advance booking is required. If you should like to attend, please RSVP to sstarr@progress.org.uk

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