Two great articles about sperm donors today in Murdoch papers (at least he’s good for something). The Sun featured the wonderful Mark Jackson and two other men who have donated sperm and are proud of it. Mark is a Trustee of the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) and has done great work in promoting sperm donation as a societal contribution to be proud of. The Times also featured a donor at the London Women’s Clinic. My goodness that clinic is good at PR!
All the men are regular guys who understand the long term implications of donating sperm and are happy to be available to any children/young people who result in the future. The Times journalist speculates if donating sperm has become a way for young men afraid of commitment to a real relationship and parenting, to prove their fertility and spread their genes. It’s an interesting question but I did not get that impression from reading about any of the men featured. All had told their girlfriends/partners about what they were doing and most of the women had come round to supporting the idea, even if they were not very keen at first.
Kamal Ahuja from the London Women’s Clinic was quoted in The Times as saying that they decided that instead of increasing payment, improving the quality of the men they recruited was a better way of increasing the number of donors. Laura Witjens, Chair of the NGDT, has been banging on for years about customer care being the only way of recruiting more and better donors. Seems Kamal was listening, although I think it’s unlikely he would ever acknowledge Laura’s role in changing his mind.
LWC is not the only clinic that is doing well in recruiting sperm donors (although you’d think so from the publicity they manage to generate). Others also recognise that treating donors well and making their set-up donor friendly brings in not only more donors, but men who are thoughtful in their approach and committed to helping create families for infertile couples and others needing help to have longed for children. I wish more clinics would follow in their footsteps but worry that, like egg donation, they are relying on foreign donors to supply the ingredients that are needed for conception. At least it is possible to import sperm from banks in Denmark and the US that have recruited donors willing to comply with UK legislation, but I worry that despite their names being on the HFEA register, these donors will be less likely to be available to children from age 18 onwards. Being recruited by a clinic that cares (even if the bottom line is profit) does make a difference.
Sun article can be found at http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/health/health/3828532/The-tsunami-inspired-me-to-donate-my-sperm.html
Times article appeared in their T2 section. You have to subscribe to get on-line access.