A deeply frustrating day involving two non-working printers and hours spent on the Epson chat line and then with Amazon customer services. Actually, both support systems eventually worked well and we have yet another printer winging it’s way to us, but in the meantime the DCN office is without the ability to print anything out. Perhaps the time to move to electronic Welcome Packs for new members, although Nina and I are reluctant to stop sending something tangible to people as they join the organisation.
Has the UK system of recruiting donors anything to learn from the free sperm donation websites? Seems like a no-brainer. Recipients put themselves at risk from disease, let alone exposure to sleazy types looking for NI (natural insemination or sex to the uninitiated) or supposed samples arriving that contain more spit than sperm. Then there are the issues about who is or isn’t a legal parent and the amount of contact a donor might or might not have with a child. It’s a minefield. BUT these sites seem to have loads of men lining up to donate, and not all of them looking for without-strings sex. There is even a site that seems to promote the interests of children, does not allow shipping of sperm because of above mentioned problems, and says that donors looking for NI are not welcome. Is there something that the UK regulatory system could learn here? One of the only positive outcomes from the depressing meeting last week was that the HFEA’s Juliet Tizard and her team declared that they were open and interested in talking to the people who run these sites to see if they could learn anything from them…towards removing barriers that our current system seems to place on men signing up for clinic donations. Certainly more money does not come into the equation as most men on the unregulated sites donate for nothing or just expenses anyway. Walter and I have always thought that the future of sperm and probably egg donation would be in not-for-profit agencies bringing together donors and recipients for mutual non-remunerated benefit, with medics being involved only where necessary. I don’t think upping the money available bring this day any closer at all…and on this topic, I promise this is my very last word. Read Walter’s devastating Commentary for Bio News today –