Intended for healthcare professionals


Sperm donation in the UK

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 12 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2318
  1. Mark Hamilton, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist1,
  2. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology2
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  2. 2Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2SF
  1. m.hamilton{at}

    Current mechanisms for recruiting sperm donors are insufficient to meet demand

    For some years, providers of assisted conception services in the United Kingdom have highlighted difficulties in maintaining the infrastructure needed to recruit sperm donors. In 2006, the number of donors registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was 60% of that in 1991.1 Controversially, the removal of donor anonymity in 2005 may have contributed to this problem. Currently, many clinics struggle to recruit donors, have long waiting lists for those needing treatment, have high costs, and in some areas have ceased to provide treatment services altogether.2 To propose solutions to this problem, a working party of the British Fertility Society has published a report on how the UK recruits donors and uses their donations in assisted reproduction.1

    The numbers of women using donor sperm in the UK have decreased by 40% since 2000 to around 3000 each year.3 The introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection in the mid-1990s may account for some of this reduction, …

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