For the last six months or so, I’ve been following the progress of the UK’s first national sperm bank for a BBC Radio Four documentary.
Located in Birmingham’s Women’s Hospital, the new bank was founded last year following a grant from the Department of Health and aims to eventually end the reliance on imports of donor sperm from the USA and Denmark.
Recruiting and retaining sperm donors isn’t easy and many clinics here in the UK do suggest that patients use imported sperm as they don’t have the time or resources to set up their own sperm banks. The National Sperm Bank aims to reverse that trend, and hopes that Birmingham will prove itself to be the ideal location.
If you’re interested in hearing the documentary, it will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 22 June at 11am – you can read more about it here and find details here on the BBC website and will be able to listen again there if you miss it.
If you are interested in donating, you can find the National Sperm Bank website here www.veryspecialman.co.uk
Fabulous news from the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) that they have been awarded funding from the Department of Health to set up the UK’s first ever National Sperm Bank in partnership with Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
The National Sperm Bank, to be based at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, with spokes across England, will be offering an NHS based service. There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics. Patient numbers continue to rise and treating those who need donor sperm is a major problem. At present, some patients needing donor sperm are faced with few options and find themselves on waiting lists, having to use unregulated providers or having to stop treatment altogether.
It is hoped that the introduction of the National Sperm Bank will provide safe, equitable and increased access for all. It is also anticipated that it will reduce the number of patients putting themselves at risk by using unregulated sperm donation services. Additionally, it is hoped that for the first time, those from ethnic minority backgrounds will be able to choose from a range of donors. The National Sperm Bank will launch in October 2014.