A shortage of sperm donors, how can that be?

Not to be indelicate, but 99.99999% of human sperm is wasted.  How hard is it to get some?

Fertility experts say women are waiting for months if not years for donor sperm as a shortage intensifies.

And they say if the government does not make a decision soon on foreign imports of donor sperm, they will make their own decisions.

A 38-year-old Aucklander RNZ has agreed to call Melissa is over the moon about her rambunctious, loud little Māori boy.

Melissa, who’s part Māori, began trying to have a child at age 27 with her female partner through donor sperm, but faced endless difficulties.

These included two miscarriages and commitments by potential donors who later changed their minds.

[…] Then, a fertility clinic aware of her deep desire to have a Māori child matched her up with the only Māori sperm donor they had.

Now, at home now with her 15-month-old, she still can not believe her luck.

“This is almost a miracle situation, you know. This is so uncommon … to find the Māori donor, even more uncommon to find a donor that is willing to have contact prior to the child turning 18.”

Sperm donors must not receive payment and must agree to be identifiable to their offspring when the child turns 18.

It’s a remarkable sign of the times that the tried and true method of getting pregnant is so beyond people.  I mean… I want to be a lesbian and a mother… so…   

Richard Fisher of Fertility Associates said the situation was getting worse.

“Even in the days when we had relatively low demand [for sperm donors] we could never keep up with that demand, and now there is an increasing demand, particularly because that is coming from single women and lesbian couples, it’s becoming even more difficult.”

Both specialists said New Zealand donors were the best because children then had the best chance of contacting their fathers when they turn 18.

The Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) told the government last year foreign sperm and eggs should be allowed into New Zealand under the same rules that apply to local donors.

Dr Gudex said it must be considered, and urgently, but overseas donors were also not ideal because they were more more difficult to track down as the years went by.

“And so that’s not the first choice, that’s not the preference. So I think whatever we can do to raise awareness is really important.”

He said if the government took much longer, clinics would make their own decisions.

“The clinics have been hesitant because we like to be responsible and we like to err on the side of complying with the legislation, but yeah if we have no other choice then we’ll obviously get careful legal advice.

There is something in me that thinks it’s great that a woman wants to have children and love them deeply and guide them on their way to a full, happy and productive life.

But there is something else in me that wonders why someone who is single or lesbian wants to have all that without the most natural act of the world being involved in the process.

If you are lesbian and you aren’t going to take one for the team, or if you are single and you aren’t going to want to be in a relationship to have a child… haven’t you just disqualified yourself from nature itself?




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  • pisces8284

    Let me introduce them to my ex son in law. You only have to look at him to get pregnant

  • oldmanNZ

    Imagine 19 years later, you get a bunch of kids turning up your doorstep… Calling you dad…
    Would anyone want that much luggage.

  • jimknowsall

    Turning to foreign donors is not the answer. Looking at the reasons why men are reluctant to donate would be far more instructive. Let’s start with the prohibition of donating anonymously and the fear of being on the hook financially.

    • MarcWills

      A law change makes anonymous donation illegal, and potentially future strife and/or financial worries … now down the track complaints about a shortage of donors. Hello – can you join the dots?

      Do overseas donors have the same requirements, or are they exempt from future consequences.

      • jimknowsall

        Probably, but if you donate from a foreign country you are unlikely to be tracked down, an ongoing relationship isn’t going to happen, and you can’t be compelled to cough up money. In many ways, it would be like importing a manufactured product from another country subject to fewer rules and regulation than the domestic version. i.e. unfair competition.

  • Asian_driver

    If old “Fingers Fayhey” was still in business there probably wouldnt be such a crisis.

  • kayaker

    So what would you say to an infertile couple who want to be parents? Or where one or other of them is unable to reproduce?

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      Get a pet.

  • The Accountant

    No shortage of donors at the pub on a Friday/Saturday night?

    • jimknowsall

      Indeed. I mean sure, it’s less than ideal, but if these women really are desperate for sperm, then you’d think it would be quite easy to get a donation outside of the regulated arena.

    • Digger

      It’s a fine line, getting drunk enough to make her attractive enough without getting brewers droop. I’m assuming that pretty girls can exercise more choice over the matter.

  • BruceM

    If a single woman uses a sperm donor and fertility treatment to have a child is she eligible for the DPB?

    • phronesis

      Not only is she eligible for the DPB but the taxpayer pays for the fertility treatment as well.

  • rantykiwi

    How about a rethink on this – there’s plenty of newborn babies who should be taken away from their parents and put up for adoption. I’m sure many of these donor seeking women would be happy to adopt instead.

    • JLS

      In conjunction stop paying the women to breed via the dpb, and go back to closed (read non interference) adoptions. Lots of infertile but loving families and otherwise disadvantaged kids were so grateful for that system in the past.

      • rantykiwi

        Totally agree with you – I’m a product of that system and growing up it worked well. As an older and wiser RK I still believe it’s the best possible way, especially with all the sensible legal bits that went with it – in the eyes of the law my adoptive parents are my only parents, right down to giving me the right to a British passport.

        • Duchess of Pork

          I also am a product of that system and although this post is not the place to debate the issue I am of the opposite viewpoint. For me and for countless other people in the adoption triangle (adoptees, the adoptees parents and birth mothers) that I have meet it has caused a lifetime of grief and incalculable emotional damage.

          • Nige.

            Really? How so? What would your alternative have been?

            If you wish to reply by all means have the discussion here.

            If you want to.

          • Duchess of Pork

            Probably best summed up by the phrase attachment, bonding and trust issues. Manifested by excessive feelings of guilt and shame and a tendency to reject the external world in order to reduce the fear of rejection. Testing out behaviour is one response to the fear of a second abandonment; the other is a tendency to acquiescence, withdrawal and compliance. There is often a gender divide associated with the response.

            There are known social issues; adoptees are greatly over-represented in pychotherapy and the prison system; suffer academic and social difficulties and may be prone to risky sexual behaviour.

            All very generalised of course and none of the above should be taken as a slight against adoptive parents. I have met many adoptees who have had wonderful childhoods and my own was loving and very stable. But it was not able to provide the sense of identity which forms the foundational sense of self.

            The alternative is the open adoption system which has been in place for 20-30 years and IMO is far preferable insofar as the birth mother and wider birth family can be part of the child’s life, thus avoiding the secrecy and hushed tones which always accompany the closed system.

          • kiwisnab

            I read your post with interest as my older sibling was adopted out as my parents were playing “mums and dads” before they were meant to. In the discussion above you referred to the birth mother twice, no reference to the birth father.

          • Duchess of Pork

            I referenced birth mother once. Wider birth family can include fathers. But the primary issue of abandonment which lies at the heart of the emotional trauma suffered by adoptees is foremost an issue of mother-child bonding. When asked in research studies “For which parent would you search if you had to make a choice?” the majority invariably answer “My mother.”

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      I’m not so sure that they would be happy with adoption and therein lies some of the problem. They want THEIR baby.
      OK I admit I’ve never wanted children so have no understanding of this huge pull to have one but that said my theory is if you can’t have one then you can’t have one.
      Also don’t wait until you are past your ‘best years’ to start trying.

  • Jimmie

    Sounds like a potential business opportunity for some enterprising lad. All you need is an office, an attached bedroom, and a telephone.

    Hang out your shingle as a stud sire and work out an appropriate fee – perhaps $500+gst per service with a 20% discount for 3 or more ‘natural’ inseminations.

    You would also keep a list of names for referrals for those clients who desire a different ethnicity etc.

  • phronesis

    Obviously if you’re down at the pub you can choose to try and shag anyone you like for whatever reason. Things are always much more complicated when medicine and regulations are involved and I find it interesting that you can specify the ethnicity of your sperm donor. I suspect most people probably want someone the same as them.

    Fair enough, but is there some sort of exception to all this anti-discrimination nonsense that makes this sort of discrimination legal? Can’t imagine you would get far if you tried to specify the race of your blood donor or organ donor.

  • Usaywot

    It’s about time doctors told women the truth and that is that the ideal time to have babies is in your twenties, early 30s. After that there is a sharp drop in fertility. Women today are so tied up in their own lives they are leaving it too late. I know they need to get a house etc, etc, but do they really need annual overseas trips and cafe lunches and so on. I can’t for the life of me see why the tax payer has to fund their fertility treatment because they’ve been having too much fun. I have the deepest sympathy for genuine cases of infertility, nevertheless. Isn’t getting frisky with someone purely for their sperm just prostitution?

  • BigNose

    More entitleism. Why it should be easy for anyone to have a baby is beyond me. I would pass a law that anyone getting pregnant by artificial means forfeits the right to benefits.

  • Anthony

    A third are single woman, put those down to Darwin

  • AF

    Speaking from experience there is absolutely no upside for the donor, only the potential for downsides. Some might say the downsides are the expectation of financial support, allegations of rape, lack of anonymity, a requirement to undergo medical testing etc etc etc. And for what? Being a cynic, to line the pockets of the service providers?

    From a practical perspective, there is no priority given to donors when presenting at the clinic and there is minimal effort to ‘assist’ with the process – it could be much more than what is currently on offer. It could be a fun experience with no strings attached – heck even under such a scenario I would probably have foregone the travel reimbursement! Instead you get a 10 year old penthouse and a couch. No thanks. It all got too hard (no pun intended) and too inconvenient so, metaphorically speaking, I withdrew from the programme. Despite the noble intention to enrol and to help heterosexual Caucasian couples, after a while I genuinely couldn’t be bothered.

    In hindsight, maybe the clinic couldn’t be bothered with me because I didn’t tick all the supposedly ‘socially acceptable’ diversity boxes. If I disagree with some peoples lifestyle choices, then why inconvenience myself to help them when I get nothing from it? It’s very simple.

    People pay huge amounts of money to undergo this treatment (and it sounds like there is Government funding available too?), and yet there is no funding for the male half that is a biological requirement? That defies logic. We won’t pay local donors but we will incur a higher expense to use overseas donors? That doesn’t make sense. Donors cannot choose to be anonymous? That doesn’t make sense.

    All in all it’s not surprising men are keeping their hands in their pockets and their zips done up. Someone posted a link earlier to the lack of incentives – I agree with that 100%. No incentives means no donation.

    If there is an issue with donation supply, then the policy makers have not yet asked the correct questions in understanding why that is so. If they asked the right questions, and correctly defined the issue, then the answer will present itself.

  • KGB

    The question begs asking…
    Why did the donor have to be Maori?
    Healthy sperm and healthy baby is all that should have mattered to a women desperate for a child.

  • Digger

    I want my cake and eat it too…

  • Grizz30

    On one hand it would be nice to help. However the realities are that you do not want some stranger turning up on your doorstep crying “Daddy” as soon as you open the door.

  • Rick H

    I was also going to add that the biggest reason nobody with a brain would donate sperm, who knows what law changes in years to come where the donor is forced to pay “liable parent extortion”. – -But I see the knowitall – -LOL has beaten me to it.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    Secondly, the term “marriage” actually means “joining together” – and in its context, is singularly meant for procreation.

    Same sexers – – -male or Female – -there is a reason they can’t naturally have kids.