COVID, boredom and the surprise boost to sperm stocks
Boredom during COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in an unexpected boost to the fertility industry.
Brisbane clinics have announced a surge in sperm donations in the past six months, putting an end to waiting lists to access sperm banks.
The latest available data at September 2019 from The Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) shows that there were 2984 sperm donor insemination cycles in 2017.
Dr Simone Campbell, medical director at City Fertility, which also operates Sperm Donors Australia, said their bank of donors nationally had grown to more than 100 donors and they no longer had a patient waiting list for donor sperm.
Locally sourced sperm helps lessens the cost for patients, who otherwise would have to use imported sperm.
The clinic reports donors are made up of students to professionals, mainly between the ages of 25 to 35 years old and from a range of ethnic backgrounds.
"Interestingly, many of the sperm donors have chosen to donate because they personally know someone who has struggled with infertility," said Dr Campbell.
COVID-19 has had an impact on the number inquiries to Sperm Donors Australia with a 30 per cent increase in inquiries for the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
"We have many couples unable to conceive due to having a male fertility issue, being a single woman, or being a same-sex couple and they all need donor sperm to help them conceive," Dr Campbell said.
There has been a lengthy sperm drought in Australia due to the change to anonymity rules.
Donor children can now access donor parent details at 18 years of age. Strict advertising guidelines and no cash incentive have all put up barriers.
Donors undergo a thorough medical assessment. The donated sperm is quarantined for three months before the donor undergoes rigorous medical testing again to ensure the donated sperm meets the highest quality standards.
While in Australia, sperm donors have no legal responsibilities or rights to a child, identifying information about the donor is now registered with the clinic for access, if requested, when the child turns 18. Australia also has restrictions in place to limit the number of families that can be created from a single donor.
Originally published as COVID, boredom and the surprise boost to sperm stocks