11 March 2011

You've Got Millions, We Only Need One

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IVF Australia

IVFAustralia has launched an advertising campaign to encourage more men to donate sperm to help couples and single women to realise their dream of becoming parents.

Using the tag lines ‘You’ve got millions to spare, we only need one’ and ‘A donation to us won’t save a life; hopefully it will create one’, the online advertisements will appear on popular sports and travel websites and for the first time social media sites such as Facebook from Monday 14 March 2011.

 A/Prof Peter Illingworth Medical Director IVFAustralia, says the decline in donors is very apparent, and the effects can be devastating for couples or women wanting to become parents. All donors in NSW are required to consent to identifying details about themselves being forwarded to the Donor Register kept by the New South Wales Department of Health. These details can be passed on to children resulting from the donation when they reach 18 years of age.

“Between 2005 and 2008, the number of IVF cycles facilitated by donors decreased from 3,356 to 2390.  These are the latest published figures, and anecdotally we believe the numbers have continued to decline since then,” Prof Illingworth explains.

“We are very supportive of the prospective NSW legislation that will ensure that all donor-conceived individuals can, in future, make contact with their donor.  We also support the development of a register to facilitate voluntary contact with past anonymous donors, where the donors involved have given their permission to be identified,” he said.

“However, the NSW government has now sneaked through a change in the law that compels clinics to identify donors who had previously donated under the condition of anonymity regardless of whether the donor has given his permission or not.  These men donated sperm, often many years ago, in an altruistic act to help other people have children.  As was generally accepted at the time, this donation was made under condition of anonymity.  To now compel the clinics to release the identities of these men, without their permission, is a gross invasion of the privacy of these men with potentially traumatic consequences for them and their families,” he said.

In addition to single women and same sex couples, many couples look for sperm donation due to male factor infertility because the man has irreversible failure of sperm production caused by a severe illness or trauma earlier in life.

“For many people, using donated sperm is their only chance of conceiving a child.

In order to help these people, we rely on the good will of men to donate sperm to help others. In Australia donating sperm is an altruistic gift so no payment can occur for the donation, however expenses can be reimbursed,” he said.

It is a legislative requirement that all donors and recipients (and their partners) meet with an approved counsellor to discuss the social, ethical and legal implications of sperm donation.
“The advertisements are aimed at appealing to men’s generosity as a donation can provide a couple or woman with the greatest of gifts – a family of their own.
 “NSW legislation dictates a sperm donor can only help create five families (his own plus 4 others) whereas in Victoria the legislation allows a donor to create 10 families (his own plus 9 others).”

 “We have more than 100 women looking for sperm donors in our clinics in New South Wales, and many have to wait more than six months for that donation.  Every month of waiting can lessen a woman’s chance of falling pregnant as her likelihood of conceiving decreases as she gets older, particularly after the age of 35.  So even waiting six to 12 months can have a huge impact,” he added.

“Last year’s inaugural online ‘sperm donor’ advertising campaign was very successful helping us recruit sperm donors. This year we have broadened the campaign to social media sites and we will be interested to see the results,” said A/Prof Peter Illingworth.

IVFAustralia is hosting a free information evening on Tuesday 29th March 6.30pm Level 1, 33 York Street Sydney – call 1800 111 483 to register. Our medical team will explain our donor programme: the processes and procedures involved including genetic testing, timelines including quarantine periods, counselling and IVF procedures.

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or for further information on becoming a sperm donor call 1800-111-483.

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