National sperm bank gains just nine donors in a year

New advertising campaign hopes to increase donor numbers

Why Aren't British Men Donating Sperm?

Only nine men have registered as sperm donors with the UK's National Sperm Bank since it opened last year.

The dearth in donors could be down to a change in the law in 2005 which removed donor anonymity, giving children born after that year the right to face their biological fathers.

The sperm bank, based at Birmingham Women's Hospital, is now set to combat the shortage with an advertising campaign later this month aimed at tapping into the male ego.

It will use a "superman" promotional theme as donors need to have strong sperm in order for it to survive the freezing and thawing process. The campaign is inspired by Denmark's booming donor trade.

The centre's chief executive, Laura Witjens, said it could take around five years before the centre has enough donors, but she that a change of tack when it comes to advertising could fast track that.

"If I advertised saying 'Men, prove your worth, show me how good you are', then I would get hundreds of donors.

"That's the way the Danish do it. They proudly say, this is the Viking invasion, exports from Denmark are beer, lego and sperm. It's a source of pride."

Small number of men pass screening process

Witjens said of the hundreds of men who might enquire about donating only a small number make it through screenings and become a registered donor.

She said: "If 100 guys enquire, 10 will come through for screenings and maybe one becomes a donor. It takes hundreds of guys."

The independent sperm bank is a collaboration between the National Gamete Donation Trust and the women's hospital and received a £77,000 grant from the Department of Health for its first year. It will now be funded independently, reports The Huffington Post.

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