Melbourne fertility specialists are sounding the alarm about a shortage of sperm donors and are warning that the problem is set to get worse.
Last month Dr Genia Rozen, a fertility specialist at Melbourne IVF, told Nine News that there has been a significant drop in sperm donations during COVID lockdowns, but demand is higher than ever.
According to Dr Rozen, Melbourne IVF currently had just three potential sperm donor recipients lined up for every donor required.
“The last year or two we’ve had a waiting list, which varies according to some factors, such as type of treatment and desired donor profile,” Rozen said.
Speaking on 3AW radio earlier this year, Clinical Director of the Sunshine Monash IVF Unit, Dr Gareth Weston, described the shortage as “desperate”.
He cited an increase in demand for donor sperm as an increasing numnber of single mothers are making the decision to go it alone.
Dr Weston also said that the state’s legislation can be off-putting to potential donors and is contributing to the shortage.
Currently, donors must be aged 45 or under, and there is strict legislation around identity.
“The names are kept on a central register and the donors are not anonymous strictly, and the donor-conceived children can contact them when they reach 18 years of age,” he said.
There’s also been increased demand since single women have been able to access donor sperm to start a family as a single mother by choice.
In fact, around 3,000 single Australian women are having a baby using donor sperm.
According to the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) single women are the largest group using donor sperm (53 per cent), followed by women in same-sex relationships (34 per cent).