There has been a sharp decline in the number of men who volunteer for sperm donation since 2000 according to researchers at the Newcastle Fertility Centre. The observation could be because of lack of motivation among students to do so.
Sperm bank is a facility that collects freezes and stores semen sample for purposes of artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization or for research.
The researchers believe that the fall is almost certainly linked to scrapping the right of donors to remain anonymous. The results have highlighted the need to attract more volunteers, particularly among older men who may have partners.
The research team examined details of potential donors between 1994 and 2003. Nearly nine out of 10 were aged under 36, more than half were students without a partner, 85% were unmarried and over three-quarters had no children.
Out of the donors examined, nearly two thirds were rejected because of their poor quality sperm. Surprisingly, at the end of the study, only 3.63% were accepted as suitable donors. In 2003, there were just 25 potential donors when compared to 175 in 1993.
The establishment of donor standards for quality control was responsible for changing mindsets of donors regarding the acceptability. The numbers of acceptable donors is likely to be further decreased by new rules on the handling and use of human tissues.
The demand for sperm donation on the other hand is only expected to increase owing to a compromise in the sperm quality, particularly in the general UK population. With laws making it mandatory to consider only donors willing to be identified, strategies to target older men in established relationships has to be developed.
Increasing public knowledge regarding the need for sperm donation seems a sensible approach rather than emphasizing on the financial aspect.