Department of Health seeks help for donor brief

The Department of Health has called for comms help to battle against a national shortage in sperm and egg donors.

Expectant: A pregnant woman who has had fertility treatment
Expectant: A pregnant woman who has had fertility treatment

A tender worth up to £320,000 is up for grabs as the DH looks to combine key services for donors and spread awareness of its work.

A document seen by PRWeek reveals that efforts are under way to help those seeking infertility treatments by working ‘with media, social networking and other relevant parties to raise public awareness of the shortage of sperm, eggs and embryos’.

The brief comes as the National Gamete Donation Trust – a gamete being a term for a sperm or egg – and a voluntary contact register for donor-conceived people and their donors are brought together under one service. 

The UK is suffering from a long-term shortage of egg and sperm donors, following changes in British law in 2005 that meant sperm donors could be traced by their offspring.

This autumn, UK fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority launched a drive to remove taboos around donation. It will now be followed by the DH’s bid for assistance in both promoting the new set-up and running the register, which lists those involved with sperm or egg donation before 1991.

Included in the brief, which will run until at least March 2014, is work with the traditional press, as well as social media ‘in an effort to alleviate and ultimately eradicate’ the current shortage.

The successful agency will also liaise with clinics, professionals and professional bodies to improve the donor experience.
A DH spokesman said the process was closed to new agency approaches, adding: ‘We are working with various partners to look at how we can bring together egg and sperm donation services.

‘This will include a programme of raising awareness of donation. A decision will be made once all bids have been considered.’

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