Government puts out call for sperm donors

The Government is planning a PR campaign to encourage egg and sperm donors ahead of legislation that allows people conceived artificially the right to identify their biological parents.

The law comes into effect on 1 April and the Department of Health (DoH) has predicted a slump in donors as a result, exacerbating the national shortage.

It has hired Fishburn Hedges to manage the offensive from the end of January to the end of March.

DoH policy manager Gwen Skinner said: ‘Gamete donation, particularly sperm donation, has a sleazy connotation for some people but actually it is incredibly helpful and the issue is not a joke.’

There is a five-year waiting list for national health IVF treatment, according to the DoH. The media relations-based effort will target people from all socio-economic backgrounds, particularly the ‘ideal’ donor groups of men aged 28 to 45 and women aged 28 to 35.

It will promote case studies of couples that have been successfully treated with IVF using donated eggs or sperm. FH director Victoria Tate said the biggest reason people donate is altruism and that case studies would generate empathy.

Skinner said: ‘There are currently 8,000 people treated with donated gametes [in the UK] every year and from this treatment around 2,000 children are born.

‘The DoH already requires double the amount of donors it has, so we need as many donors as possible.’

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