A surge in sperm donor applicants has been reported by north-east health chiefs – thanks, in part, to the Press and Journal.
At the beginning of last month, we reported that NHS Grampian had launched a fresh drive to recruit male donors, because stocks in the region’s only centre were being rapidly depleted.
It was understood there had been little or no improvement since it emerged in a 2013 freedom of information request that only two men regularly attended the Aberdeen Fertility Centre, based at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
However, since the article appeared, more than 40 men have joined the initiative.
Hazel McBain, donor programme co-ordinator at Aberdeen Fertility Centre, said: “We’ve had a good level of extra interest and we are really grateful to the Press and Journal for helping raise awareness and to the readers who have come forward so far.
“Every year, we see a decline in the number of donors, so we really hope campaigns like this will help stop that trend.
“We’ve had around 40 potential donors contact us recently which is simply fantastic and will be welcome news for couple hoping to conceive.”
NHS chiefs are offering healthy men between 18 and 41 up to £350 for donations.
In November 2013, the Press and Journal reported that couples were facing delays of up to two years to start fertility treatment because of the ongoing lack of sperm and egg donors in the Aberdeen area.
It is thought much of the downturn in numbers was due to a controversial change in the law in 2005 which stripped men of their anonymity after a child turns 18.
The law means children conceived using donor eggs or sperm will be able to trace their biological parent if they choose to.
Ms McBain added that not everyone would be a successful applicant.
She said: “We are bound by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority regulations, so not everyone will meet the criteria.
“That means we still really need men who are considering donating to come forward.
“You can become a real hero by donating – you are literally giving the gift of life. If you are unsure, have questions or want to have an informal chat about it, I would strongly encourage you to give us a ring at the Aberdeen Fertility Centre on 01224 553582.”