ACT News


Shortage of sperm donors

ABOUT 80 per cent of donated sperm used by singles, lesbian couples and other childless women in Canberra is flown in from overseas, mostly the United States.

According to fertility industry experts, sperm donations in Canberra are nowhere near keeping up with demand.

Canberra Fertility Centre's scientific director Chris Copeland said traditional advertising strategies to attract donors, such as notices in doctors' surgeries, have not worked, and he is about to turn to social media.

''I have been looking seriously at Facebook,'' Dr Copeland said.

Canberrans aged 21 to 43 have posted requests for sperm on Sperm Donors Australia's website with some looking for donors willing to co-parent.

Others stipulated ''no donor contact with the child'' and another asked for a gay donor.


One heterosexual couple wrote: ''We have a shortage of sperm in our baby making instruments.''

One woman wrote: ''This is our second marriage and due to a vasectomy my husband has no 'quality' sperm. We need a sperm!''

Numerous responses can be read on the site, including one who says, ''I am a 19-year-old male living in Canberra. I currently attend university. I play chess and am in relatively good shape.''

Another response to a Canberra lesbian couple read: ''I'm a fit, good-looking guy, studying a degree in astrophysics. I'm logically minded and get along well with everyone. I work hens' parties part-time and am naturally charismatic.''

One of the lesbian couples was seeking sperm for a home insemination.

Dr Copeland, who deals with about 100 clients a year, advised against home inseminations because it often wasted sperm.

Under Australian law it is illegal to pay a donor for sperm, and the man who makes the deposit must be identifiable. This does not necessarily mean the man must be known.