Australia's Sperm Donor Drought - How You Can Help


11 October 2021

By Professor Rob McLachlan, Consultant Andrologist at Monash IVF

When it comes to donating, Australians can be a generous lot.

In a bushfire or flood crisis, we’re quick to deep dig and provide financial help.

If the blood bank issues a plea for urgent donations, we rush to roll up our sleeves to save lives.

Many Australians are also willing to donate their organs once their time is up.

But there’s one type of medical donation that continues to be a challenge, and yet it doesn’t attract anywhere near the sort of attention it deserves.

Sperm donation is an act of generosity that can provide life and create much-wanted families.

Without sperm donors, many infertile couples, single women and same sex couples could miss out on their dream of becoming parents.

Last year’s short shutdown of fertility services followed by ongoing restrictions and lockdowns has led to a new sperm drought in Australia.

At the same time, the number of IVF treatments has grown significantly as people reassess what is important.

It’s a gap we need to urgently close and there are plenty of Australian men who can help us do it.

The sperm donors I have met come from all walks of life.

Among them are teachers and policemen; men who go fishing or play basketball in their spare time; dads who have gone through the IVF process and want to help others; and friends and relatives of LGBTIQA+ couples.

Above all they are generous and appreciated.

While there is great demand for sperm in Australia, there are also important laws and regulations that govern whether someone can donate.

You need to be aged between 21 and 44 and you must agree to undertake infectious and genetic screening tests and provide your medical history.

You - and your partner if you have one - will have to undergo counselling.

You must consent to the release of identifying information to any future donor-conceived children.

Finally, you need to understand that sperm donation in Australia is altruistic so you won’t be paid, but your reasonable expenses will be covered.

Remember there is a limit to how many children your sperm donation can be used to create and you will be entitled to information about whether your donation resulted in a pregnancy and birth and some basic information about the children.

Becoming is a sperm donor is rewarding and essential if we are to help many of those for whom starting a family is currently out of reach.

For more information about becoming a sperm donor in Australia, click here.

About the author

Professor Rob McLachlan is a Consultant Andrologist at Monash IVF. Learn more about him here.

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