The Great Britain Sperm Donor Shortage

This from

“(AP) Britain is facing a sperm donor shortage after reversing confidentiality laws and limiting the number of women who can use sperm from one donor, fertility experts warned Wednesday.

Britain in 2005 changed the law protecting anonymous sperm donors and allowed children to learn the identity of donor fathers – one reason, fertility experts say, there are fewer donors now.”

This seems pretty obvious. Those who donate sperm in a place in which they do not pay you money are doing it because they feel bad for families that can not have kids. This does not mean that they want the kids to be knocking on the door one day.

This guy is a genius:

“The only countries that seem to have enough sperm are those that pay – like the U.S. and Spain – or the countries that retain anonymity,” said Allan Pacey, a member of the British Fertility Society that warned of the shortage in the British Medical Journal.”

In Economics, this means that the places that make the marginal benefits exceed the marginal cost have a surplus. This is one thing I have never understood about blood drives and (free) sperm giving. The cost of these things can be very high. Most people I know do not enjoy being pricked in the arm and there is a chance of infection and so on. Sperm banks, I would imagine, would be very awkward. I am sure there is some sort of price that makes you feel good about yourself but this isn’t anything the free market cannot fix by creating a price system.


Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. According to HFEA figures, the numbers of sperm donors have gone *up* in the two years since the ending of anonymity, thus reversing a three year decline. The 307 donors in 2006 was 48 more than in 2005, and the highest figure since 2001.

    I don’t have a huge problem with sperm donors being paid, or the numbers of children per donor being increased, but we should never go back to the days of anonymous donors. The donor-conceived are the ones who matter in this, not the parents, not the clinics, and not the donors.

    If a sperm donor wants to be anonymous, then he simply shouldn’t be a sperm donor. I was a sperm donor over 20 years ago, and if I have any genetic children looking for me, I’ve made it as easy as possible for them to find me.

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