Record numbers of British babies are being conceived with sperm donated sperm, with most of the new donors from overseas.
The number of children who were born to sperm donors to their mothers has more than tripled over the past generation. Experts say this is because many women are having difficulty finding Mr Right or delaying motherhood so they can focus on their careers.
In 2006, there were less than 900 babies born in the UK from sperm donors, but this rose to more than 2,800 babies in 2016, according to the latest figures from fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA).
This means that the UK’s current sperm donor count of 400 is not keeping up with the increase in demand from lesbian and single women.
In 2006, there were less than 900 babies born in the UK from sperm donors, but this rose to more than 2,800 babies in 2016, according to the latest figures from fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA)
For the first time, more than half of newly registered sperm donors used by British women live abroad – mainly in the US and Denmark — the latest figures from 2020 show.
Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield is a male fertility expert. He said that over the past 30 years we have struggled to maintain strong national infrastructures to recruit sperm donor at the rate the country requires.
“This is despite numerous national recruitment campaigns, initiatives and efforts to increase UK donor supply.
‘It is not surprising to see in this report that we are now using more donor sperm that has been imported into the UK from donors in other countries — typically Denmark and the US – than we have been able to recruit from within the UK.
Unregulated sperm donor James MacDougall fathered 15 children earlier this year without making it clear that he was suffering from an incurable genetic condition
According to NHS statistics, the number of C sections performed is at its highest level in a decade.
More than a third of babies were delivered by C-section in England last year — the highest level in a decade.
Today, the NHS revealed that 35% of all births occurred between 1995 and 1997. March 2021 was through a caesarean. This is a significant increase from the quarter ten years ago.
The reasons for this rise are rising obesity levels in society and women opting to have children later in life.
MailOnline analysis shows that C-section rates can vary greatly depending on where you live.
“I find it difficult to understand why this is so, and think that we need to reassess our donor recruitment infrastructure in order to make it easier and more convenient for UK men who wish to donate.
Sarah Norcross (director of the Progress Educational Trust) said that donor sperm has been imported from the US and Denmark to the UK. This suggests that the UK is short of donors.
“However, PET’s research this year, which was conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by PET, has shown that more than 50% of UK men would consider donating their sperm in order to help other people have children.
“Seen in this context the HFEA data seems to indicate UK clinics are not capitalising on existing goodwill.
“Clinics should find ways to make it easy and simple for men willing to donate their sperm.
Nearly half (50%) of IVF attempts with sperm donor sperm are for heterosexual partners, which means that the male partner is having fertility issues.
However, a fifth of IVF cycles that use sperm donors are for single mothers. The HFEA states that these women are the ones driving the increase in IVF cycle demand.
One hundred and fifty-five single women were able to conceive a child through fertility treatment in 2006. However, this number has more than tripled to 431 in 2019.
The HFEA last-year surveyed women and found that many had to travel abroad in order to obtain sperm from a donor.
British women now have 400 foreign sperm donors, up from 200 in 2013.
The number of sperm donors have failed to keep up with demand despite research suggesting 50 per cent of UK men would consider donating to help others have children
A shortage of British donors has seen a rise in single women and couples importing sperm from overseas.
The number of sperm donors who have been registered in 2020 is 52%, compared to 22% in 2010.
This 52 percent included 27% from the US, and 21% from Denmark.
Fears are rising that women might also look to super sperm donor’s services on Facebook. These include men who claim they have fathered hundreds upon children in the UK.
It was revealed that James MacDougall, an unregulated donor of sperm, had given birth to 15 children earlier this year without making it clear that he suffered from an incurable genetic condition.
MailOnline has been told by senior charity executives that women might be more interested in donating their eggs to charities as they become less financially secure. Experts said that they wouldn’t be surprised if more people signed up for the procedure to try to make more money.
Julia Chain, chaire of the HFEA stated: “Some patients have said that they imported sperm to treat their condition because it was difficult to find a suitable UK donor.
“I am concerned about the possibility that people might turn to online donors without access. This can be very risky.”
Over 70,000 children were born in the UK since 1991 using donated sperm and eggs. In 2019, one in six IVF babies was from the UK.
Demand for egg donors has also increased. Donors are typically 31 years old on average.
These eggs are often obtained from younger women and are often used by women in their 50s whose eggs may not be of high quality.
A female donor allows them to have a child even though they are not biologically related.
From Next year, children who have been conceived by donors will be able to contact them. The law has changed so that they can no longer remain anonymous and their information can be made available to their biological offspring starting at 18.
WHAT IS THE EGG AND SPERM DONATION PROCESS?
Why do some women donate eggs?
Women who have had cancer treatment, undergone menopause, or are suffering from a genetic condition may not be able to use their eggs.
They can still experience the joy of pregnancy using a donor egg or their partner’s fertilized sperm.
Can you donate your eggs?
Women between the ages of 18 and 35 can donate their eggs if they pass a medical exam. Only older women are allowed to do this in exceptional cases.
What’s the procedure for donating eggs
The medical process to donate eggs is the same for IVF in the beginning stages.
To suppress hormones, women take a daily nasal spray or injection. Then they begin hormone treatment to increase the amount of eggs they produce.
Doctors inject them with additional hormones to help the eggs mature a few days before the eggs are collected — a 30-minute procedure under general anaesthetic.
What are the potential risks?
Although egg donation can be done safely, some women may experience reactions to fertility drugs. This could range from hot flushes and headaches all the way to fatal ovarian hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
The symptoms of OHSS include a swollen abdomen, stomach pains and nausea.
What is the compensation available?
The UK’s fertility regulator permits women to claim up to £750 for every round of treatment that ends with their eggs being collected and donated.
The payment — which they emphasise is compensation rather than a fee — was designed to cover costs.
However, women may get more if their expenses for travel, accommodation and childcare are higher.
It is illegal in the UK to pay a donor for expenses.
Are there legal rights and responsibilities I have for my children who are born from my eggs?
Medics urge women to give it ‘serious thought’ as the intensive procedure — which sees doctors collect women’s eggs to donate to couples going through IVF or for research — has a life long commitment.
All children who were born from their eggs can contact them starting at 18 years old.
Why is sperm given?
If a person cannot have children naturally, they can use sperm donation to help them start families.
If a male partner is not fertile, if both parents have children, or if the mother has no partner.
What is the process of creating a new product?
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority of the UK (HFEA), regulates sperm donations.
These rules require that all donors be screened for STIs as well as inheritable medical conditions such debilitating asthma and clubfoot.
After passing screening, men are required to visit a clinic twice per week and deposit samples for up to 10 consecutive weeks.
What is the compensation available?
Clinics in the UK are not allowed to pay men to donate sperm, except up to £35 to cover expenses such as travel.
It is against the law to pay donors for any other expenses than those they have already paid.
Is anonymity possible?
Anonymity cannot be guaranteed
Donated sperm children have the right to find out their father’s identity at 18 years of age.
What warnings should you be aware of when it comes to ‘DIY sperm donors’?
A licensed fertility clinic is recommended for anyone who wants to donate sperm.
STIs and genetic disorders are screened in sperm donated to clinics.
Although it is possible for a sample to be donated or purchased through an online matchmaking website or marketplace, this is not recommended.
People should not go to a donor that they have met online if they do so alone or in public.
It is also a bad idea for women to agree to have sex with donors, even if it has a higher success ratio.