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28.10.16

End of the road for the National Sperm Bank

The National Sperm Bank, set up just two years ago with government funding, has failed to recruit sufficient donors to continue. In announcing its closure, the Department of Health said that loss of the National Sperm Bank "would have no impact on people being able to access safe egg and sperm donation services".

The fate of the national bank is in stark contrast to services at the London Sperm Bank (LSB), where donor recruitment continues to thrive and sperm supply remains substantial. The LSB now has more than 30,000 sperm samples in storage, and can meet the matching requirements of all patients at its associated centres - as well as those of more than half the UK's registered clinics. Indeed, LSB sperm donors now provide donor sperm to around 50% of all licensed centres in the UK. Our guiding principles are choice, affordability and quality, but underlying them all is our forward thinking approach and our willingness to embrace new technologies.

As such, the LSB has recently introduced a mobile app which allows easy browsing of catalogued donors, with characteristics and extended profiles easily available. Indeed, the internet has proved the key to the LSB's role in reversing the sperm donor crisis in Britain. Since the introduction of its online donor catalogue in 2011, the LSB has received enquiries from more than 30,000 men interested in becoming donors, meaning that the LSB can now maintain a choice of more than 100 different donors meeting the strict criteria for safety screening and government regulation.

Sperm donor crisis? Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the failure of the National Sperm Bank and other crisis stories, the UK is now self-sufficient in donor sperm, and the London Sperm Bank can meet all national needs.

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