National Sperm Bank launched at Birmingham Women's Hospital
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), in partnership with Birmingham Women’s Hospital, has been awarded Department of Health funding to provide a National Sperm Bank set to benefit thousands.
The National Sperm Bank, to be based at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, with spokes across England, will be offering a modern, NHS based, fully-integrated donor recruitment, screening and banking center which could deliver for all donor sperm requirements across the UK.
There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics. Patient numbers continue to rise and treating those who need donor sperm is a major problem. At present, some patients needing donor sperm are faced with few options and find themselves on waiting lists, having to use unregulated providers or having to stop treatment altogether.
To meet the ever-increasing demand for donor sperm, it is hoped that the introduction of the National Sperm Bank will provide safe, equitable and increased access for all. It is also anticipated that it will reduce the number of patients putting themselves at risk by using unregulated sperm donation services. Additionally, for the first time, those from ethnic minority backgrounds will be able to choose from a range of culturally matched donors.
Charles Lister, NGDT Chair of Trustees explains: ‘Essentially, the National Sperm Bank will increase the number of donor samples available for UK licensed clinics, both NHS and private, meaning that many more patients can be treated at a clinic of their choice, in a safe and secure manner, at the time when their treatment is needed.’
The British Fertility Society has long recognised that against a backdrop of declining availability of sperm donation services, a nationally coordinated approach is required to ensure equity of access for patients. On NGDT leading the project, Dr Allan Pacey, Chair of the British Fertility Society comments:
‘It is important to capitalise on current national approaches to donor recruitment and the involvement of the National Gamete Donation Trust is essential.’
The National Gamete Donation Trust’s partner Birmingham Women’s Hospital already has a successful sperm donor recruitment programme. Director of the Fertility Centre, Dr Sue Avery commented, ‘We are delighted to be working with the NGDT, our joint knowledge and expertise should enable us to deliver an outstanding service.’
The National Sperm Bank will launch in October 2014.