The National Sperm Bank in the UK has a problem – it only has nine registered donors since opening in 2014. Now plans are afoot to launch a special recruitment drive, looking for UK “supermen” to donate their sperm.
A year after the facility opened, Laura Witjens, chief executive of the sperm bank, is making an appeal to attract new donors, hoping to increase numbers and variety in the product on offer.
It seems that a change in UK law back in 2005, whereby anonymity for sperm donors was removed, may have led to a drop in volunteers. Now they are urgently looking for more, and the sperm bank is appealing to male pride to increase these donations.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) September 1, 2015
The Telegraph quotes Witjens as saying they are seeking additional donors, based on appealing to their manhood and all applicants must have sperm that is strong enough to withstand freezing, otherwise they will not be accepted.
She added that they have been inspired by Denmark, the second largest exporter of human sperm to Britain after the US, in their promotional efforts.
“If I advertised saying ‘Men prove your worth, show me how good you are,’ then I would get hundreds of donors.”
Reportedly the new sperm bank in Birmingham was set up in response to a huge increase in demand, particularly from older women wanting children and same-sex couples wishing to start a family.
— someecards (@someecards) September 2, 2015
According to Witjens, donors receive £35 ($53) per donation, but says that an increase in the payment is not seen as the answer to attract more donors. Should they try that, they fear it could lead to men lying about their health just to get their hands on the money.
As reported in the Guardian, Witjens said what is worse is that despite the current shortage of donors, families seeking sperm can still be very demanding and fussy.
“We get asked for 6ft donors, when the average height is 5ft 7in Britain, so you are ruling out 90 percent of donors.”
The families are all, apparently, looking for doctors or lawyers, but Witjens says those professionals don’t have the time or interest to donate, “So you actually get young guys with flexible jobs.”
She did add that the donor marketing campaign has not yet been completely finalized but that it probably won’t be a brash as she would have liked. While she would ideally like to use photos of real tough guys on the advertising material, it has been proposed to rather use images of a cartoon superhero.
The sperm bank’s new “Superman” campaign starts in October and soon after will be followed by a more festive drive, urging men to make an “alternative Christmas gift”.
[Image: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Rooners Toy Photography]