By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD
With the shortage of sperm donors the Queensland Fertility Group, the largest fertility facility in Townsville has resorted to importing sperm from United States. This facility, some 1,300 Kilometers from Brisbane is reportedly paying $700-800 an ampoule for the imported sperm. This is a new situation. Earlier the facility had a large number of donors of which a huge number were the university students but there has been a steady decline in donors with many north Queensland men, or even Australian men who are not prepared to donate.
According to infertility specialist Dr Ron Chang this decline could be due to the recent legal changes that mandate sperm donors to be contactable once the child they helped to conceive turns 18. “All the donors stopped coming forward because they didn't want a knock on the door in 18 years time….I think children should have the right to know their biological parents, but it has a knock-on effect,” he said. Queensland Fertility Group Cairns clinical director Dr Bob Miller echoed these thoughts and said, “In the old days, they used to sort of donate and forget… Now the donors have to be registered and go for quite a bit of tests before they're allowed to donate… It means that the offspring cannot find them until they grow up to 18, but they can find them and find out who their father is, if they want to…. These things are very good ethically, but it means that we don't have many donors.”