FERTILITY doctors in Sheffield are appealing for potential sperm donors as not a single donation has been made in the city this year.
The assisted conception unit at the Jessop Wing is currently relying on imports from the United States to help childless couples conceive.
It has not receiving any donations from men so far in 2012.
Medics believe the slump in donations is partly due to a controversial change in the law in 2005, which has discouraged men from volunteering to donate at the unit.
The new law allows donors to be identified if a child born with their help wishes to track them down when the child reaches the age of 18.
Dr Helen Clarke, senior clinical embryologist at the Jessop Wing, said the situation was ‘an all-time low’, and that would-be parents faced a lengthy wait if they wanted to use locally-sourced sperm.
She said: “Prior to 2005 we used sperm from donors from our andrology department, and we also bought from other UK clinics.
“However, many clinics stopped recruiting after the law change, under the assumption that men would not want to donate if there was a chance they could be identified in the future.
“This has now meant that we are at an all-time low and our patients would have to wait quite a while if they do not want to use American sperm. We’re asking local men to contact us just to discuss what being a donor involves.
“If they’re interested we will then book an appointment to sit down and go through the process in more detail with them, without any commitment to donate.
“It really is an altruistic gift that can lead to immeasurable joy to infertile couples, same-sex couples or single people who long for a child.”
In previous years the unit has carried out on average 40 donor cycles per year. It has also carried out some cycles of IVF using donations of sperm.
The donation of each donor is legally allowed to be used to create up to 10 families.
Potential donors must be aged between 18 and 40 and in good health. They must not have any genetic medical conditions.
The unit offers £35 per visit - around 10 to 15 visits would be required.
n Visit www.jessopfertility.org.uk for more information.