Stringent Policy Puts Sperm in Short Supply in Melbourne, Australia

Filed under: In The News, Infertility

sperm bank

A medical worker works on a dish ready for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Credit: Georges Gobet, AFP/Getty Images

If you're living in Melbourne, Australia and want to conceive using a sperm bank, you may want to get in line.

The state of Victoria -- where Melbourne is the capital and around 5.5 million people reside -- is experiencing a severe shortage of sperm donors, The Age reports.

There are several reasons for the dearth of sperm. Last year, according to the Australian newspaper, laws were enacted allowing single women and lesbians access to IVF programs, which are partially covered by insurance.

Also, men are no longer allowed to remain anonymous when donating sperm, and are only permitted to give sperm to 10 families, The Age reports, adding that federal law prohibits payment for sperm, although the donor can receive reimbursement costs. Donors are also required to undergo counseling.

"The guiding principles of the act are that the welfare of persons born as a result of treatment is paramount, and they have a right to information about their genetic parents," Louise Johnson, chief executive of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority tells The Age.

Just 184 registered sperm donors are left in the state, according to the newspaper, which means patients face up to a nine-month wait. Some people have resorted to flying North to Queensland to obtain sperm.

Victoria prohibits the import of sperm unless approval is granted by the state's Reproductive Treatment Authority, which only granted permission in three cases last year, The Age says. Queensland does not have such a stringent policy and routinely imports sperm from the United States.

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