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Aussies overcome Canadian sperm challenge

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by gwayneco, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. gwayneco

    gwayneco Contributing Member

    Feb 6, 2000
    Likes Received:

    Aussies rise to challenge of Canadian sperm
    Clinic gets its donors

    Anne Marie Owens
    National Post

    Monday, December 26, 2005

    ALBURY, Australia - Ruth Keat has a huge file folder in her office drawer filled with details about the 70 or so men from Alberta keen to do their bit for the Australian fertility crisis.

    Lured by ads in the University of Calgary student newspaper that declared, in bold letters, SPERM DONORS NEEDED, WE WILL PAY, RETURN AIR FARES TO AUSTRALIA, TWO WEEKS ACCOMMODATION, DAILY ALLOWANCE, the unusual call-to-arms was a bit of a no-brainer for healthy, young university students with the desire to travel.

    But a strange thing happened once the campaign went public.

    This is the story of a small fertility clinic that announced it was going to Canada to look for sperm and unwittingly provoked so much Australian male pride that it suddenly found more than enough donors domestically.

    After several years of failing to raise enough donors in Australia, despite advertising widely, Reproductive Medicine Albury found the intense publicity about its other-side-of-the-world sperm search last year delivered a new batch of homegrown donors.

    Not to be outdone by Canadian donors, it seems, Australian men reacted to the campaign as a point of pride. "It was a bit of, 'What? Isn't Australian sperm good enough, then?' " says Dr. Scott Giltrap, director of the fertility centre.

    Dr. Giltrap is a big believer in the any-publicity-is-good-publicity credo.

    "The media exposure brought it to the attention of a lot of men in Australia and basically their reproductive manlihood was offended," agrees Ms. Keat, the clinic's program manager.

    She remembers having to suffer the indignity of seemingly endless morning radio shows filled with nudge-nudge-wink-wink innuendo about the clinic's overseas recruitment campaign.

    Even the newspaper headlines were written with a similar swagger: "Clinic Urges Canadians, 'Have Sperm, Will Travel,'" and "Australian Authorities Approve Scheme to Invite Canadians for Sperm Donor Holidays."

    Because of the sufficient domestic response, the clinic hasn't yet had to follow through on its Canadian candidates, but the campaign, and the grim medical reality behind it, is not a joke at all to the clinicians and their patients.

    Sperm donation has declined dramatically in Australia ever since some states began passing legislation that requires all donors to agree their identity could one day become disclosed to their offspring. Known-donor legislation is already in place in Victoria, the state that borders the Albury clinic in New South Wales, but the spectre of it hangs over the entire country.

    What's happened is that the number of donors, already small, has shrunk to virtually nothing. At the Albury clinic, says Ms. Keat, "we're not talking about going from 300 down to 20. We're talking about going from 20 down to three, or fewer."

    The shortage, which has become increasingly dire since 1998, has prompted other innovative initiatives, such as a pitch by Melbourne's Monash IVF clinic urging all legislators under the age of 45 to do their part to replenish depleted stocks.

    Nor is the shortage limited to Australia. In Canada, the practice of sperm donation has been effectively abolished by the Assisted Human Reproductive Act of 2004, which prohibits any buying or selling of human reproductive material, including sperm, eggs, or embryos. That legislation has driven those seeking donor sperm into the United States, where laws are less restrictive.

    The Albury clinic's decision to look to Canada for sperm was not deliberately provocative or attention-seeking, but pragmatic: The clinic had a Canadian gynecologist on staff, Dr. Trixie Rasmuson, who could act as a liaison with clinicians in Calgary to ensure all donors were effectively screened before coming over.

    The geographical distance, it was thought, would soften the impact of being potentially identified years afterwards as a donor.

    It certainly did not seem to dissuade many who responded to the ad, which ran in successive issues of the sports pages of the Gauntlet, the University of Calgary newspaper.

    The applicants had to be between the ages of 18 and 40; and they had to pass a blood test, semen analysis, fitness test and undergo counselling. In exchange for the hefty costs of their airfare, accommodation and living allowance, they would be expected to produce semen every second day for donation.

    "We had a huge response from Canada," says Ms. Keat. "The only ones we have e-mails from were the ones who were totally willing to disclose identities."

    © National Post 2005
  2. Samar

    Samar Contributing Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Likes Received:
    so the whole country has ED?
  3. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    Likes Received:
    So how does sperm donation work. Do you go there and nut on the nurses face or something. Then they collect the remnants, and you paid.
  4. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Can you blame the blokes for not wanting Canadian babies running around?
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Member

    Feb 15, 1999
    Likes Received:
    As an Australian myself...I just have no idea what to say about this. :D
  6. AMS

    AMS Contributing Member

    Oct 8, 2003
    Likes Received:
    yep, just like how you collect stool and urine samples. you piss and **** on the nurses faces, and they collect the remainder :p

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