Women's Lives Put at Risk by Internet IVF Firms That Send Samples by Courier; FEARS AS ROGUE SPERM DONOR COMPANIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOOPHOLE IN THE LAW

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

Women's Lives Put at Risk by Internet IVF Firms That Send Samples by Courier; FEARS AS ROGUE SPERM DONOR COMPANIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOOPHOLE IN THE LAW


Byline: REBECCA SMITH

A ROW broke out today over sperm donations as internet companies were accused of putting women's lives at risk by dealing in untested samples.

Two firms are sending out fresh sperm by courier to women for home insemination within two hours of calling them.

The companies are trying to avoid new laws which they say will lead to a drop in the number of donors.

Last Friday a change in the law meant donors no longer BY REBECCA SMITH Health Correspondent can have anonymity and can be legally traced by their children once the offspring turn 18.

But the companies, which include SpermDirect.co.uk, based in Reading, claim that by providing fresh sperm, they get round the regulations and ensure the donors do not run out.

However, doctors said today such businesses were putting women and their children at risk as the sperm samples do not undergo testing.

Male donors are given initial health checks - including tests for sexually transmitted diseases - and then later provide sperm donations which are couriered to women nearby costing [pounds sterling]395 for each batch.

Women can only rely on the man's word and signature that he has not engaged in any activity that could have led to him contracting a sexually transmitted disease since his last medical.

The services are not regulated as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority only licenses premises where frozen sperm is stored - the only way to thoroughly test the sample for diseases.

Sheena Young, of Infertility Network UK, said they were extremely concerned about the increase in the number of firms exploiting women in this way and putting lives at risk. …

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