The Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA) in the United Kingdom has announced that it is going to launch an investigation into online “sperm brokers” who put women in contact with potential sperm donors.
“Most of these websites, however, simply provide a facility for women to make contact with potential donors and the individuals make their own arrangements. But the HFEA claims that the websites are putting women’s health at risk because they are unregulated and there is no official way of screening the donors for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Instead it is the sole responsibility of the individuals involved to make arrangements to be screened and ensure that the donor is disease free. In contrast, fertility clinics operate within specific safeguards, which include screening donors prior to donation and storing samples for six months before use to ensure the male donor is negative for HIV. It is therefore true that there is a risk associated with DIY insemination.”
Many people think that the HFEA’s action are because the “thought of people taking fertility into their own hands and undermining their authority.” Others see it as very patronizing to women suggesting “that women, overcome by raging hormones and deafened by the ticking of their biological clock, are acting irrationally and cannot be trusted to make decisions.”
Olivia Pratten, the woman seeking to end sperm donor anonymity in Canada may get her day in court.
“On Wednesday the Supreme Court of British Columbia agreed to consider whether Ms. Pratten’s legal battle against the province’s Attorney-General and College of Physicians and Surgeons that seeks to make the identities of anonymous sperm, egg or embryo donors available should proceed to trial.”
Trial is set to begin next month if Ms. Pratten’s claim is allowed to stand.