A NEWLY reformed sperm bank has been inundated with requests from men desperate to help, the Evening News can reveal.
We told earlier this week how the Edinburgh Sperm Bank was being relaunched after a seven-year hiatus due to a severe shortage of supplies.
Health bosses feared a change to the law meaning fathers can eventually be traced by their biological children would put men off coming forward.
But since news of the appeal broke, sperm bank staff have been fielding more than ten inquires a day from men interested in stepping up.
Dr Sue Pickering, consultant clinical scientist with NHS Lothian, hailed the response as “brilliant” and said sperm bank staff were fielding more and more inquires as word spreads. “It really seems to be picking up a head of steam, which is fantastic,” she added. “We’re really happy with the response, it’s exceeded all our expectations.
“This is just the start of a lengthy process, it’s a long-term project and we’re going to be recruiting every year.
“We want a wide range of donors so we can match their characteristics with what people want. We haven’t put a number on it, but if people are willing, committed and have the right characteristics, we will be looking to recruit them.”
Successful donors will be paid £350 for a total of ten samples, which they will give at the Royal Infirmary’s “production facilities” over three months.
Two specialist rooms have been set aside for the purpose, after being kitted out with sofas and appropriate “reading material”.
We told on Wednesday how the Edinburgh Sperm bank closed seven years ago due to a lack of funding and because it was believed the change to the law ending anonymity for donors would make it difficult to recruit.
The 21 men who have made contact with the sperm bank between Tuesday afternoon and last night have been sent more information on the process and will be asked to complete questionnaires.
“There’s an awful lot involved in becoming a donor and sometimes people don’t realise that,” Dr Pickering added. “So when they get the information and realise there can be a drop-off, it’s a screening process in itself.
“I’ve worked in other centres throughout the UK and my experience has been that the demography of donors has changed. Previously you would have younger donors who were perhaps interested in the money but now we’re seeing older people, perhaps with their own families, thinking along altruistic lines.”
Sperm from each donor can be used to start up to ten families. Around 100 people in the Lothian region could currently benefit from a sperm donation.
The NHS is to take to Twitter and Facebook in a bid to attract more men, aged between 18 and 40, in the hope that a diverse database will be built. A website, edinburghspermbank.org.uk, has also been set up.