Shortage of sperm and egg cell donors in Belgium
The Belgian sperm and egg cell banks face a shortage of donors, writes VRT Nieuws. The launch of the website levensdonoren.be one year ago, intended to attract more donors, appears to have had little effect.
“There is still a serious shortage,” confirms Professor Herman Tournaye of UZ Brussels’ Centre for Reproductive Medicine, on Radio 1. “The demand for donors is increasing, especially as more single women and lesbian couples come to us for help with getting pregnant. But there are not enough donors. The taboo surrounding donation plays a role, but what we mainly see is that most people simply do not realise that there is a shortage.”
In Belgium, sperm and egg cell banks work with both known and anonymous sperm donors. The sperm and eggs of anonymous donors are used in 98% of the cases. Anonymity is crucial, says Tournaye. “Donors often do not want to be identifiable by the prospective parents or children.”
While Belgium has a shortage of sperm donors, other countries such as Denmark and Spain have more than enough. Many countries, including Belgium, therefore rely on Danish or Spanish sperm. “The legislation around sperm donation in some countries is very permissive, and some even have semi-commercial sperm banks,” says Tournaye. “They are also allowed to advertise – which is forbidden in Belgium – so they find donors more easily.” With Xpats.