Sperm Banks see dry days
By: Alifiya Khan
Sperm bank operators and docs say number of donors down to a trickle, IT engineers and other in-demand professionals just not interested any more
Over the past few months, Dr Sanjeev Khurd has not seen too many working professionals opting for sperm donation. The infertility specialist and director of Khurd's Infertility Centre has been increasingly facing a situation where it becomes necessary to explain to infertile couples not to expect sperm from well-educated men or working professionals.
Rs 500: The compensation given to a sperm donor
A lot of professionals, especially those from the IT and BPO sectors, have dropped out of sperm donation. And the drop has not been noticed merely among professionals, but even among the usual donors, such as collegians.
"The main reason behind professionals opting out of sperm donation is the time-consuming procedure. People think we take donations from anyone who agrees, but in reality we first collect samples and run a battery of tests on them," said Khurd. "If the sperm is found to be infection free, donors have to again give two samples. We repeat tests after three and six months, and only then do we use a donor's sperm."
He added that most working professionals in the city earned good incomes and could not be attracted by the compensation for sperm donation.
"IT professionals, who already earn a lot, aren't interested in the meagre monetary compensation from sperm donation," said Khurd.He said there was also a 70 per cent chance of rejection.
"It's not just professionals, even students feel it isn't worth the effort, and these days it takes a lot of convincing to get donors. May be, five out of a hundred agree to donate," said Khurd.
Infertility expert Dr Sanjay Gupte, who is president of the Federation of Gynaecological and Obstetric Society of India, said the shortage of sperm donors was becoming a common phenomenon.
"The identity of donors is kept confidential at all clinics. However, these days no one wants to take a chance. The compensation for donation, which is Rs 500, is not too high, but the risk of getting found out might be too high for them. Though this fear is baseless, people read all sorts of things happening elsewhere on the Internet and in the age of paternity tests, many fear fathering an unknown child who might claim paternity later," said Gupte.
Dr Bharati Dhorepatil, head of Pune Infertility Centre, said she prefers to stay away from the trouble of hunting for donors and sticks to her list of regular sites for donations.
"We rarely need fresh donors as we have a list from where we get our regular donors," said Dhorepatil. "And I know it gets difficult to sit and explain and clear all the doubts of donors, so we prefer to stick to our list."
An infertility expert who requested anonymity said many clinics had started advising couples to get their own donors, though this is unethical practice.
"There is a draft bill on semen banking under discussion which clearly mandates that donors should be unknown to couples. But couples have so many demands and it is difficult to get donors matching their requirements these days because turnout isn't so good at sperm banks," said the expert. "We ask infertile couples to get their own donors."