A national sperm bank is to be launched to meet the demands of donor requirements across the UK.
It will be based atBirmingham Women’s Hospital andwill offer “an NHS based fully-integrated donor recruitment, screening and banking centre”.
The Department for Health (DoH) says it will benefit both NHS and private patients of all ethnicities, including same-sex couples and single women.
For the first time, those from ethnic minority backgrounds will be able to choose from a range of culturally matched donors.
Funded by a 77,000 Government grant, the bank will be run by the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) in partnership withBirmingham Women’s Hospital
Charles Lister, NGDTchair of trustees, said: “Essentially, the National Sperm Bank will increase the number of donor samples available for UK licensed clinics, both NHS and private, meaning that many more patients can be treated at a clinic of their choice, in a safe and secure manner, at the time when their treatment is needed.”
There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics, and as patient numbers continue to rise, treating those who need donor sperm is said to be a major problem.
At present, some patients needing donor sperm are faced with few options and find themselves on waiting lists, having to use unregulated providers or having to stop treatment altogether, the trust said.
It is hoped the bank will reduce the number of patients putting themselves at risk by using unregulated sperm donation services.
A DoH spokesman said: “The National Sperm Bank will benefit all patients who need these services.”
The service will launch in October.