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There’s a Big Sperm Shortage in New Zealand

The country hasn’t made it easy to donate.

(Photo: Bobjgalindo/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donating sperm in New Zealand isn’t the easiest of processes. For one, you have to submit to a battery of medical tests, some of which can be time-consuming, and, to make things worse, you don’t get paid.

You also can’t do it anonymously. In 2004, the country passed a law mandating that children, when they turn 18, can ask to reveal the identity of their donor, setting up a possibly tricky situation for donors a couple of decades after they’ve donated. 

All of which has added up to a huge shortage in donations, according to the Guardian. Some women are going overseas to find sperm, others merely just wait, and wait, and wait. 

“It’s a very challenging situation,” Mary Birdsall, a fertility clinic doctor, told the newspaper. “It’s challenging to recruit donors, and it is tough on the women who are psychologically and biologically ready to start a family, but can’t.”

Pressure has been building on the country to allow the importation of sperm, as England and Australia do, but so far the country has opted not to.

Generally, according to the Guardian, there’s enough sperm in New Zealand to treat around 80 women, while, at any given time, over 300 women have usually applied.

Which means that for dozens, the wait will go on.