20% of Australian Men Don’t Know………………

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Sponsored by Melbourne IVF

…………..there is a shortage of sperm donors. There’s something primal about the urge to have children. For lots of us we reach a point in life and there’s a child sized gap that ‘needs’ to be filled. That’s what happened to us, one day the idea of children just seemed right. It all happened very quickly, one moment I was enjoying the act of making a baby and the next I was literally being dragged from pram shop to pram shop. Looking back I took it for granted that we would be able to have children, there wasn’t time for doubts to creep in

Being a Dad means everything to me and I couldn’t imagine not being able to have children, could you? I know people who have been in that position and the stress and strain it’s put on them and their relationship is painful to watch. For single women, female couples and couples with male infertility the chance to be parents and have a child of their own often rests on the shoulders of sperm donors.

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There is no shortage of men in Australia and there is no shortage of men with sperm in Australia, what there is is a chronic shortage of men that are aware and willing to donate their sperm. It seems ironic that there should be a shortage of sperm given that it’s a bi-product of one of the favourite male past times, I have no statistics to back up that claim it’s just a hunch.

I think we’ve all encountered men that are full of bravado on the topic of conception and will often favour dinner parties or pubs as a suitable forum to bring up their impregnating prowess. “Let’s just say there wasn’t much need for practice if you know what I mean” or “If you do need any help in that department you know where I am, I’d be happy to help out”. Or perhaps I’ve just befriended some real toerags in my time?

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Would I donate my sperm? Now that I know what it is to be a parent it’s something I’d give a lot of thought to. There are worse things to do with your afternoon than to potentially give someone else the gift of life. I don’t think I’d feel awkward about the act of ‘donating’ or telling others that I do. For me it wouldn’t be a decision to take lightly, anyone conceived through a donor can contact him if they wish to when they turn 18 and that deserves some serious thought. It would also have to be something that my wife is comfortable with.

The aim of this post isn’t to have you (if you have the necessary bits) or your partner  queuing up tomorrow morning ‘to do your/their bit’, it’s about acknowledging that for every 10 people on the waiting list for sperm there is only 1 donor and that only 20% of men are actually aware of the shortage.

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Were you aware there was such a chronic shortage of sperm donors? Would you be happy for you or your partner to donate sperm? Have you or someone you know benefitted or experienced sperm donation?

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  • http://www.havealaughonme.com/ Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Yes I did know that, the journo in me, and I’m not sure how I would feel about it if my hubby did it, funny I reckon, I’d hate to think there were mini-hims walking around that we didn’t know about. Maybe before a man has kids? Or am I old fashioned? And a big congrats on being Top 5 Matt for Kidspot, I haven’t seen you around the traps for ages, I hope you and your family are well. Em x

    • daddownunder

      I want you on my pub trivia team, I reckon the journo in you could prove quite handy. Every single wife I’ve mentioned this post to has said the same thing, that it doesn’t sit right with them. Miss you Em!

  • Sus

    HI Matt, Glad to hear from you again. It’s been a while – hope all is ok with you.

    I didn’t know about the shortage, I’m not sure how I would feel about my husband donating….. which is awful really, I know how much joy my kids have brought us and it would be nice to help others. I just don’t know………

    • daddownunder

      I think that’s a completely natural reaction Sus and seems to be the consensus. When I wrote this post I seriously considered and am considering it – I’m mentally a bit closer than when I started writing it. It has been a while hasn’t it?

  • Richard Farrar

    This is a tricky question. Some men are happy to donate and see it as a duty while many have problems dealing with the thought that there may children born to people that they don’t know and for whom they may have some responsibility. The difficulty has always been with the anonymity process.
    Good luck with your campaign to increase the number of donors.

  • http://awesomelyunprepared.com/ KezUnprepared

    Do you think that perhaps the shortage is due to the fact that men feel uneasy about being possibly tracked down by several children down the track? I don’t know how I would feel about Mr Unprepared donating, which I am sad to say. I think I’d feel uneasy mostly because of how it might impact our son later? Would he feel something was missing because there were possible siblings out there he didn’t know? Maybe it’s the adopted person in me speaking.
    Still, if people are given awareness about this, I do hope someone will decide it is right for them.

    • daddownunder

      Hey Kez, yeah I think for me the potential of being contacted down the track would be the only thing that would make me think twice (along with my wife’s consent – which I’m not sure I’d get). Hats off to every man that does.

  • http://www.knockedupandabroad.com/ Vicki @ Knocked Up & Abroad

    I had not given it much thought before in all honesty. I do feel for those who so desperately want to be parents but don’t have the privilege that so many of us take for granted. It would be another challenge or difficult set back I can imagine come the time if they decided to go down this track and were knocked back due to lack of donors. With that said, I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel about my husband being a donor. I’d probably prefer him not to… I dunno. It would require quite some thought. Thanks for the interesting post.

    • daddownunder

      Hey Vicki, my wife’s initial reaction was that she wouldn’t be comfortable with it. I think it’s a natural instinctive reaction. When I drilled down a little further and really weighed things up I felt more comfortable with the idea but it is a huge decision.

  • http://samanthastone.com.au/ Sam Stone

    We have two IVF babies, so definitely understand the process and how hard it can be. It is such a big decision to donate your sperm, or eggs, or even embryos. It certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is wonderful that you are raising awareness of the sperm shortage though.

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Sam, it was quite a ;earning experience to write this post and definitely made me ask a few questions of myself

  • http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/ Julie

    I can honestly say, that I think I know more about sperm
    than the average man. Did you know the contributing factors to male infertility are Sperm production problems, sperm transport (mobility), and sperm morphology (shape and size). And that infertility issues affect one in five Australian men. Trying to fall pregnant for several years you tend to learn a lot. It is a pity more men cannot have an open conversation about sperm without the sideline jokes.

    On the flip side could I donate an egg? I came to the
    conclusion no, but I would be more than happy to loan my womb out for 40 weeks.

    • daddownunder

      You certainly know your stuff Julie – 1 in 5 that’s huge! Are you impressed that I didn’t make one sperm joke Julie?

      • http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/ Julie

        We lived on sperm jokes around here. Okay, imagine this scenario, you have just picked up a vial of sperm for you next fertility treatment (they wash it and give you the concentrate). You have to sign the paperwork so you hand your daughter your partners sperm. You have to keep it warm. Then we walk down the street to the clinic and Tamika holds my hand while I get treated. Okay now go crazy will the sperm jokes about my daughter walking through the city holding my partners sperm and then her being there instead of Justin while I attempt to get pregnant.
        Yes we went crazy with the jokes. But had to to keep sane

  • The Plumbette

    Honestly, I wouldn’t want my husband to do it and I couldn’t donate my eggs. I wish everyone had the potential to have their own children but we live in an imperfect world and we don’t always get what we want. I am so glad I didn’t have to walk down the road of ivf because of infertility and like you I took my fertility for granted. It’s interesting that egg donors are talked about but not much thought is given to sperm donors.

  • Ruth BT

    It’s funny – most wives are against their husbands donating sperm but I’m in the opposite camp. I’d encourage my husband to donate if he wanted to. Since we only have one child I completely understand if he wanted to donate to make some more. I wonder if it is because I am adopted and I know from bitter experience that biology is not the only factor in making a family.

  • http://www.igiveyoutheverbs.com Annette @ I Give You The Verbs

    Hmmm such a complex subject, and as you said, such a primal desire for most people to become parents.
    As an adoptee, I can’t jump up and down with glee about some of the ways babies are being brought into people’s arms… there seems to be such a focus on sperm and eggs, without as much focus on the fact that those bits of us result in a real life person, not just a baby, who is biologically tied to the ‘donor’ forever. Your eyes, your laugh, your nose… and quite possibly a genetic mum/dad shaped hole in their life that they may need to fill as desperately as the urge that brought them into being in the first place.

  • http://fitmotherhubbard.com/ Neets

    Hey Matt, thought provoking post & interesting stats. My initial thought would be no as I’m not sure how I’d feel about the contact down the track. Gosh that sounds so selfish. My gay brother & I have had several discussions however about me carrying for him should his desire to become a dad become a reality.

  • Richard Farrar

    Interesting dilemma.