Sperm donors are so in demand there is up to a two-year wait,
prompting one woman to fork out thousands of dollars to find
Karen (not her real name) has placed two newspaper
advertisements in the hope of attracting an unknown sperm
donor, otherwise the single mother could wait two years
before she is eligible to choose one.
The 39-year-old, who wanted to remain anonymous, desperately
wants to give her 1-year-old son a sibling but is no longer
in a relationship with his father.
She had given years of thought to sperm donation before she
met her previous partner and when the relationship ended she
decided to pursue the option.
When she was told it could be two years before a donor agreed
to his sperm being used by a single woman, she advertised.
"When you get to my age you might only have a year or two
when you can have more children, so I could be out there in
the dating scene and trying to meet men and all of that is
just so unstable for my little son.
"And even if I met the perfect man tomorrow it's going to
take a year or two to get to know each other, decide you want
to have a child, and then it's almost too late biologically."
The woman, who would also foot the $1500 bill for the donor
insemination cycle, said many single women made dedicated
Karen described herself as a well-educated professional who
was able to provide a stable, happy home for another child
and had support from her family.
She did not want to ask friends to be sperm donors because
"that's a really awkward conversation to have", but she hoped
the donor would eventually be known to the child.
So far she had received eight genuine responses through
Repromed Auckland, a private fertility clinic, though it is
expected not all of them will be able or want to continue the
Repromed clinical director Dr Guy Gudex said finding donors
in New Zealand, where it is unpaid, had always been difficult
and demand for them had increased.
"But it's got even harder over the past 10 or 15 years. One
of the reasons is the whole identifiability issue.
"That requirement that you one day might be identifiable
might put some people off."
Dr Gudex said a significant amount of sperm donation is for
same-sex couples and single women.
"There's just an increasing number of women who either by
choice or by circumstance don't have a partner and are
getting concerned about age.
"A lot of them approach us in their mid to late 30s and the
dilemma with that is donor insemination works best in women
under the age of 40."
He said there was at least a 12-month wait and in some cases
Donors can specify who gets their sperm, for example, they
may exclude single mothers.
- By Natalie Akoorie of the NZ Herald