Pioneering fertility clinic issues donor plea amid national shortage

Aberdeen Fertility Clinic claimed a range of Scottish firsts after helping thousands of couples to conceive but has warned there is a national shortage of egg and sperm donors.

Pioneering Scottish fertility clinic calls for egg and sperm donors to address national shortage iStock

A pioneering fertility clinic which helped the first Scottish baby to be born following egg donation has called for more people to come forward as donors to address a national shortage.

The Aberdeen Fertility Centre officially merges with NHS Grampian this week almost 40 years after being founded as a research hub.

The facility, which will move into dedicated accommodation at The Baird Family Hospital in 2024, also carried the out the first after surgical sperm retrieval in 1996 – 11 years after first opening its doors under outgoing manager Alison McTavish.

Director Professor Abha Maheshwari has encouraged those considering donating eggs or sperm to explore their options after the launch of a national campaign last year.

Demand from people who need help to conceive is currently outstripping supply across the country, despite around one in six couples experiencing fertility issues.

A rise in the number of same-sex couples wishing to conceive has also led to an increase in the need for donors, however NHS Scotland research found less than half of those surveyed would consider making a donation.

Prof Maheshwari said: “Every healthy live birth is a huge achievement for us. In some cases, people undergoing fertility treatment cannot use their own sperm or eggs but need help to start a family using eggs or sperm donated by others.

“Donation has the power to give the gift of becoming parents to those who need help to conceive. I would urge anyone who is interested to learn more about donating eggs or sperm to get in touch.”

Donors are required to be aged 18 and 35 if egg donors or 18 to 45 if sperm donors, generally healthy with no significant illnesses or inherited diseases, be able to provide a biological family history and a non-smoker.

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