New Zealand has the sperm count of a skinny jeans wearing dude who keeps his cell phone in his front pocket, according to a new report from The Guardian. The entire country only has enough sperm to treat about 80 families at any given time, with a demand about four times that. Currently the average wait for a sperm donation is approximately two years, which — depending on a woman’s age — is a luxury many cannot afford.
So what’s the problem? Unfortunately, it goes beyond men just suddenly being stingy with their semen. Back in 2004, New Zealand passed a law banning anonymous sperm donations, and that the donor must agree to being identified to their potential offspring when the child turns 18. So that’s strike one. Also, donors are now unable to receive any compensation for their services beyond having minimal miscellaneous costs covered (like travel), and given the time commitment which involves “rigorous medical testing and counseling,” it’s a lose-lose situation all around.
It’s gotten so bad that women are now traveling abroad to get their sperm elsewhere, and “reproductive tourism” is becoming a normal practice.
“Increasingly we are hearing of New Zealand women traveling overseas for reproductive tourism,” said Dr Mary Birdsall, a fertility specialist with Fertility Associates.
“It’s a very challenging situation. 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.”
Unfortunately, unless the laws change, the problem isn’t going to go away any time soon. General manager of Fertility Associates Dr. John Peek says that the sperm shortage has been going on for a long time. “I think rather than peaking it has become a continuous drought. Like climate change, it has become the new normal.”
(Via The Independent)