Sydney sperm shortage

Sydney sperm shortage

More lesbians are using, or planning to use anonymous donor sperm for parenthood, a forum on gay and lesbian parenting heard this week.

The evidence is anecdotal. Jo Perks, a pregnancy specialist from the Leichhardt Women’s Health Centre, told ACON’s Pink Parenting forum on Saturday that she has noticed a trend away from using known-donors’ sperm.

And there are already waiting lists of up to six months for anonymous donor sperm. Current laws prohibit gay men from donating sperm.

More than 90 future contributors to the lesbian and gay baby boom attended the Pink Parenting workshop, to hear speeches on conceiving and raising children in -“ and out of -“ the gay and lesbian community.

Speakers included lesbian parenting columnist Bridget Haire, who talked about sharing porn with her daughter’s donor father. Paul van Reyk spoke about his six successful donor inseminations and comedian and parent Shelly Silberman introduced the conference.

Organisers had to turn almost another full-house of would-be parents away, and were hoping to hold another forum in the new year for those who missed out.

Meantime, the state government will debate changes to the proposed Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2003 in the new year. The bill could have ramifications for surrogate parents, sperm donors and women using donated sperm at a clinic.

The bill will prohibit commercial surrogacy arrangements, and allow children born from anonymous sperm donations to access details about their donor.

Health minister Morris Iemma tabled the bill, including a proposal to establish a sperm donor registry, to be available to children born from donated sperm when they turn 18. The Bill also prohibits the use of a single donor’s sperm for more than 10 pregnancies from five women.

The register would not include information on children born before the changes were approved in parliament.

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