Tuesday, November 8, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
Part Two of The Current
Free sperm exchange on the internet - Beth Gardner
When an infertile man wants to have children with his wife, or a lesbian couple wants to start a family, or a single woman want to raise a baby on her own -- they all have to rely on a male outsider.
Typically, people rely on a sperm bank. But a surprisingly small number of men donate to the banks -- a recent study for Assisted Human Reproduction Canada found there's a pool of roughly 60 "altruistic" donors. And there is a demand from 5,500 patients. It's illegal to buy or sell sperm in this country, but there is a new way to find sperm, for free... the internet.
We shared some readings of postings on a website where donors can reach out to women looking for sperm. There are several of these sites, but Health Canada has issued two warnings within the past year about the dangers of using these websites. They say donor semen isn't regulated and so it can be unsafe and spread disease.
We requested an interview with Health Canada so they could explain their concerns about these websites. But they told us no spokesperson would be available.
Free sperm exchange on the internet - Juliet Guichon
So it's not exactly the thing little girls dream about - one magic day, hooking up with a sperm donor online. But if it has to be a transaction, meeting a donor through a web site means less red tape than a fertility clinic.
But fewer rules may be part of the problem. Our next guest is someone who studies some of the health, legal, ethical and social implications of assisted reproductive technologies.
Juliet Guichon is a legal scholar in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, where she also works in the office of Medical Bioethics. Juliet Guichon joined us from our Calgary studio.
If you've had an experience with an free sperm website or a sperm bank, we'd be interested in hearing from you.
Other segments from today's show: