Expatica news

Sperm shortage forces Dutch women to Belgium

1 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — New Dutch legislation scrapping the possibility for sperm donors to remain anonymous has resulted in a shortage of donations, forcing an increasing number of Dutch women to go to Belgian clinics.

After 10 years in the making, new legislation means that from 1 June it is no longer possible for Dutch sperm centres to allow anonymous donations. Children born from a donation can therefore obtain the identity of their father when they turn 16.

But the number of men willing to donate their sperm in the lead-up to the new regulations has thus declined and women are facing a waiting list of up to two years at a Dutch sperm bank, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.

The Bijdorp clinic in Barendrecht has seen its list of donors fall from 135 to just 15. “I have just placed an advertisement for donors, but got zero reactions,” Dr Jan Karbaat said, who has also considered paying for donations.

It is not known how many Dutch women are seeking sperm donations in Belgium, asking a friend or acquaintance for sperm or seeking fertilisation via the black market on the internet.

But hospitals in Antwerp and Ghent have detected an increase in Dutch female clients. Dutch nationals now account for 5 percent of patients at the Fertility Centre of the Sint-Lucas Hospital and Dr Tom Coetsier claims that number is growing.

In Leuven, Dr Thomas d’Hooghe thinks that heterosexual couples are mainly choosing to obtain sperm in Belgium. His experience indicates that in contrast to lesbian couples and single women — who are always questioned about the father of their child — heterosexual couples strongly opt for anonymity.

Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique reported in January that Belgian politicians had discussed informally the issue of ending anonymity for sperm donors, but the general view is that it should be maintained.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news