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Sperm donor shortage dampens Aussie hopes

Australia has a total of only 30 "official" sperm donors. Why?

“It’s something they are proud of. It’s not a secret, their families know,’’ Clark said. “How many Australian men do you know of that would be happy to say they’re a sperm donor? These guys are happy to say that. It’s just a cultural difference.’’

She continued: “There’s such a shortage of donors and you don’t know for two weeks if anyone is pregnant so you have to be very careful [not to exceed the five-family rule].’’

She said she has seen a significant drop in Australian donors since anonymity was outlawed but it had not put off Americans.

“We’ve definitely had a decrease in local donors, particularly with this change of legislation in New South Wales. In the last six months I’ve seen 20 men and only one has become a donor.”

She said previously about three or four would have gone ahead.

Although it is against the law to discriminate against lesbian couples, it has been notoriously difficult for them to get access to donated sperm at clinics, due to the shortage.

After being told by a clinic two and a half years ago that it simply does not supply to lesbian couples, one lesbian couple in Brisbane, Queensland, decided to find a donor themselves.

They made contact with a bisexual man on a website and now have a boy, who is two and a half years old.

Even though it was not against the law back then to use an anonymous donor, the couple has maintained a relationship with the man whom they meet up with a few times a year. He also lives in Brisbane and the women also have a close relationship with his parents and two sisters.

One of the mothers, Rebecca, 37, said that they did not pay for the sperm and hoped to have another child using the same donor, who is 52.

He had agreed to have an AIDS test prior to the couple using his sperm, which they injected into themselves at home.

‘‘It was so perfect. It was meant to be,’’ she said. ‘‘It has been a dream run and [the donor’s] family are incredible.’’