Lack Of Donors Halts New Fertilization Treatments

Lack of donors halts new fertilization treatments

A university in Japan that is a leader in fertility treatments using sperm from anonymous donors has stopped accepting new patients due to a lack of donors.

Hospital officials believe potential donors have become hesitant after the right to know one's biological parents became a widely-discussed issue in society.

Artificial insemination using sperm from anonymous donors is used on couples who have difficulty conceiving due to low sperm count or other factors.

Keio University Hospital carried out about 1,500 procedures annually, or about half the number conducted in Japan.

The hospital used to have more than 10 sperm donors a year, but the number decreased last year, and this year there were no donors at all by August.

That led the hospital to stop accepting new patients for the treatment last month. Hospital officials say if the situation does not change, they may have to stop the treatments completely within a year.

There are no laws in Japan outlining the right to know one's biological roots. But in recent years the issue has become widely known and more people conceived through artificial insemination are asking for the disclosure of information on anonymous sperm donors.

Keio University Hospital Professor Mamoru Tanaka says what one hospital can do is limited, so he hopes the government will play a central role in preparing laws and putting necessary schemes in place so that the treatments can continue.