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TasIVF turns to US for donors

The Mercury, 19th November 2013

SPERM will be imported from the United States from next year because of an increase in women wanting IVF and a shortage of donors in Tasmania.

TasIVF director Dr Bill Watkins said 2013 had been the clinic's busiest year since opening in 1983 as one of Australia's first fertility units.

He said supply could not keep up with demand and the wait for donor sperm had stretched to about two years.

Dr Watkins said stocks of donations had had their biggest increase this year but the need for egg and sperm donations was also high.

"Currently we're looking at a two-year wait for eggs and over a year for sperm, but we're hoping to get that down to six months," he said.

"We're looking at importing sperm from overseas, we would have to go through the same process of identification but we think we can meet the criteria by early next year. It will eliminate the wait but add to the cost.

"Most people wanting treatment are in their 30s so time is important."

Dr Watkins said it was not legal to give any incentives to donors to encourage them to donate sperm or eggs.

"But this means we are getting the right kind of donors. The profile of donors has changed over the years but generally it is an altruistic act. About 50 per cent of donors are known to the people they are donating to."

Tasmania has gained a reputation as an Australian leader in IVF with the highest success rates.

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