NHS Scotland launch first national campaign in hunt for egg and sperm donors
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The first national campaign to encourage people to become NHS egg and sperm donors has launched, following new research that reveals almost half of people in Scotland would consider donating to people who need help to conceive.
The demand for egg and sperm donations is high and they are needed for some of the one in six couples who experience fertility problems, as well as same sex couples.
Almost half of people in Scotland (49 percent) would consider donating their eggs or sperm to people who need help to conceive, with 68 percent believing it’s a kind thing to do.
However, despite these good intentions over a quarter (27 percent) of those who would be willing to consider donating eggs or sperm, feel they don’t know enough about it or wouldn’t know how to donate.
This is the first national campaign by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland which aims to encourage people who are eligible to consider donation and how to do so.
Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd said: “Hundreds of people in Scotland need the help of egg or sperm donors to give them the chance to become parents and the gift of starting a family.
“Donating your eggs or sperm is an important decision and this campaign aims to highlight the options available to people who have carefully considered doing so.
“Demand for egg and sperm donations through the NHS remains high – altruistic donations provide the potential to give the joy of starting a family to others.”
Key motivators for those who would consider donating their eggs and sperm include wanting to help others become parents (44 percent), wanting to create a new life (27 percent) or knowing friends or family who have had fertility issues (23 percent).
It was through the use of donor sperm that Julie and Natalie conceived their son Thomas.
The couple, who live in the Borders and underwent fertility treatment at NHS Lothian, said: “We cannot thank the NHS, the staff at the Edinburgh Fertility Centre within NHS Lothian and the generous man that donated his sperm enough.
"Without the combination of all three we would not have our amazing little boy Thomas.
“There are no words to explain how grateful we are to the donor and everyone involved in this journey and we count our blessings every day.
"Without the donor our little boy would not be who he is. Our donor helped make us a family.
"He gave us the best job in the world, being parents.
"Off the back of this process my wife is going to become an egg donor in the hope that she can provide another family with the opportunity to feel the way we do.”
Donors are required to be aged 18–35 (egg donors) or aged 18-45 (sperm donors), generally healthy with no significant illnesses or inherited diseases, be able to provide a biological family history and a non-smoker.
Chief executive of National Patient Charity Fertility Network UK Gwenda Burns said: “Scotland currently leads the way in the UK offering the gold standard of up to three full NHS IVF cycles, including access for couples where one partner has no biological child.
"The NHS donor campaign will further ensure equitable and fair access to treatment for patients who require donor treatment.
"We are proud and delighted to be involved in the campaign.
"Raising awareness about the campaign is vital and whether you know someone who has had a personal struggle to conceive, or you just want to help others, becoming a sperm or egg donor for the NHS is an incredible act of generosity.
"You could give the gift of life to those who would otherwise be unable to have children.”
The striking new campaign features animated visuals of the fertilisation process, with egg and sperm coming together to spell out optimistic words such as joy, love and hope.
The adverts will run on a number of platforms throughout Scotland, including posters in gyms, audio adverts on Spotify, social media and YouTube and other digital channels to help raise awareness.
Visit eggsandsperm.scot where you can find out more about becoming a donor.