Kiwi men called to the plate amidst sperm shortage


New Zealand's low supply of sperm is forcing would-be mums to wait more than a year, and now a fertility expert is calling for Kiwi blokes to step up.

"We're seeing increasing numbers of people wanting to have donor sperm and we're just not able to keep up with that demand," fertility expert Dr Mary Birdsall told Paul Henry on Thursday.

"We have three groups of people wanting donor sperm - guys who don't have any sperm and couples, we have lesbian women and we have single women. And it's the single women demographic that we're seeing growing so substantially."

The wait, around one to two years, is too long for older women with dwindling egg supplies.

Dr Birdsall is calling for healthy men aged between 20 and 45 to step up to the plate and contact Fertility Associates, where they'll get a free sperm test to see if they've got "great sperm".

The clinics will also do a blood test, and the men can then talk to a counsellor and a doctor before they start donating.

But there are a couple of things which may be keeping our national sperm count low - including anonymity laws.

"All of our sperm donors need to be identifiable because we think it's a fundamental right for children to know who their biological dads are," Dr Birdsall says.

It's the same rules in some countries overseas, such as Australia, but in the US not only are donors allowed to be anonymous but they are also compensated "handsomely".

"[In New Zealand] we're not allowed to give any 'valuable consideration' for any donations," she says.

"I think I would like us to be able to pay our donors more. So at the moment it's $50 a visit."

By the time you factor in the time you've taken, the donors are out of pocket, which Dr Birdsall says is "ludicrous".

"We want our donors not to be out of pocket and we want all good Kiwi blokes who've got great sperm to give us a call."