Denmark legalizes double donation!

Yesterday the Danish Parliament legalized double donation. This will be carried into effect as of January 1st, 2018. It is a fantastic breakthrough, especially for single women and lesbians with poor egg quality. But also for couples who struggle with both poor egg and sperm quality.

The existing legislation banned the possibility of double donation due to the argument that a child had to be genetically linked to at least one of its parents. This will change now.

It is the opinion of both the Ethical Counsel and the Government that care, love and trust are the most important factors in a child’s life. However, the Danish Government also acknowledge that a strong relation between a child and parent has a crucial impact on a child’s upbringing and that the biological link shouldn’t be underestimated.

And to be honest we agree completely. What could be a more beautiful argumentation than this? “Parenthood is not something to be found in the genes”, as our Clinical Geneticist, at European Sperm Bank, Susanne Timshel, so nicely and correctly puts it. “Parenthood is something you learn, you do and you give based upon love. And love isn’t in our genes”.

The world around us changes constantly and family structures today are numerous and varied. Children grow up in so many alternative types of families/rainbow/mixed etc. – not only the traditional nuclear family. This is also why the Ethical council and Government have decided on a far more liberal legislation on the area.

How to get help

The new law comes with two requirements – firstly there must be a diagnosed health issue and secondly one of the donors will have to be categorized as open donor, so the child will have the option of getting limited knowledge about its genetic background.

Fertility clinics in Denmark and around Europe provide help when in need of either or both donor eggs and sperm donors. To undergo a fertility procedure, Danish policies establish that the intended mother is not older than 46 years old. This specific age limit may not count in other countries.

At European Sperm Bank, our goal is to help as many people as possible to fulfill their dream of having children, and to do our part to give these children the best possible conditions and foundation to become happy human beings.

Read more here and here.

“Most men will donate sperm because they want to help”

In October 2017 students at Brand Design at KEA were briefed by European Sperm Bank on a challenge called “How to attract and motivate young men to become sperm donors?”. Here is what one of their lecturers thought about the task. 

If you are in a relationship, your partner has a huge influence whether or not you chose to become a sperm donor”, “Most men will donate because they want to help – not for the money”, “Some men feel the need for spreading their super genes”, “A lot of men don’t volunteer to be a sperm donor cause they fear for the reaction in their surroundings”.

These and many more, were some of the interesting insights our 90 students at KEA Brand Design, were able to conclude after an intense 3 week process. First, we had a briefing session where Annemette Arndal-Lauritzen from European Sperm Bank gave the students a lot of insight and background information to the challenge. After a million questions, initial thoughts and ideas our students went to work.

Every group had to create a video demonstrating their process. See one example here.

The goal for the project was not about creating final executions and strategies to solve the problem, but about gaining insights around the target group. Researching and understanding potential sperm donors, the company and market. Who they are, how they think and feel about the subject, what’s driving or stopping them etc.  We saw many different approaches in this insight hunt. Some did street interviews, some got people to illustrate how they imagine the clinic should look, some held more classic focus groups, others gave the respondents homework to do and we even had one group who asked young men to take photos of the places they would masturbate. They certainly showed many creative ways of getting knowledge.

One of our groups found that a main barrier in becoming a sperm donor is the fear of accidentally bumping into “your offspring” one day in the supermarket. The thought of meeting “mini-me’s” scare them away. The students then asked a focus group to match photos of fathers and children to investigate if the fear was real or not. And it showed that NO ONE were able to pair the right fathers and kids. So maybe this kind of fear and barrier is something to deal with.

Thanks a lot, to European Sperm Bank for giving us this challenge, it was a super project.

By Laura Elmøe, Lecturer at KEA, Brand Design, Copenhagen