HC Deb 09 April 2003 vol 403 c325W
Sandra Gidley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on his Department's arrangements for monitoring companies offering human sperm donor services; [106228]

(2) what human sperm donor services are not covered by the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority; and if he will make a statement; [106229]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of risks facing women who purchase human sperm over the internet. [106230]

Ms Blears

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 requires the storage of donor sperm and its use in the provision of fertility treatment services to be carried out under a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The Act does not cover sperm donor services that provide sperm only, and not treatment, except where the sperm is stored.

Where the HFEA becomes aware that an organisation in the United Kingdom is offering services that may be covered by the Act, a thorough investigation is made to establish the nature of the service. If licensable, the HFEA will require that activity to cease until such time as a licence may be granted.

Women wishing to have a child using donor sperm are strongly advised by the HFEA to seek treatment from a licensed clinic, where they can be sure that the services will be provided in a safe and ethical environment. Patients obtaining fresh donor sperm from the internet for personal use, which is not subject to a licence from the HFEA, cannot be sure that the sample has undergone the same rigorous health checks to prevent the risk of transmitting HIV or serious genetics disorders.

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