8 September 2014

Father's Day: Appeal to share the love

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Melbourne IVF

Whether you’re a dad already, or would like to be one, or have no interest in changing nappies, this Father’s Day there are many people who would like you to think about where that process begins.

Men, you may have received socks as a gift this morning – but it’s also a Sunday to think about your sperm.

There are many roads to fatherhood and on a day of gift-giving, fertility experts would like Australian men to think about parting with something precious.

‘‘Donating sperm is an altruistic act in Australia and one that helps more than 300 people each year in Victoria have a family of their own,’’ says Dr Lyndon Hale, medical director of the Melbourne IVF clinic. ‘‘Male infertility impacts about 50 per cent of couples presenting for fertility treatment, and while in most cases this can be overcome with specialised forms of treatment, there will be a small number of couples who will be required to consider alternative methods including using a sperm donor.’’

One such couple is Lachlan and Natalie Campbell, whose life as a couple began when they met on their mutual birthday. They’ve been married three years, and hit a roadblock in having a child. Mr Campbell, who had been treated for a testosterone deficiency, had no detectable sperm. After numerous IVF cycles, they decided to proceed with sperm donation when Mr Campbell, 42, had a last-ditch surgical procedure to extract his own sperm — which was successful. Baby Stephanie was born 16 months ago. Fertility treatment has left the couple joyful new parents – and fierce advocates of the need for men to consider helping others.

‘‘There’s a lot of wonderful potential parents out there who might not get the opportunity,’’ Mr Campbell says. ‘‘Things like adoption can be very challenging in this country and . . . whether it’s donor sperm or donor eggs, it’s probably the most selfless and amazing gift you can give.’’

Dr Hale said changes passed by the Victorian Parliament last week brought the rights of pre-1988 sperm donors and donor children in line with the rights of those covered by later legislation. The changes allow for information and contact between donors and children, with the donor’s consent.

Source: The Sunday Age - Neil McMahon, Sunday 7th September 2014

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