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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Clinic 'to export sperm to the UK'
Sperm bank
A clinic in the United States says it has applied for a licence to export sperm to the UK.

The New England Cryogenic Center in Boston wants to give UK couples access to sperm from American men to help them to have children.

It is planning to allow UK couples to choose sperm on the basis of the physical appearance, personality and education of the donor.


We aim to offer couples a wider choice but we are a long way from that actually happening

Dr Maxim Segal, North East London Fertility Service
However, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said it had not received an application from or on behalf of the centre.

In a statement, the Boston sperm bank said it was hoping to team up with a London clinic to offer the sperm of American men.

London link-up

"New England Cryogenic Center has applied for license with the Human Fertilisation Authority in the UK for permission to import bulk shipments of donor semen into the UK."

The statement added: "NECC has partnered with the North East London Fertility Service in Essex, run by Dr Maxim Segal, to bring our specimens into the UK.

"Once we have been approved for bulk shipping of specimen, the majority of our over 120 donors will then become available to UK facilities that wish to expand on their very low amount of available."

Speaking to BBC News Online, Dr Segal said: "I am having a meeting with the chief executive of the centre in a few weeks time with a view to hopefully setting up a branch of their organisation in this country and we will be in discussions with the HFEA."

Patient choice

Dr Segal said he wanted to offer couples a greater choice when it comes to choosing sperm.

This would include allowing couples to choose sperm from an ethnic minority donor if desired and enabling them to find out more about the donor.

"Patients want to know more about donors and donors in this country give restricted or very little information. In the US, they tell patients pretty much everything about the donor, such as their physical features and education."

He added: "We aim to offer couples a wider choice but we are a long way from that actually happening."

A spokeswoman for the HFEA said it could only award a licence to a clinic based in the UK to receive imported sperm.

"A clinic in the United States could not make an application," she said.

"As far as we are aware we haven't received any applications connected to this facility."

See also:

26 Jul 02 | Health
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24 Jun 02 | Health
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