Family planners admit: it’s not all going swimmingly
THE ADVERTISEMENT by Cryobank Israel, which provides services to would-be parents –- single women, lesbian couples, men with poor sperm quality — sounded almost like a car dealer’s pitch.
“Cryobank Israel boasts of the largest selection of high quality, highly successful Jewish sperm donors… Our teams of experts work together to ensure our clients’ satisfaction.”
The problem is not getting customers for the product — but attracting producers to meet the demand.
D e s p i t e t h e macho image of its men, Israeli sperm quality is declining, as spelt out by Hody Nemes in The Forward.
Over a 15-year period, the quality of Israeli donors fell by more than one third, from 106 million sperms per millilitre to 68 million.
The drop is particularly worrying because the subjects of the study were veteran donors, picked for the high quality and abundance.
If this was happening among the most fertile men, what about the just average donor, asked Dr Ronit Haim- av-Kochman, head of the Hadassah Medical Sperm Bank in Jerusalem, who supervised the research study.
Even after lowering its acceptance standard, Dr Haimav-Kochman found that two thirds of applicants at the Hadassah Medical Centre were turned down on quality grounds.
To raise the campaign’s profile, the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa and a graphic design school produced a series of advertisements, aimed at male students. The results were posters with eye-catching punchlines, such as: “Think you are God’s gift to women? Prove it.”
But the number of donors needed is still lagging.
One answer has been to import supplies from abroad. For instance, the Cal i f o r ni a Cr y - o b a n k e x p o r t s more to Israel than to any other supplier.
Some 25 per cent of Cryobank Israel’s distribution comes from abroad, which raises religious questions.
For example: Is artificial insemination a form of adultery, as many rabbinical authorities believe?
As for the decline, theories so far include mobile phone radiation, tight clothing and climate change.