Fam­ily plan­ners ad­mit: it’s not all go­ing swim­mingly

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BYTOMTUGEND

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.

“Allthe­seg­rand­chil­drenand youn­ev­er­in­vi­teone­todin­ner”

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