New Delhi, April 16, 2021: As the coronavirus scare increases rapidly with the second wave looming in, Sweden has had the highest coronavirus cases per capita in Europe recently. Amid the uncertainties of the pandemic, Sweden faces sperm shortage for assisted pregnancy as potential donors avoid hospitals citing health risks.
Sweden faces sperm shortage
As coronavirus cases are on the rise again, Sweden faces sperm shortage. Men are being urged to come forward after inseminations were halted in large parts of the healthcare system and waiting times were driven up sharply.
According to a Reuters report, there has been an abrupt stop in inseminations in large parts of the healthcare system and is increasing the waiting time for assisted pregnancy has drastically gone up from around six months to an estimated 30 months in the past year, possibly longer.
Sweden faces sperm shortage, cycles of assisted insemination interrupted
Hospitals in Sweden faces sperm shortage as men are avoiding the places due to the global pandemic.
“We’re running out of sperm. We’ve never had so few donors as during the last year,” Ann Thurin Kjellberg, head of the reproduction unit at Gothenburg’s University Hospital, told Reuters. The report says that this unusual crisis of sorts has meant that “It’s stressful that we can’t get a clear time or date for treatment,” Elin Bergsten, a 28-year-old maths teacher from southern Sweden, told Reuters.
Two years ago, Bergsten and her husband learned he was unable to produce semen, and the pair immediately applied for assisted pregnancy. She was due to have her second cycle of insemination before her treatment was indefinitely delayed due to the shortage.
Margareta Kitlinski, who runs the reproduction unit at Skane University Hospital, the largest such clinic in Sweden, said it takes around 8 months to process a donor due to the many tests involved, and that many samples fail to become viable donations due to common problems in freezing. “If you have 50 men contact you, at best only half of them could be donors,” Kitlinski said.
Amid Covid-19, price of sperms going higher
Private clinics can buy sperm from abroad but treatment can cost up to £8,500, making it unaffordable for many, while assisted pregnancy remains free within Sweden’s national health service.
Under Swedish law, a sperm sample can only be used by a maximum of six women so only those who have used a specific sperm sample before are able to use assisted pregnancy in many areas at the moment. Some regions have campaigned on social media to encourage male donors to take part, but they have had varying results.
Sweden has taken a different direction from most countries during the pandemic, spurning lockdowns instead of keeping businesses largely open with some restrictions. The country has reported 13,720 coronavirus deaths, higher than its Nordic neighbours but still lower than many other European countries.