Just read this in the Guardian:
Desperately seeking sperm donors
Squeamish, ashamed, or simply fearful? Whatever the reason, men don’t want to donate sperm – and rising demand has created a dire shortage. Can a new National Sperm Bank stiffen their resolve?
So reading it, I was thinking 'nope, it's because of changes to anonymity'. Playing up this angle of shame associated with masturbation, and that if it was a surgical procedure, there'd be less shame associated with it? Please.
"By 2004, the year before the law was changed to forbid anonymous donations, the number had fallen to 239, as potential donors melted away at the thought of being confronted by future children."
I really don't think there's anything more to it than that. Donation is a lot more attractive given anonymity. Take that away, and of course donations are going to, uh, dry up. Many men may be willing to help out, but a lot fewer men are willing to have some kind of relationship/association/contact down the road. It changed donation from something akin to blood donation to something like choosing Door Number Three.
Which is not to say that taking away anonymity was a bad thing -- it's certainly understandable from the child's perspective. It was, however, a perfectly predictable result, and we chose to accept that trade-off.
Anyway, it's all interesting, particularly in light of my cousin's experience with a Danish donor, whom I'm assuming is of the same source as the one in the story. She did two rounds, I think, about $75K all told? Her search became an exercise in eugenics, which to me was a bit off-putting. She works with kids, but didn't want to adopt because with adopted kids, 'there's always something wrong with them'. Nice.
Needless to say, my cousin and I aren't very close. She's a very forceful personality, and more than a little bit selfish. Perhaps that's all tempering my views on the subject.
Dunno. Being childless myself, and simply not seeing that in the cards for me, I take it as a hint that Mother Nature is trying to tell me something, and I accept that. I completely understand that others do not. A chacun son goût.