The Squires almost choked on their soldiers during yesterday’s emission of the Today Programme on Radio 4. Could they be hearing right? Was Brexit really going to lead to a sperm shortage?
We’d heard it all before from Project Fear … car parts shortages, a massive drop in employment, economy shrinks that made the Wall Street Crash seem like a walk in the park, planes falling out of the sky and pharma shortages. Not to mention the need to stock up on tins, wave goodbye to oranges and expect a future of eating chicken which reeked of the public swimming baths.
Geetha Venkat, director of the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, was not beating around the bush. She sounded genuinely worried. She told BBC radio on Friday that couples were “panicking.” Venkat said a legislative change on U.S. sperm imports meant these could take up to three months, while the imports from Denmark currently now take only a week but could halt with Brexit. Extra paperwork could create additional costs which could be passed on to couples, she warned. “If there is Brexit with no deal, we do not know what is going to happen,” she cried, adding: “As it is, it’s a stressful treatment, and this is going to add to that.”
Government advice published on Thursday said Britain imported around 3,000 sperm samples from a commercial sperm bank in Denmark last year, as well as around 4,000 samples from the United States. The reason sperm donations in Britain have fallen sharply since donors lost the right to anonymity under a law that came into force in 2005. Britain also imports a small number of eggs and embryos from other EU countries, amounting to around 500 last year.
If Brexit talks collapse, the government said the laws currently governing sperm imports, the EU Organ Directives and EU Tissues and Cells Directives, would no longer apply to Britain. Fertility banks “would need new written agreements with relevant EU establishments,” the government said, adding that this would “for the most part be a minimum burden on industry. UK licensed establishments that already hold an import licence to import tissues and cells from third countries will be able to use their existing written agreements with third country organisations as a template,” it said.
Seems rather over-egged from Project Fear?
Let’s side on caution.
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