Quebecers buy sperm on social networks

Quebecers buy sperm on social networks

Quebecers take the risk of turning to social networks and websites to find a sperm donor, discouraged by the long delays and complexity of government-supervised fertility services.

• Also read: Assisted reproduction: six months for a first public appointment

• Also read: Private fertility clinics ignore the CAQ assisted reproduction program

Émilie Durand, a Charlevoix resident, took steps with the health network to become a single mother in March 2022.

The 41-year-old woman is on a waiting list for fertility services at a Quebec-area clinic. With no news for nearly a year, she feels discouraged. “Devastated, completely devastated. That’s why I’m looking for something else. It doesn’t make sense,” she tells the JE team.

Ms. Durand has therefore decided to turn to social networks to find a sperm donor. This is the last hope of realizing his dream of starting a family.

Lots of risks

The report on his case, which will air on TVA tonight at 9.30pm, lifts the veil on this parallel universe of online sperm donation and the risks involved.

Public and private reproductive centers offer a much better setting.

Screenshot of JE

Public and private reproductive centers offer a much better setting.

The health risks are numerous when a woman resorts to donated sperm from a stranger without going through the health care network, says Dr. William Buckett of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) Reproduction Center.

Here at MUHC's in vitro fertilization laboratory, a specialist uses an inverted microscope to select the best sperm and inject it into the egg.

Screenshot of JE

Here at MUHC’s in vitro fertilization laboratory, a specialist uses an inverted microscope to select the best sperm and inject it into the egg.

” We do not know [l’état] physical and mental health, all risks of infection, disease, etc. “, he describes.

Finding men willing to donate their sperm can be done in minutes on Facebook or on specialized forums. The JE team easily managed to obtain a sample in a simple plastic container after coming into contact with donors. Some had not been tested for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs).

A donor met through Facebook gave our journalist a sperm sample in a plastic container.

Screenshot of JE

A donor met through Facebook gave our journalist a sperm sample in a plastic container.

These traditional methods are an easy way to avoid the hassles of the healthcare network and private clinics that offer many more supervised services.

return free of charge

The Association Infertilité Québec notes a 20% increase in requests for fertility services since March 2020 on the public and private network.

Waiting times “are due in particular to an increase in inquiries […] since the beginning of offering insured IVF services [fécondation in vitro] in November 2021,” wrote Noémie Vanheuverzwijn from the press office of the Ministry of Health via email.

From that date, the Ministry offered certain services, which had been paid for for several years, free of charge again.

The spokesman adds that the pandemic and work problems have also impacted wait times.

Céline Braun, president of Association Infertilité Québec, also notes that Quebecers are facing more and more fertility issues as they get older when they want children.

“This is often due to the fact that people work, study and enter the labor market later. […] We wanted to start a social, buy a house, ”she explains, which delays the project of starting a family.

Attractive offers… or not

With just a few clicks you can find volunteers offering their sperm for free on Facebook. Here are some examples :

fertility

fertility

fertility

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A LACK OF RAW MATERIALS

For assisted reproduction clinics, whether public or private, finding sperm is not easy.

The Quebec Department of Health confirms that there is no distributor of semen samples in the province. A spokesman explained via email that “the only seed bank is private [clinique ovo] and is reserved for the needs of their patients”.

Reproductive centers must therefore look abroad, particularly to the United States, explains Céline Braun of the Association Infertilité Québec.

“Unfortunately, these banks are currently empty or almost empty,” she complains.

Ms. Braun believes that Canada and Quebec should consider the possibility of rewarding donors like in the United States.

So there could be seed banks in Quebec.

Three ways to access fertility services

TO THE PUBLIC :

1669468019 725 Bulletins of the week in the National Assembly

Costs ▸ The Régie de l’assurance maladie includes a cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and a maximum of six artificial inseminations.

establishments ▸ There are 15 public assisted reproduction centers in Quebec. CHU Sainte-Justine and McGill University Health Center are the only two that offer in vitro fertilization services.

Monitoring and Precautions ▸ Centers for artificial insemination must in particular assess the suitability of the donor and the quality of the semen. They also ensure the preservation and quarantine of sperm.

TO PRIVATE:

1669468019 725 Bulletins of the week in the National Assembly

Costs ▸ The cost of a simple IVF cycle can range from $4000 to $8600. IVF treatment in a private practice costs approximately $475.

establishments ▸ There are seven private assisted reproductive clinics in Quebec that also provide services covered by the RAMQ.

Monitoring and Precautions ▸ Like public centers, private clinics must assess donor suitability and sperm quality. They also offer secure seed storage and quarantine.

CRAFTSMANSHIP DONATION:

(Without intermediaries such as doctor or health facility)

Quebecers shop for sperm on social networks

Costs ▸ Free. It is illegal for a donor to receive payments under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

establishments ▸ Several volunteer donors place ads on Facebook pages and discussion forums.

Monitoring and Precautions ▸ There is no oversight and arrangements can be made at the discretion of both parties. For example, a screening test for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) may be required of the donor.

It is also possible for a donor and a woman referred via the internet to go through a reproduction center afterwards, which ensures better care.

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