Head of Britain's only national sperm bank defends low donor reports

By Katie Wilson: ITV News

The boss of Britain's only national sperm bank has hit back at reports they have only attracted nine donors since it opened its doors a year ago.

Laura Witjens told ITV News that while the figure is correct, those nine men can help 90 families achieve their dream of having a child.

And she said they are only four donors short of meeting their target for the end of March 2016.

"Since the story broke we have received more calls in one day than we have in the last three months, so we are hopeful we will get even more donors that we predicted," she said.

Ms Witjens, who is chief executive of The National Sperm Bank, says one of the biggest myths surrounding sperm donation is that biological fathers may end up being legally responsible for any future offspring conceived as a result.

The law did change in 2005 allowing children of sperm donors to find out who their father was when they turned 18 if they want to.

However, the father is under no legal or financial obligation to the child, who by then would be an adult anyway.

The sperm bank boss said men should not be put off by the process and focus on what it can achieve. Credit: PA

"We need ordinary guys who can help us do something extraordinary - give the gift of life," Ms Witjens said.

"I donated my eggs myself when I was 35 after having my twins at 34, and for me it was one of the best things I could do.

"I can't imagine not having a family myself so it was amazing to be able to help other people."

Men who give sperm will receive £35 per visit but the average donor will give about 20 donations over a period of a few months.

Ms Witjens explained: "One donor can help 10 families. I've seen what a difference it can make to people so I'm asking men to forget about the process and think about the happiness someone will get from what you are doing.

"Whenever I start speaking to men about it and explain it, they always change their mind.

"We expect to be financially independent by next year, but we really need more men to come forward so we can start solving the crisis."

For more information visit The National Sperm Bank