Why not change the British rules on British donations?

The sperm shortage sounds, initially, like a rather silly story, an example of “project fear” at its most desperate, and it has been covered in a typically smutty way by the tabloids, who say we must stiffen our resolve, and harden our intentions, to produce more sperm, exactly as one would expect them to.

But the breakdown in supplies of European, and specifically Danish, sperm will have genuine detrimental consequences for British couples trying to conceive artificially, and for scientific research, an area already set to be severely damaged by the withdrawal of EU funding and data sharing. With a national fertility crisis mushrooming, and our status as a global leader in scientific breakthroughs threatened, there has never been a worse time for Britain to be shut out of the sperm loop.

The thing being there’re plenty of willing volunteers out there but they’ve been regulated out of that legal market. One only has to look for the stories about people doing it all privately on Facebook to realise that.

34 thoughts on “Why not change the British rules on British donations?”

  1. “national fertility crisis ”

    Really?

    Given that the consensus seems to be we have too many people already, why would a reduction in fertility be a crisis?

  2. You mean…deregulation? (Staggers away, reeling, staring in shock and holding out hands in a warding off gesture)

    Won’t someone think of the children?

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    “an area already set to be severely damaged by the withdrawal of EU funding and data sharing. ”

    As we’re net contributors to the EU there’s going to be surplus funds to bid for, only it will be our MPs who decide how our tax payers’ money is spent.

    Furthermore, scientists collaborate all round the world, if they aren’t allowed to they tend to move jobs. If the EU decides it doesn’t want its scientists collaborating with the rest of the world its their loss.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    One of the many good things about Brexit is that it is smoking out all those who are making a nice tidy living out of the tax payer without having to justify their existence to the tax payer.

  5. If seed could still be donated anonymously without the future prospect of somebody you never heard of and don’t want to hear of running up to you squealing “Daddy, My Daddy” Railway Children-style there would likely not be a shortage of donors.

    Also, as somebody said on the last thread to have covered this topic, femmi-scum will doubtless extend your role as a “parent” to paying support and writing them into your will. Only a matter of time.

  6. @BiND By any measure, the top 10 universities in Europe are all outside the EU (9 in the UK + ETH Zurich), The claimed post-Brexit collapse of academia really is ‘fog in channel, continent cut off’.

  7. @starfish

    “really?”

    A lot of people are having children older – or trying to and failing. New lifestage patterns are bound to put pressure on fertility services.

  8. @MyBurning Ears

    In that case they have made a conscious decision to delay having children and therefore increasing the risk that they may not conceive without assistance

    why is this society’s problem?

    I note that chavs seem to have no problem proreating, often through a drunken haze and drug fuddled existence – why is their fertility so relatively high?

  9. @starfish

    It’s more rational to postpone procreation if you’re a young graduate professional and want to work your way up the ladder a bit first. May well be into your 30s before you can afford a house of your own, for starters. More rational to procreate early if the housing comes free or subsidised and a sprog gets you put into somewhere better/bigger. There’s more to it than that, including the timing of when you meet a partner you deem suitable (one of Tim Newman’s pet projects) but it isn’t incomprehensibly irrational.

    Why is it deemed society’s problem? Well nice middle-class middle-aged couples should be given a shot at sprogging off, seems to be the accepted majority view. Lots of countries struggle to get that demographic to reproduce themselves – the government of Singapore has various policies in place to try to encourage well-educated professional women to have kids, for example.

  10. In that case they have made a conscious decision to delay having children and therefore increasing the risk that they may not conceive without assistance

    why is this society’s problem?

    We need healthy birthrates, or we won’t have a society in the longer term.

    IVF is almost certainly the wrong way to go about it tho, due to cost, difficulty, the poor yield of babies and the lifelong serious health problems IVF kids are at risk from.

    A better approach would be to identify and tackle the anti-natal features of modern life. Why are we encouraging reasonably bright young women to spend their most fertile years studying degrees of questionable academic worth and marginal economic benefit?

    Why do we shower kids with condoms, but not explain the facts of life – such as the steep decline in fertility after the age of 30 – to them?

    Why did we decide to replace marriage (as the economic basis for supporting women and children) with child support, and can we go back?

    Why is it so difficult for young couples to get on the housing ladder?

    Why do we permit around 200,000 abortions a year – nearly all of them performed for reasons of convenience?

  11. @Steve

    Whilst I agree on every point, you sound like a Tracy Chapman song.

    15th verse:
    Why has it been made so hard/expensive for the target demographic to deal with childcare in subsequent years? Seriously – £8/900 per MONTH for creche/care?

  12. Justin,

    Only £900 a month? Where do I sign up? We’re paying £1400 or so.

    One of the main causes of high childcare costs is the barriers to entry. Merely registering as a childminder (to look after up to three children at your home) can take several months.

  13. There was a segment on Women’s Hour* this morning with people bemoaning the fact that the cost of living for people with children is higher than the cost of living for people without children. You start to think some of these people have part of their brain missing.

    *Actually Women’s 42 Minutes, wot with the news and the morning play.

  14. “A better approach would be to identify and tackle the anti-natal features of modern life. Why are we encouraging reasonably bright young women to spend their most fertile years studying degrees of questionable academic worth and marginal economic benefit?”

    It’s a total mess.

    Three things I want drowning in a vat of elephant shit: 1) going to “uni” b) travel c) London obsessives.

    If you’re a nerd who really wants to do serious learning, go to university. Otherwise don’t. Get a job. I work with people with degrees who are doing nothing with it. 30 years ago they had A levels.

    Then there’s these women who want to travel, to “see the world”. When all they really do is go to well developed places with a few monuments and the same shit as everywhere else. Get a job. Have a baby.

    Finally, why the fuck is anyone living in London. You have these women renting flats doing wank jobs that could be done in Runcorn, going out with some manchild web designer with a man bun drinking craft ale instead of marrying a plasterer called Dave in Runcorn with a sensible haircut who drinks lager.

    “It’s impossible to get on the housing ladder”. Move somewhere cheap. Get a job. Stop fucking off to Hanoi to get a really expensive Instagram feed. Not saying it’s everything, but you’re not helping.

  15. Oh, and if you want to learn stuff, buy books and read them like a modern person rather than someone living before the reformation. Photography degrees? There’s thousands of books, many at pocket money prices to learn from.

  16. Rocco: I sincerely hope you burned all the tissues afterwards. The idea of said ‘product’ being available on the Facebook market for this is kind of worrying.

  17. @BoM4

    At least part of the cause of degree-credentialism is information asymmetry in the labour market. With online job search and application tools, employers can be getting hundreds or even thousands of applicants they don’t know from Adam, so they’re going to need to filter on something. Even if the correlation between letters-after-the-name and on-the-job performance is a weak one, you’d still expect it to be positive, so you end up with signalling effects.

    I suspect part of the solution would be to switch to more aptitude or even IQ-style tests, rather than focusing on the degree (or lack thereof). Labour psychologists seem pretty convinced that g explains a large proportion of job performance, presumably because some people pick up the required skills faster than others. There are various legal difficulties with using IQ or aptitude tests for job selection in the USA due to anti-discrimination laws, but I don’t think the same applies in the UK (and ironically, to the extent that filtering by education actually hits lower socio-economic groups the hardest, I suspect it might well be less discriminatory than the current system).

  18. Justin – I do like a fast car.

    BoM4 – Yarp. And what MBE said.

    The university sector might be the most perfect example of market failure in the modern world. As Wikipedo says:

    Market failures are often associated with time-inconsistent preferences,[5] information asymmetries,[6] non-competitive markets, principal–agent problems, or externalities.[7]

    Which of these don’t apply to our HE sector today? We’d be immediately better off if every single institution was razed to the ground – with the lecturers trapped inside.

    I was listening to an interview with the splendid Sir Clive Sinclair recently. Uncle Clive didn’t bother with university. His one-time micro rival Lord Sugar didn’t go to university. Richard Branson didn’t go to university. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were college dropouts. Et cetera, et cetera.

    But Theresa May went to Oxford.

    Meanwhile, the press last year reported that 33% of school leavers now go to university – the largest number in history – and presented that depressing statistic as a good thing. Well, why?

    The cargo cult metaphor is overdone, but I can’t help but think naive cannibals who venerate Prince Philip are more sensible than we are when it comes to what we laughingly call “education”. Isolated tribes in the Pacific are unlikely to keep building more and more mock airports out of coconut shells after the first ones demonstrably fail to deliver the goods.

    I’m not sure what it’s going to take to burst the HE bubble, but it’s well overdue a thorough popping.

  19. Surely the general idea is doing away with the whites. The migration policy throughout the west seems to back this. A Marxist state can then evolve.
    And lets admit you all voted for governments that started this.

    So wave goodbye.

  20. @Steve

    Further to that, a big problem is that for middle-class parents, making sure that their darling son/daughter goes to university and “continues the line” is a very high priority. So there’s always going to be demand there. And they’re going to get all the help that’s necessary – if they can’t afford a place in a private school, they’ll try for the catchment of a good state school, there are private tutors and plain traditional parenting, sitting helping them with their reading or homework when they’re younger.

    So a large proportion of these middle-class kids are going to go to uni. And the government isn’t dare going to turn a big proportion of them away. On the flip side, it can’t afford to let the universities and then the graduate professions be monopolised entirely by middle-class nice-but-dim kids, you’ve got to do something for social mobility, and then the signalling effect means employers prefer graduates so you’ve got to try to shovel as many of the working classes into uni too. Often ones who’ve been to crappy schools that haven’t really prepared them for uni. So then for those kids, and for the dimmer middle-class one, it’s handy there are unis whose entry criteria are risibly low. Never mind the outcomes of such an “education”.

    And then of course, whatever fraction of the population has graduated in this generation, they all want their kids to do so in turn, while if you want to avoid having hereditary castes you now need to bring some in from the kids of the non-graduate group, and the game just goes on.

  21. Hold on…. the Danes have donated plenty in the past… Why the sudden aversion?

    Apparently the thought of Brexit is putting them all off their strokes.

  22. Henry Crun,

    Net, I don’t believe so. You earn more but your costs go up. Plus I don’t understand the point now. There used to be stuff you only got in London, but you get the she stuff everywhere.

  23. MBE,

    “I suspect part of the solution would be to switch to more aptitude or even IQ-style tests, rather than focusing on the degree (or lack thereof)”

    Id rather hire a sixth former with GCSE computer science who’s built a noddy app and can talk me through it and can pass an aptitude test than someone with a degree in computer science.

    Because the judgement criteria of university is variable and increasingly rote and bureaucratic, like adding modules on ethics. The lecturers are either losers or theoretical. Knowing the fetch-execute cycle is like a writer knowing how biros work.

    That certificate tells me that you might be excellent. Not that you will. Which means I have to run my own tests. Like I do with people who built a crappy app. But the difference there is that based on experience, those people are energetic, enthusiastic and deliver.

    What should also be understood is how much degrees are about CYA. Managers and HR can say they did their job. It’s one reason the myth of “must get a degree” exists. If you want to get into some giant bureaucracy with an atrium and diversity officers, you need a degree. But web marketing companies don’t care. You’re working for one of the owners.

  24. Steve:

    “I’m not sure what it’s going to take to burst the HE bubble, but it’s well overdue a thorough popping.”

    Purge.

  25. @BoM4

    COYA is a good point.

    The “rather hire someone who made their own app” idea might not scale well if you’ve got several hundred applicants for the post and they’ve all made an app at some point (even if as part of coursework). Perhaps bigger firms need filters more than smaller ones for that reason.

  26. MBE,

    It’s more about employers getting involved in groups, events, connecting to schools, open source projects, CoderDojos etc.

  27. @BoM4

    Interesting perspective thanks. Can see the argument that to get the best talent, employers should engage more with the relevant communities and also be prepared to invest in training someone up themselves. I guess the attraction of finding ready-made coders instead, whether that’s graduates of universities or another firm’s training programme, presents the free-rider problem.

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