There isn’t much you can’t get at the touch of a button these days.
In the age of Tinder, Bumble and Deliveroo and with a whole world of possibilities instantly on demand and at our finger tips there is a new player in town.
“Looking for donor sperm? Now you can browse the UK’s largest donor catalogue from your phone!” Proclaims London Sperm Donor Bank on its App storefront.
This first-of-its-kind app promises to offer women and couples a more convenient and stream-lined selection process when it comes to finding the right sperm donor in the form of a simple, searchable app.
Users are able to select from an extensive list of attributes to filter their choice by “physical characteristics, achievements, donor self-summaries, staff impressions, pen sketches and much more.” Want a Spanish speaking, green eyed, blonde haired, physicist? You can try… And if your dream selection isn’t already on the database the app promises to send you an alert as soon as a match appears.
The app also claims to offer plenty of choice – with over 25,000 vials of carefully selected and screened donor sperm at any given time. Every single donor listed on the app has had to be vetted by the British Andrology Society, the British Fertility Society and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), to ensure the sperm being donated is healthy and suitable for freezing, as well as being free from genetic conditions, infections or diseases.
But is selecting sperm as easily as you can summon an Uber actually a good thing?
The release of the app has been met with criticism by some for trivialising parenthood and by others suggesting that the ability to filter down personal characteristics to the point of selecting preferred eye colour will act as a form of eugenic selection in the mission to create the perfect designer baby.
However, this is the same legal operation already in play at traditional sperm banks and in reality the decision to become a mother, and the many complex and difficult reasons for choosing to do this with the help of donor sperm, doesn’t quite tally with the image being painted of an on demand baby-daddy delivery service. Above and beyond the financial commitment, £950 per vial (despite the offer of free delivery), choosing who should father your child isn’t a decision anybody would advocate taking lightly.
London Sperm Donor’s themselves say on their website “it’s a decision you will cherish for life, so take your time and choose well.” We should hope so too.
But – and clever PR spin aside – used wisely, surely the more information and options open to us and the more easily accessible these are the better.