Belgium sperm banks are undersupplied and waiting times for would-be families continues to grow, as per recent reports. It can now take between six months and one year to obtain a healthy sperm sample.
According to several media reports, around six in ten children raised from sperm donors have biological Danish fathers as much of the sperm used in Belgium are purchased from abroad.
As per the World Bank, “With women having children much later in life than in previous generations, fertility has become an important issue, increasing the need for sperm banks. Each year, there are 8,000-9,000 artificial inseminations in Belgium, leading to the birth of 800-900 children. In 2019, the birth rate in Belgium was 1.57 births per woman.”
Meanwhile, Annick Delvigne, head of the medically assisted procreation service at CHC MontLegia, said, “For a long time, we have been collecting our sperm abroad, including Scandinavian nations. But even with the Scandinavian nations, we are obliged to respect a limited number of families, with a certain number of donors to avoid consanguinity.”
Delvigne added, “As a result of the rules and regulations, fertility centres find it difficult to have enough sperm on hand to offer to families with fertility issues. “It becomes excessively difficult, even with the help of foreign (sperm) banks, to have, within a reasonable time, sperms available for suffering couples.”
As such, prices at Belgian sperm banks are extremely high. One sample can cost around 400. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one family will spend just this amount. It often takes several attempts at insemination, as there is a 15-20% success rate each ovulation cycle.
Artificial insemination services are overwhelmingly used by single women or lesbian couples, who represent around 90% of the cases.