Cambridge IVF expert rejects sperm claims

Last week claims were made that young men should freeze their sperm to avoid the risk of genetic disorders.

“In principle, it would be straightforward for young men (aged perhaps 18) to elect to have their sperm stored until starting a family at an older age, thus avoiding a build-up of new mutations,”

Our consultant embryologist Stephen Harbottle disagrees and rejects sperm claims.

He says “I think that’s unnecessary scaremongering. What he’s saying is not based on any brilliant evidence. I think to suggest that we take reproduction to that level where everybody has a bank of sperm is not morally or ethically acceptable.”

To read article, click here.

Stephen on the radio

Stephen also spoke live on BBC Radio Cambridge on Thursday 25 June regarding this story.

Chris Mann starts the interview with the question ''Should all 18 year old men be offered the chance to have their sperm frozen for use in later life?''

Kevin Smith, a researcher who suggested this idea says ''I think that what should be done in the NHS is over the next few years move towards offering sperm banking for all young males. So that their sperm can be banked.''

Stephen Harbottle, our Consulta Embryologist here at Cambridge IVF says ''I'm concerned, and I think this is unnecessary scaremongering. I think to suggest that all men should be banking sperm at the age of 18 is dangerous advice and the evidence that it's based upon is really a very, very small risk. I think to suggest that we need to do this for 18 year olds is ridiculous''

''We all support the advice that men should be having children younger and our society should shift to support that, and as a society we should perhaps be looking at ways to support that, but I certainly wouldn't recommend that banking sperm at 18 with the intention of using it in your late 20's, I don't think is going to confirm any significant benefit at all.''

Chris Mann says ''We are heading towards a society where IVF is almost a standard!''

Stephen then says ''That's my concern, that's what I very strongly want to avoid. Imagine a world in which assisted conception was our normal way of starting a family? When we consider the value of the family unit and we have a society under pinned by that importance, my view is that conception the old-fashioned way which has served us well for millenniums should remain our primary aim of bringing babies into the world.''

To listen to the whole interview (starts at 09:25, Stephen speaks at 11:45), click here.

Monday 29 June 2015