Sign In
April 15, 202112:18 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Sweden faces sperm deficit as pandemic keeps donors away from clinics
Colm FultonColm Fulton

3 minute read
Frozen vials of sperm are seen preserved in an azote cooled container in a laboratory in Paris, France, September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Sweden is facing an acute shortage of sperm for assisted pregnancy as would-be donors avoid hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, halting inseminations in large parts of the healthcare system and driving up waiting times by years.
"We're running out of sperm. We've never had so few donors as during the last year," said Ann Thurin Kjellberg, head of the reproduction unit at Gothenburg's University Hospital.
The shortage has meant waiting times for assisted pregnancy have shot up from around six months to an estimated 30 months in the past year, possibly longer, doctors familiar with the matter told Reuters.
"It's stressful that we can't get a clear time or date for treatment," said Elin Bergsten, a 28-year-old maths teacher from southern Sweden.
Two years ago, Bergsten and her husband learned he was unable to produce semen, and the pair immediately applied for assisted pregnancy. She was due to have her second cycle of insemination before her treatment was indefinitely delayed due to the shortage.
"It's a national phenomenon," Thurin Kjellberg said. "We've run out in Gothenburg and Malmo, they will soon run out in Stockholm," she added, naming the three most populous areas of the country.
Beyond public healthcare providers, there are also private clinics in Sweden which are able to circumvent shortages by buying sperm from abroad.
But assisted pregnancy treatment there often costs as much as 100,000 Swedish crowns ($11,785), making it unaffordable for many. Assisted pregnancy is free within Sweden's national health service.
The Nordic countries and Belgium have the highest assisted conception rates in the world, in terms of availability of cycles per million of population, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
Under Swedish law, a sperm sample can only be used by a maximum of 6 women. Most donated sperm in Sweden has reached this legal capacity, meaning that in many areas, assisted pregnancy is only available for women who have used a specific sperm sample before.
Margareta Kitlinski, who runs the reproduction unit at Skane University Hospital, the largest such clinic in Sweden, said it takes around 8 months to process a donor due to the many tests involved, and that many samples fail to become viable donations due to common problems in freezing.
"If you have 50 men contact you, at best only half of them could be donors," Kitlinski said.
Some Swedish regions have taken to social media to encourage potential male donors, but with varying results. In the meantime, the shortage lingers.
"We need to go on TV and tell Swedish men to come forward," Thurin Kjellberg said.
($1 = 8.4850 Swedish crowns)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Read Next
Read Next
Number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care falls in France
10:42 AM PDT
Read Next
Indian variant will become dominant in the UK, top medic says
10:43 AM PDT
Read Next
UK's Johnson warns Indian variant could impact lockdown easement
10:31 AM PDT
Read Next
U.S. House panel to hold May 18 hearing over AbbVie drug pricing
9:58 AM PDT

Sign up for our newsletter
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals · 7:56 AM PDT
India 'on war footing' as coronavirus infections pass 24 mln
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of COVID-19 through India's vast countryside on Friday, as 4,000 people died from the virus for the third straight day and total infections crossed 24 million.
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Indian variant will become dominant in the UK, top medic says
10:35 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
U.S. officials hope new mask advice drives uptick in COVID shots
10:30 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Vacations in mind, younger French people rush for vaccines
10:31 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Denmark excavates mink from mass graves over health concerns
10:25 AM PDT
About Reuters
About Reuters
Reuters News Agency
Brand Attribution Guidelines
Reuters Leadership
Reuters Fact Check
Reuters Diversity Report
Stay Informed
Download the App
Information you can trust
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Follow Us
Thomson Reuters Products
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Refinitiv Products
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets - delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Refinitiv Data Platform
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
Advertise With Us
Advertising Guidelines
Terms of Use
Site Feedback

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved