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App for finding sperm donors launches in UK

Tackling the global sperm shortage

Picking a sperm donor is now like picking a partner for people in the UK.

The London Sperm Bank’s new mobile app puts its portfolio of donors into a simple, searchable app.

People can sort donors by specific traits, including eye color, hair color, race and ethnic origin. The app also includes personality profiles of the sperm donors, who are numbered aliases within the app.

Related: Sperm specialist: How one clinic is satisfying global demand

The London Sperm Bank is one of the biggest in the UK, with 25,000 vials of donor sperm available at any time.

london sperm bank app

The app, which launched last week, has faced criticism for letting people choose children like they choose outfits, but it’s no different than what potential parents already do on paper at the clinic.

According to Laura Spoelstra, independent fertility expert and part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA) Donation Advisory Group, the app just takes what people are already doing and packages it in an easier form.

“People who need a sperm donor, they have already imagined this person,” Spoelstra told CNNMoney. “What they typically want is a donor who fits the family as best as possible.”

sperm bank app

In the UK, the majority of people who seek sperm donors are heterosexual couples, she said.

Sperm donors are vetted by regulatory agencies including HEFA to ensure the health and viability of their sperm, and parents are also screened for health and child welfare issues once they have decided on a donor.

It costs around $1,200 to secure a sperm donor through the London Sperm Bank, on top of the cost of fertility treatment.

While the process is not much different than traditional methods of finding a donor, the app shows how industries outside of food or transportation are catering to our on-demand desires. In seconds, and from the comfort of their couch, people can potentially change their lives forever.