FDA Rules Block Import of Prized Danish Sperm

US running low on popular 'Viking' sperm, barred by Mad Cow safeguards

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 13, 2008 7:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – FDA rules banning European sperm imports are driving some would-be American mothers to desperation, the Washington Post reports. Sperm from Danish donors used to be a popular import. But regulations to safeguard the US from a human form of Mad Cow disease have shut down the supply and sperm banks are running low. Critics say the policy is unreasonable.

The risk of Mad Cow infection is "too small and too insignificant to even be described," complained the director of California's Cryobank, which is down to its last few vials of "Sven" and "Olaf."  Danish donations had been prized because the donors tended to be blond, blue-eyed, tall, and highly educated. Women seeking a full sibling for an earlier baby from donated European sperm are now having to fly abroad—or haggle with women who have leftover vials.

The director of the Cryos sperm bank poses in its Copenhagen offices. Exports from Cryos to its sister bank in California have been banned by the FDA>
The director of the Cryos sperm bank poses in its Copenhagen offices. Exports from Cryos to its sister bank in California have been banned by the FDA>   (Getty Images)
Danes begin the 2008 Copenhagen Marathon. Danish men tend to be tall and highly educated, and to donate sperm for altruistic reasons, making their donations a popular US import.
Danes begin the 2008 Copenhagen Marathon. Danish men tend to be tall and highly educated, and to donate sperm for altruistic reasons, making their donations a popular US import.   ((c) rKistian)
Vials of sperm are frozen at Cryos International, a sperm bank that imported sperm from Scandinavian donors before a government ban.
Vials of sperm are frozen at Cryos International, a sperm bank that imported sperm from Scandinavian donors before a government ban.   (Getty Images)
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"The demand was huge. In addition to being tall and well educated, their motivations for donation are quite sincere—they want to help childless couples. They tended to sell out very fast. - Peter Bower of Nordic Cryobank

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