Looking for an appropriate sperm donor? Sure, there's an app for that

Even sperm banks can benefit from modernization and mobile services. The U.K.’s London Sperm Bank, the nation’s largest, now has a mobile app to improve access for prospective parents searching for the right biological material, according to MIT Technology Review.

In addition to being the U.K.’s largest donor organization, the London Sperm Bank has the most extensive donor screening, with the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and several medical associations involved. There are other sperm donor sources, many of which have mobile apps, but the importance of medical screening means searching won’t be just on the basis of physical traits.

With more than 10,000 vials of sperm to choose from, the process can be lengthy. The hope is that adding the convenience of mobile devices for searches will help. The app has a “wish list function” with which prospective parents can specify exactly what they’re looking for in a donor. When a donor meets all the criteria on a wish list the users are sent notification alerts.

Ordering through the mobile app costs the same as ordering from the London Sperm Bank catalog. Each order costs about $1,200, although a visit to the website noted a 30-percent per-vial discount for multiple vial orders. The discount information is accompanied by a notice that “One vial is sufficient for a treatment cycle.”

Delivery is free within the U.K. but orders are not shipped to private homes. The sperm vials are sent only to fertility centers.

As the MIT Technology Review notes, the U.K. is a frontrunner in reproductive technologies. The first baby conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born in England in 1978, while the first IVF birth in the U.S. was in 1981. From a success rate of 5 percent in 1978, IVF is successful 40 to 50 percent of the time today. Adding the convenience of mobile app searching may not boost the conception success rate, but it is likely to make the search and filtering process much more convenient.

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