Website donor.nu will help people in Sweden who are looking for, or want to donate, eggs or sperm contact each other. Surrogate mothers, or women who are prepared to carry and give birth to a child on behalf of another, can also be found on the site.
“There is no forum for these people today,” site creator Tony Jakobsson told medical weekly Dagens Medicin. “What should they do? Advertise on [online classified site] Blocket?”
He likens the business to an online dating site, where people can register and interact anonymously until they decide to meet. Possible fees are negotiated later on by the respective parties.
Children who are born from the donations in the medical care system have a legal right to know their genetic origins when they reach the age of majority.
Swedish law differs from Denmark, where a sex cell donor can choose to remain anonymous. Jakobsson came across the idea for his site after a relative had complained about the “peculiar laws” in Sweden.
Marianne van Rooij, director of operations for the women’s clinic at Karolinska University Hospital, believes that the legislation is the reason why there is a shortage of egg and sperm donors in the country.
“One does not think about the possibility of donating, quite simply,” she told news agency TT. “I can understand that it is extremely hard for them who stand in line waiting for treatment. This is of course expected. Consequently, there is a market for this service.”
In Stockholm alone, 1,700 couples are on a waiting list, of which 70 percent are lesbian couples, said van Rooij. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) sees no legal barriers regarding the activities of donor.nu.
“There are no legal obstacles for people who want to have children, but do not want any love or friendship relationship,” Elin Siljehag, lawyer at the agency’s department of rules for permission, told Dagens Medicin.