Anonymous sperm donation is something of a taboo subject in Belgium. One which is broken only by a regular spate of altogether negative coverage in the press. Sperm and egg-cell donors don’t exactly enjoy the best image in the public eye. And yet, what they do is quite a beautiful thing: giving the gift of life. So to counter falling donor numbers and to help meet the rising demand, a league of Belgian hospitals joined forces with Famous to put sperm donors in an entirely different light via a new platform levensdonoren.be and donneursdevie.be.
Here, visitors can read and listen to a selection of personal messages from anonymous donors addressed to future donor children. And see for themselves the principle motivation behind anonymous sperm donation: to give the gift of new life.
What we did.
We invited members of the press to a conference in the presence of experts in assisted reproduction along with sociologists and psychologists. The objective was to paint a picture of the current state of affairs in Belgium while presenting the donneursdevie.be initiative. We tried to answer questions like: Why is there a lack of donors? What are the pros and cons of being a donor? How does it work? What motivates a donor? ... We also used the opportunity to give the word to a woman who had conceived via in-vitro fertilisation and a child born as a result of assisted reproduction.
What we got.
We succeeded in breaking down the taboos and speaking directly about the issue of medically assisted reproduction and how it is represented in today’s media. The majority of the nation’s premier news providers were represented at the press conference, assuring immediate and nation-wide coverage. The issue soon became a hot topic, giving rise to the publication of various articles on the subject. However, the best indication of the success of the initiative was the subsequent increase in the number of contacts from potential donors at the participating hospitals. Which, after all, was the main objective of this great project. Because the gift of life is the greatest gift of all.