WBEZ | shortages http://www.wbez.org/tags/shortages Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Brits have a sperm shortage — but they have a plan http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-09-02/brits-have-sperm-shortage-%E2%80%94-they-have-plan-112814 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/5396420759_9d5b2675db_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><aside><p>In Britain,&nbsp;as in many countries,&nbsp;there is&nbsp;a growing demand for sperm donors from couples who are unable to conceive on their own. Increasingly, demand is outstripping supply.</p><p>Last year, the British government came up with a solution: Set up a national sperm bank to&nbsp;make it easier for couples to get access to medically checked sperm.</p><p>But it has not been easy finding suitable donors.</p><p>A year later, and with more than 600 applicant donors,&nbsp;the bank&nbsp;still has just nine approved donors. According to&nbsp;Laura Witjens,&nbsp;the executive director of the bank, that should be a cause for celebration, rather than&nbsp;disappointment. &quot;I recognize that people say &#39;Nine? That&#39;s not a lot,&quot; She says. &quot;But I like to turn it round, and say: &#39;At this stage to have nine? Wow!&quot; It&#39;s a great place to be&quot;.</p><p>Part of the problem stems from the extreme difficulty of finding men whose sperm can withstand the demands of the donor process. Freezing and defrosting the samples destroys 80 to 90 percent of even successful donors&#39; sperm.</p><p>There is also the time and commitment required from each donor. Samples need to be taken several times a week for two or three months. That&#39;s followed by blood tests.</p><p>But perhaps the biggest difficulty in recruitment lies in the British law regarding donor anonymity. Under current rules, there is none. In the future, British children conceived from donated sperm will be able to trace and contact their biological father once they reach adulthood. Given the limited number of approved donors in the national bank, that could mean that each donor has the potential to be contacted by a large number offspring over the next few decades.</p><p>Witjens concedes that this may make some men reluctant to become donors, but &nbsp;she says it also forces her team to think more carefully about how to appeal to &nbsp;donors.</p><p>&quot;It would be easy to go for the cheeky advertising, and I know that would get a response,&quot; she explains. &quot;But there is a moral component. We don&#39;t necessarily need a superman, we need ordinary men, doing an extraordinary thing: Be willing to help childless couples.&quot;</p></aside><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://admin.pri.org/stories/2015-09-02/brits-have-sperm-shortage-they-have-plan" target="_blank"><em>The World</em></a></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-09-02/brits-have-sperm-shortage-%E2%80%94-they-have-plan-112814 Apple-picking season begins amid orchard shortages http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/apple-picking-season-begins-amid-orchard-shortages-102162 <p><p>It&#39;s been a tough year for farmers: First, there was an unusually warm spring, followed by a few frosty nights and then a summer-long drought. September is the big month for pick-your-own apples in Illinois, but this year, some orchard owners say they&#39;re worried they won&#39;t be able to turn a profit.</p><p>Wade Kuipers, owner of <a href="http://www.kuipersfamilyfarm.com/contact-us.htm">Kuipers Family Farm</a> in Maple Park, IL, normally makes about $250-300,000 on his apple orchard alone.</p><p>But this year, Kuipers says he had to spend thousands of dollars on special equiptment like boilers and frost fans to try and ward off the frost in the spring.</p><p>&quot;We had a crew of ten people out there plus my whole family, my kids, driving tractors spraying warm water out there, running sprayers with fans to keep air moving and keep it circulating.&quot;&nbsp;<br /><br />After all that, Kuipers says he salvaged about half of his crop &mdash; but he still might not break even.</p><p>Down the road at Honey Hill Orchards in Waterman, IL, owner Steve Bock says he&#39;s had to cut their apple picking schedule back by four days because of the shortage.</p><p>&quot;This will be one of those years where definitely you&rsquo;ll be relying on what you made in the past to carry through. And at this time, I&rsquo;m really looking forward to next year,&quot; Bock said.</p><p>But even with customers coming Friday-Sunday this season, Bock says they may only have enough apples for two or three more weekends.</p></p> Tue, 04 Sep 2012 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/apple-picking-season-begins-amid-orchard-shortages-102162