THEY shipped off their criminals to the colonies for stealing loaves of bread and handkerchiefs. Now Mother England wants her children back - or at least their DNA.
Up to a third of sperm donors in London fertility clinics are now foreigners and many are visitors from Down Under. One of the biggest clinics, the Bridge Centre, confirmed Australian backpackers were becoming donors to earn money to support their travels.
What you get with the 'grand tour' is very enterprising people who look at every single way of making a buck.
Would you ever consider donating your sperm for cash?
With an official report yesterday warning that donor numbers in Britain were critically low, the clinics are hoping more travelling Aussies will lend a hand - so to speak.
We need them. We need that winning spirit and we need left-handed batsmen so we're hoping that's in the gene set.
If you're on the grand tour and you're spending 12 months in the UK, here's something you can do to make a bit of extra money.
They should have it on the same 'to do list' as going to the rugby at Twickenham.
It's a good cause and if we get enough Australian donors you could end up colonising the UK instead of the other way round.
Fertility clinics can offer donors limited reimbursement for time lost at work and travel expenses. For 20 visits over the course of several months, the payments can add up to £500 ($1200).
But donors are no longer afforded anonymity after losing their rights when new laws were introduced in the UK in 2005. Children conceived through donated sperm can now contact their genetic fathers once they turn 18.
The profile used to be completely different. It used to be British students. But non-British donors are now easier to recruit.
They know no one will be able to find them in 18 years.
Other donors come from South Africa, Poland, the Ukraine and Colombia.
A British Fertility Society report yesterday showed there was a 40 per cent drop in new donors between 1991 (503 donors) to 2006 (296 donors). Donation rates plummeted in NSW last year when the State Government changed the legislation to give children rights to identify their donor.
Some fertility clinics reported fewer than 10 men on their books, with couples forced to seek treatment overseas or wait up to three years.
Infertility consumer group Access Australia said the need for donors had also dropped in the past decade, with technology now making it possible for infertile men to conceive with their partners.
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