A national sperm bank is to be launched to meet increasing demand.
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), in partnership with Birmingham Women's Hospital, has been awarded £77,000 by the Department of Health (DoH) to provide the service, which will launch in October.
In a DoH document outlining funding allocation for 2014-15, under the heading Project Aims, it says it will benefit patients "both NHS and privately, of all ethnicities across the UK, including same-sex couples and single women".
Based at Birmingham Women's Hospital, it will offer an NHS-based, fully-integrated donor recruitment, screening and banking centre which could deliver for all donor sperm requirements across the UK, the Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust said.
There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics, and as p atient numbers continue to rise, treating those who need donor sperm is said to be a major problem.
At present, some patients needing donor sperm are faced with few options and find themselves on waiting lists, having to use unregulated providers or having to stop treatment altogether, the trust said.
It is hoped the bank will reduce the number of patients putting themselves at risk by using unregulated sperm donation services.
For the first time, those from ethnic minority backgrounds will be able to choose from a range of culturally matched donors.
A DoH spokesman said: "The National Sperm Bank will benefit all patients who need these services."