A UK national sperm bank - charged with reversing a growing shortage of donor sperm - has started work in Birmingham.

Fertility clinics have become increasingly dependent on imported sperm giving rise to the so-called "Viking babies" phenomenon.

Meanwhile, data from the fertility regulator shows a 10th of IVF cycles are dependent on donated sperm or eggs.

And a third of procedures using donated material were for same-sex couples or single women.

The number of UK-based sperm donors has been increasing since 2004. However, demand has increased even faster.

Denmark and the United States have become major suppliers of sperm to British women.



What happens when you wash your smelly sports shirt? Many of you will know modern sports apparel is made from synthetic ‘plastic’ fibres which are non-biodegradable.

Ecologist Mark Browne reported in 2011 the biggest source of plastic in our oceans comes from our clothing.

By sampling wastewater from domestic washing machines, Browne estimated that around 1,900 individual fibers can be rinsed off a single synthetic shirt - ending up in our oceans.  And numerous studies have shown that small organisms readily ingest microplastics, introducing toxic pollutants to the food chain.

Alarmed by his findings, Browne reached out to prominent clothing brands for help. He sought partnerships to try to determine the flow of synthetic fibers from clothing to the washing machine to the ocean. He also hoped his research might help develop better textile design to prevent the migration of toxic fibers into water systems.

He contacted leaders in the apparel industry - big purveyors of synthetic fabrics - including Patagonia, Nike and Polartec. But none of these companies agreed to lend support.

Browne said “The textile people I’ve talked to have not been trained scientists, they’re more often marketing people.”


The way some brands operate makes us feel queasy.



Would product transparency for consumers alter buying habits?

For example; if you could view and compare information on how your clothes are made; textile workers wages, energy source(s), water usage, list of chemicals, air and water pollution etc Would making this information available help raise standards?

Our present system allows brands to hide how their products are manufactured and what they are made from. Enabling the presentation of such products to be solely based upon marketing information.

Please let us know if you would like to see more information about how your clothes are made.



The above sport shirt contains either 0.1% excrement or 0.1% carcinogenic.

Which would you prefer to wear?

It may seem frivolous to ask you to choose between a very small amount of excrement or cancer causing substance in your sports shirt. But perhaps it does highlight that even a very small amount of an unpleasant substance can change perception of your sport shirt.

Personally I’d prefer to wear the sport shirt without any carcinogen next to my sweating skin. Unfortunately it is a fact that adults and children’s modern synthetic sports shirts do contain very low doses of carcinogen(s); it’s just that sportswear brands prefer not to tell you.

Each sport shirt can contain upto 30 toxic chemicals according to official 'restricted substances lists' prepared by leading sports brands and unseen by consumers.

Golf Refugees are calling for the removal of all cancer causing substances and hormone disruptors from sports apparel. 



Polyester and non-organic cotton are the dominant fibres used in sportswear today. They just happen to be the cheapest any brand can use but also the most damaging to our environment.

However, there are better, slightly more expensive fibres they could be using; such as hemp and nettle. These natural crops require less water and harmful pesticides to grow compared with conventional cotton, which also requires a hot climate. Where as nettle can be grown in the UK. As you know polyester is a synthetic fibre derived from fossil fuel; petroleum, made from ethylene and terephthalate.

When environmental costs are taken into consideration nettle and hemp become the cheapest fibers to use and non-organic cotton and polyester the most expensive.

Golf Refugees are currently working on using nettle fibres for a new range of sportswear called 'neat'. Which stands for 'nettle enhanced athlete textile'.



We’d like to offer athletes of all abilities the opportunity to wear cancer-free sports apparel.

What do we actually mean by this statement?

This would require removing all substances that are classified as carcinogenic from such garments. In some cases these substances linked to cancer can simply be removed, however, there are instances where the function they perform is essential to the manufacture / performance, an alternative chemical will have to be used. Yes, these safer alternatives are slightly more expensive, but we think you’re worth it.

Obviously other brands do not feel the same way. They will claim that they only use a very low dose of cancer causing chemicals and meet all of the regulations concerning toxic substances. But we feel even this small amount is too much, as these chemicals are interacting with your sweating skin when you play sport.

If you are unsure about whether the sports apparel you buy and wear contains substances classified as causing cancer, then we suggest you contact customer services of your favourite sportswear brand and ask for their restricted substances list (RSL).



How many cancer causing substances are used in modern synthetic (polyester) sport shirts?
a) one b) two c) three or more

How many human hormone disruptor chemicals (which are effective at very low doses) are used in modern adult and children's synthetic moisture-wicking sport shirts?
a) one b) two c) three or more

For a bonus point; can you name any of these substances?

Feel free to ask your favourite sportswear brands for assistance.



We are making steady progress on GRASS - Golf Refugees Aero Slotted Spoiler

Here is one of our early CAD model images. Our next 'driver' will have the ability for golfers to attach a crown surface and a sole surface spoiler to the club head. Both spoilers will be 3D printed components. The 'Grass' driver contains side slots where spoilers can be attached, golfers will have the option to use both, or one or no spoilers. The slotted areas for the spoilers on the driver can be covered when unused by 3D printed caps.
The main functionality of the spoilers are to accelerate airflow over the crown and sole surfaces to reduce the large pressure drag area (wake) at the rear of the golf club head. All driver club heads are bluff bodies with high drag coefficients. Think of them as a 'brick' on the end of the golf shaft.
#golfrefugees #grass