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Sperm and egg donors should be paid more, experts claim

25 October 2010
Appeared in BioNews 581

Two experts have indicated their support for paying sperm and egg donors more money. Two panelists in a debate last Wednesday, organised by the Progress Educational Trust in partnership with the Royal Society of Medicine, on the ethics of egg donation and payment said in the press they want to raise the maximum payment above today's £250 per cycle.

Speaking to the Guardian, Tony Rutherford, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said about egg donation: '£1,500 seems to be reasonable compensation for the physical rigours that these women need to undergo. They need to have injections of drugs, invasive internal scans and then a small operative procedure to collect the eggs. They may also possibly need to have time off work to attend appointments spread over three to four weeks'.

Mr Rutherford said the fees paid should match the financial benefit gained by those taking part in egg-sharing schemes, where a woman donates some of her eggs in return for free or cheaper fertility treatment. He added: 'Compensation should not be so high that it acts as a financial inducement'.

The debate also extended to payment to sperm donors - also subject to the £250 cap. Laura Witjens, chairwoman of the National Gamete Donation Trust, wrote in a BBC news health column: 'Sperm donors deserve at least the same payment if not more than egg donors do'. She argued the process they go through is difficult, lengthy and requires a serious commitment.

The debate was held as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) prepares to launch a public consultation on the donation of eggs, sperm and embryos in January 2011, which will look at issues including payment.

A shortage of egg donors in the UK is leading to an increase in couples travelling abroad for treatment. A spokesman for the HFEA said: 'We know there is a shortage of donor eggs and sperm. This means that people are having to wait longer for their treatment. In some instances people are travelling abroad where there may not be such a shortage'.

Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust, said the level of payment for both men and women should increase, describing the current limit as 'woefully inadequate'.

Call for sperm donor payment
Independent |  19 October 2010
Egg donation for fertility treatment 'should be better paid'
Guardian |  20 October 2010
Ethics experts agree that £250 cap for egg donation should be lifted
BMJ |  22 October 2010
Sperm donation: Your comments
BBC News |  20 October 2010
Sperm donors 'deserve greater recognition'
BBC News |  20 October 2010
UK: Debate over payment for sperm donors
AbortionReview |  19 October 2010
'Why sperm donors should be paid more'
BBC News |  20 October 2010
21 October 2013 - by María Victoria Rivas Llanos 
More and more IVF patients are using donor eggs, according to a study carried out in the USA...
22 October 2012 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
A celebrity sperm donor service called Fame Daddy that was profiled in news reports in the British media has been revealed as a hoax...
18 July 2011 - by Sandy Starr 
The UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has made its first set of decisions following the outcome of its recent consultation on sperm and egg donation, known as the Donation Review...
7 March 2011 - by Alan Doran 
One of the things that makes working at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) extremely worthwhile is we address topics that matter to many different people and groups. Unsurprisingly, there are many shades of opinion about the issues. Often, these views extend to passing judgement on our general competence and performance. The Government's proposals about the future of arm's-length bodies have added piquancy to this strand of public discussion...
29 November 2010 - by Seil Collins 
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), together with fertility clinic Manchester Fertility Services, has launched an initiative to recruit sperm donors in the North-West of England....
31 August 2010 - by Rose Palmer 
Egg and sperm donors in the UK could receive increased compensation under new proposals aimed at reducing the number of couples travelling abroad for treatment...
9 August 2010 - by Elizabeth Marquardt 
It is challenging for researchers to study the offspring of sperm donation. There are not that many donor offspring in the general population, most of their parents have not told them the truth about their origins, and there are currently few available sources of funding for such inquiries...
9 July 2010 - by Professor Eric Blyth and Wendy Kramer 
The 'My Daddy's Name Is Donor' report is co-authored by Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Institute for American Values (IAV)'s Center for Marriage and Families, who produced IAV's previous report highly critical of donor conception (1), Norval D. Glenn, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Karen Clark, of, and published by the Commission on Parenthood's Future, a New York-based think tank, in association with the IAV, in May 2010...
10 June 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A study into the attitudes of donor-conceived siblings has been published in the US. Said to be the first empirical study of its kind in the US...
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