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IVF: Is £750 for Egg Donation Too Much, Or Not Enough?

Posted on the 20 October 2011 by Periscope

IVF: Is £750 for egg donation too much, or not enough?

How much is it worth to you? Photo credit: Wellcome images

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) hopes the changes, which will offer £750 to women willing to donate an egg, will attract donors by offering fair reimbursement, but not sully the donation act by monetising the process, as they struggle to deal with a lack of willing participants that is driving desperate women abroad in search of eggs. As the news sinks in, the debate rages on.

It could be even more. Zoe Williams, writing for The Guardian’s Comment is Free, claimed that “reasonable compensation” could be 10 times the £750 being proposed. She appreciated the resistance to any change that might commercialise the process, likening the situation to cases of losing a loved one – compensation can’t be given for something that is beyond the value of money. She did, somewhat reluctantly, however, concede that the costs of donating, in terms of health risk and potential lost earning, needed to be repaid to donors.

“You would only think £750 was way beyond reasonable expenses – into the territory of profit – if you didn’t have ovaries”, wrote Zoe Williams.

Won’t solve the problem. Fertility doctor Dr Kamal Ahuja told The Evening Standard that paying donors could never compensate for the “potentially serious risks” of donation. “It is unsubstantiated and naive to assume money will resolve the crisis”, he warned, saying that soliciting donors through payment “has a high chance of failure and may be putting some donors at risk.”

“This is a disgraceful decision that puts young women’s health at risk”, said David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, quoted in The Independent

No danger of marketisation. Eleanor Clapp, a two-time egg donor, told The Independent that £750 is “perfectly reasonable”. She worried that without proper compensation donors would be left “out of pocket and inconvenienced”, and said that the rigorous process means that there is no danger of people “selling” their eggs for the wrong reasons: “No one can donate or receive eggs without a counselling session with a counsellor. If it’s not right for you, or you’re not doing it for the right reason, they will say so.” Dominique Jackson of The Daily Mail agreed that the new figure was fair payment for a “brutal process”, and proposed that critics of the proposal must not have “really examined the egg donation process”.

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