Sperm and Egg Donors to Receive Improved Financial Compensation

Midland Fertility Services (MFS) welcomes a decision to increase donors’ loss of earnings as it may encourage more men and women to donate their sperm and eggs.

In today’s (19 October 2011) announcement, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recommended that clinics will be able to offer donors compensation which better reflects their expenses:

  • for sperm donors, a fixed sum of £35 per visit including expenses
  • for egg donors, a fixed sum of £750 per cycle of donation including expenses

Currently donors can claim only out of pocket expenses and a loss of earnings allowance capped at £250.

However, MFS is sure that altruism, rather than payment, will continue to be the main reason that people choose to become donors.

“The need for donor sperm and eggs is always much greater than the availability,” said Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of MFS.  “Currently at MFS the waiting list for donor sperm is three to six months, but women who require donor eggs wait for up to two years for a suitable match to become available.  The majority of donor eggs come from donors who are known to the recipients, or from egg sharers – women who agree to give half their eggs in return for reduced cost IVF treatment.

“This decision from the HFEA will hopefully encourage more men to become regular sperm donors and more women, who have completed their families, to donate eggs to women who cannot conceive with their own.

“An increase in the number of local donors will also discourage couples from seeking IVF treatment with donor eggs and sperm abroad, often in countries where fertility treatment is not adequately regulated, putting themselves, and any babies they may conceive, at risk.”

In 2003 MFS carried out 73 treatment cycles with donor eggs – but by 2010 this had decreased to 11, despite a greater demand for donor eggs.  Similarly, in 2002 MFS carried out a total of 322 treatment cycles using donor sperm, which by 2010 had more than halved to just 138.

Since 1992, 187 babies have been born after their mothers received treatment using donor eggs at MFS and since 1991 more than 700 babies have been born using donor sperm.  That’s almost 900 babies born to people who would not otherwise have had the chance to be parents.             m/f..

People need the gift of donor eggs and sperm for many reasons.  For example, some women experience early menopause or ovarian failure and men may become infertile through illness or accident or through genetic conditions.

Mrs B of Birmingham was diagnosed with premature menopause aged 29.  She waited for two years for donor eggs for her IVF treatment at MFS, which resulted in her becoming a mother in 2008.  “There is such a scarcity of donor eggs that I would welcome anything that means more women will donate.  I’d prefer donors to do it because they know their eggs are a gift that can’t be compared to anything else, but if the extra money helps them to actually become donors, more women like me will have the chance of being a mum.”

Mr H of Warwickshire has been a regular sperm donor at MFS.  He commented on today’s announcement: “It’s a big decision to donate, but for me was motivated by the pain of my sister going through fertility treatment and it also gave me the chance ‘to give something back’.  Personally I’d encourage any man who is interested in being a donor to go ahead right away, not because of how much he can earn from it, but because it’s a good thing to do and can have such a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives.”

All donors receive full counselling before they are accepted onto the donor programme.  They are also rigorously screened to ensure that the recipients have the very best chance of conceiving.

To gauge their suitability, potential sperm or egg donors can complete checklists on www.midlandfertility.com.  Alternatively they can call MFS via 01922 455911 for more information about becoming a donor.

ends

Issued: 19 October 2011

Editor Notes

MFS was established in 1987 and is licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to offer a range of fertility treatments and procedures including IVF, ICSI, egg donation, egg and embryo freezing and sperm recovery.  In May 2002 the UK’s first ‘frozen egg’ baby was born following treatment at MFS.  In September 2005, the UK’s first twins were born from ‘frozen eggs’ fertility treatment at MFS, followed by the first ‘frozen egg’ boy in December 2005.  In April 2006 the clinic’s first twins were born following the mother’s treatment with Vi4gr4 as part of her fertility treatment at MFS.  In early 2008, the 4,000th baby was born after treatment at MFS and the clinic celebrated its 21st anniversary in June 2008.  The 4,500th baby was born in August 2009 and the clinic’s and the UK’s first two vitrified egg babies were born in December 2010 and January 2011.  Based in Aldridge, West Midlands, MFS treats both private and NHS patients.

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