Issued: 19 March 2012

From 1 April 2012 women who donate their eggs at MFS will receive at least £750 for each donation cycle.  And men who are accepted as sperm donors will receive a fixed sum of £35 for each donation.

The improved compensation is the result of a new policy on offering payments which better reflect donor expenses, from the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).  At present donors can claim only out of pocket expenses and a loss of earnings allowance capped at £250.

“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.

“The increase in compensation payments will hopefully encourage more men to become regular sperm donors and more women to donate eggs to women who cannot conceive with their own.”

In 2003 MFS carried out 73 treatment cycles with donor eggs – but by 2011 this had decreased to 17, despite a greater demand for donor eggs.  Similarly, in 2002 MFS carried out a total of 322 treatment cycles using donor sperm, which by 2011 had declined to just 138 – just about a quarter of nine years previously.

Since 1992, 219 babies have been born after their mothers received treatment using donor eggs at MFS, and since 1991 866 babies have been born using donor sperm.  That’s more than 1,000 babies born to people who would not otherwise have had the chance to be parents.

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

Midlands’ mum Clare Roberts (34) became an egg donor after having her three children with no problems.  In addition to being an egg donor, she is also on the national bone marrow register, carries an organ donor card and regularly gives blood.

She said: “When I was younger my greatest fear was not being able to be a mum and because I was so lucky having my family, I wanted someone else to be able to share that gift.

“Last time I donated eggs I claimed about £100 travel and parking expenses and while the £750 I will receive when I make my next donation is a decent sum of money, I don’t think it should be the main motivation for a woman to become an egg donor.  But if it helps more women to make the decision to go ahead, it is a positive development.

“I would encourage any woman who would like another woman to experience the same joy, to contact MFS to get information on becoming an egg donor.  The team were so thorough preparing me for egg donation that I felt totally confident that my decision was not just right for me, but would also be of huge benefit to two other women and their families.  I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.”

Mr H of Warwickshire has been a regular sperm donor at MFS.  He commented on the increase in payment to sperm donors: “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 either 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 on-line checklists:

Alternatively they can call MFS via 01922 455911 for more information about becoming a donor or email the egg donation coordinator.

ends

Issue date: 19 March 2012

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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