Changes in store for UK donor compensation

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Egg donation – and its compensation in particular - has been a touchy topic in the United Kingdom for as long as it’s been scientifically possible, but a decision made yesterday by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is a major step in the right direction.

Now, egg donors will be compensated a fixed fee of 750 pounds (approximately $1200) for loss of earnings, expenses, and to “recognize their gift,” according to an article popup: yes published in The Telegraph. In recent years UK egg donors could be reimbursed up to 250 pounds for expenses, but the shortage of donors in comparison to the demand drove intended parents abroad, eventually forcing authorities to reconsider their stance on compensation. Historically, many egg donors in the UK haven’t received any compensation at all, as this is how authorities deemed egg donation would remain an “altruistic” act.

While we believe all donors participate, ultimately, for altruistic reasons, the fact is that the process is far from easy. It is time intensive and a huge commitment, both physically and emotionally. Women want to help, but shouldn’t be expected to take major financial blows for transportation, childcare, loss of wages, and other expenses involved. Here in the United States, donors are compensated for their time and effort – not for the eggs themselves. With the help of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, reputable agencies like ConceiveAbilities follow strict guidelines regarding compensation.

The new compensation model in the UK is actually based on systems currently used in Denmark and Spain, and includes new rules for sperm donors as well. They also left an agreement that egg sharing – where donors can receive their own fertility treatment for free or at a lesser cost in return for their donation – would remain unchanged.

The HFEA will likely revisit the topic in the future. Policy officer Danielle Hamm, who assisted in the decision, admitted, “This is not an exact science, it’s a judgment.”

What do you think? Is the new law enough to boost egg donation in the UK, or will donors and intended parents alike continue to look abroad in order to participate in the process?