February 26, 2024


British women will soon be offered half-price IVF and in return half of the eggs they produce during the treatment will be used to create cloned embryos. The scheme is highly controversial, not least because the UK’s fertility regulator issued a licence to the North East England Stem Cell Institute before launching a public consultation about egg-sharing for research. Professor Alison Murdoch, of Newcastle University, feels that women will be eager to take part. “All patients involved in egg-sharing need IVF to help them have a baby,” she says. “We are helping them to have treatment they may not otherwise be able to afford.”

Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, was flabbergasted. “This is just coercion,” she said. “Women who can’t afford IVF but are desperate for a baby will see this is the only way they will be able to have children. They may not want to give their eggs to researchers but it is a choice between that or not being able to have IVF.”