November 27, 2022

UK increases compensation for sperm and egg donors

Was the outcome of the UK’s fertility watchdog’s public consultation over compensation for sperm and egg donors ever in doubt? This week the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority announced that it was increasing allowable fees for egg donors from £250 to £750 per cycle and introducing a £35 per visit compensation for sperm donors.

 Was the outcome of the UK’s fertility watchdog’s public consultation earlier this year ever in doubt? This week the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority announced that it was increasing allowable fees for egg donors from £250 to £750 per cycle and introducing a £35 per visit compensation for sperm donors.

Under the old system, donors were reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and loss of earnings, so effectively the rate for women rises from about £500 to £750. This is said to put British donors amongst the best paid in Europe.

“A balance is being struck between recognising the wonderful gift of donation yet not affecting the purity of donors’ motives,” said Laura Witjens, chairwoman of the National Gamete Donation Trust. “Altruistic motives should remain at the core of donation, and payment should never facilitate coercion.”

However, the move was savaged by a former member of the HFEA, Professor Brenda Almond:

“By offering financial payments, we are offending one of the most fundamental principles of British medicine, namely that any donor should act purely out of altruism, never with an eye to financial gain. We are then on a slippery slope towards a market in human organs, eggs and sperm – something that would outrage most of the population.”

She also asked whether infertile couples were responsible for the increased demand for sperm donors.

“I have my doubts that it is heterosexual couples who are driving up the pressure for more donations. Research in the U.S., with its unlimited payments to donors, suggests that the numbers of single women and same-sex couples are pushing up the figures — two groups in society which would have been unable to have children a few generations ago.”

Michael Cook
egg donation
HFEA
sperm donation
UK