HFEA agrees new policies to improve sperm and egg donation services

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has today made a number of important decisions on sperm and egg donation in the UK. This follows an extensive public consultation, ‘Donating sperm and eggs: have your say’, which ran from January to April 2011.

The Authority has agreed to take a proactive approach to donor recruitment, retention and care by working with the IVF sector, professional bodies and voluntary organisations to raise awareness, improve the care of donors and ensure that donation continues to take place within a safe and ethical environment.

Addressing concerns about treating donors fairly and valuing their contribution, as well as the need to retain donors and keep paperwork to a minimum, the Authority has also agreed to change the compensation that donors can receive. Moving away from the current system of out of pocket expenses and a loss of earnings allowance capped at £250, clinics will in the future be able to offer donors compensation which better reflects their expenses.

The new scheme will include:

  • 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

Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said today:

‘In looking at donation we have focused on what it means to people – to those born of assisted reproduction, to donors, to patients wanting desperately to have a baby and to the public in general. We are convinced that it is right to look at compensation not in terms of crude sums but in terms of the value of donation.’

‘My Authority has set a level of compensation which will not deter those interested in donation but will  retain donors already in the system, without attracting those who are merely financially motivated.’

‘We have consulted widely and listened carefully to what we were told by the large number of patients, donors, donor-conceived people and clinics who responded to our consultation. My Authority has been careful to balance the interests of all involved in the donation process. We know that any one change that we make to our policies is unlikely completely to solve current problems in the donation system. That’s why we have decided to capitalise on our unique position by actively helping the sector to attract and retain donors, use their donations to their full and ensure that donors are well cared for and valued.’

Benefits in kind

The HFEA also considered benefits in kind in which people are allowed to receive treatment services in return for donation of their sperm or eggs to treatment or research, commonly known as egg sharing.

Current guidance focuses almost exclusively on egg sharing arrangements in exchange for IVF, yet treatment services which can be offered are broader than this, including storage and moving up the waiting list. 

The HFEA has decided that this should be allowed to continue, but that current guidance should be reviewed with a view to making it clear to clinics what benefits might be included.

Ends


 

Notes to editors

  • The HFEA is the independent regulator for IVF treatment and embryo research. Our role is to protect patients and the public interest, to drive improvement in the treatment and research sectors and to provide information to the public and policymakers about treatment and research.
  • The HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.  The HFEA’s principal tasks are to license and monitor clinics that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), artificial insemination (AI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and  embryos.

For further information contact the HFEA press office on 020 7291 8226 or email press.office@hfea.gov.uk

Page last updated: 19 October 2011

Contact the press office

HFEA Press Officer
Tel: 020 7291 8226

Email: press.office@hfea.gov.uk

Out of hours urgent press contact: 07771 981 920 (for media enquiries only.)