Fertility regulator launches strategy to boost egg and sperm donation

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is today launching a national strategy to raise awareness of egg and sperm donation and to improve the care of donors. The move comes as the Authority’s new rules on donor compensation come into force, providing a clear and simple system which ensures that donors are properly valued for their commitment.

Building on the new compensation policy, the HFEA wants to address a number of obstacles to donor recruitment and retention which came to light during its 2011 public consultation. Tackling those obstacles means:

  • increasing awareness of donation and the information that donors receive
  • improving the ‘customer service’ that donors receive when they contact clinics
  • helping donors provide better information about themselves for future families.

A key element of the strategy is the formation of a national group of experts from within and beyond the fertility sector. Bringing together a range of people from diverse experiences – such as blood donation, PR and unregulated sperm websites, as well as those with first-hand experience of sperm and egg donation – the group will come up with new approaches to raising awareness and promoting good practice in donation.

Launching an appeal for members of the group, Chair of the HFEA, Lisa Jardine said:

“We developed our new donor compensation policy to make donors feel more valued than they currently do and to discourage them from dropping out. But we know from carrying out our public consultation last year that it will take a range of measures to have a significant impact on donation in the UK.

“That’s why we are taking this step beyond our normal remit to address issues of awareness, donor retention and information provision. We know we can’t do this alone so we are using our unique position as the national regulator to bring together a wide range of expertise to gather valuable knowledge that will help us build a better environment for donation and particularly for future donor-conceived people.”

To apply to be a member of the strategy group, go to www.hfea.gov.uk

ENDS


 

Notes to editors

  • The HFEA is recruiting 12-14 people with expertise or experience of donor recruitment, public relations/raising awareness, donor customer care, patient interests and the well-being of future donor-conceived people.
  • Those interested in applying should send a statement of interest to the HFEA, detailing their experience or area of expertise and what they think they could personally bring to the group. The closing date is 1 May 2012. More information is on the HFEA website.
  • In October 2011, following the review of our donation policies, the HFEA agreed a new system for compensating donors, that is fairer, does not leave donors out of pocket and is easier for clinics to administer.
    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  
  • 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. See www.hfea.gov.uk for further details.

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

Page last updated: 04 April 2012