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by Andrew Drakeley

Could YOU be an egg donor and give someone the gift of motherhood?

Sadly some women are unable to use their own eggs in order to have a child. This may be for a variety of reasons, including the fact that egg quality falls with increasing age, previous surgery, chemotherapy and premature menopause. At the Hewitt Centre, we therefore use donated eggs to help them conceive and achieve their dream of a family.

The eggs are fertilised by the egg recipient’s partner’s sperm and the resulting embryo replaced into the woman. In the UK, the woman giving birth is the legal mother and so it is her name on the birth certificate. Our work is licensed and regulated by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA). Both donor and recipient details are provided to the HFEA and the procedures followed are protected by UK law.

At present, there are more couples who require eggs than donors willing to donate in the UK. In the past, financial re-imbursement to egg donors has been frowned upon by the HFEA and deemed unethical.

This view has contributed to the development of "fertility tourism" whereby couples faced by unacceptably long waiting times at UK clinics have been forced to travel to countries which are not regulated (by the HFEA) and where payment to donors is allowed. This means that couples who have NHS funding for egg donation in place are either faced with unacceptably long waiting times for treatment, often several years, or paying privately for treatment in another country. This in my view is unethical in itself. There are about 50 couples waiting for this treatment in the Liverpool area at any one time.

After listening to the views of fertility specialists, the HFEA has now relaxed its stance somewhat in that a payment of £750 is now allowed to be paid to egg donors to reflect the effort and time put into donating, in addition to the satisfaction of knowing you have helped someone else have a baby and become parents which they would otherwise be unable to do.

If you might be interested in donating eggs, then please contact the Hewitt Centre at the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust for more information. The following would be happy to speak to you:

Mr Andrew Drakeley, Consultant Gynaecologist, via PA Miss Jemma Hand, 0151-702-4260 or Egg Donor Co-ordinators, Mrs Maureen Richards and Mrs Gill Hathaway, 0151-702-4212

06 February 2012