Hundreds of pounds could be offered to people willing to donate sperm or eggs to infertile couples, under proposals launched today.
Just five years after its last review of the rules on donation of gametes, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is seeking views on whether payments should be sharply increased.
A ban on forms of donation within the family, such as between brothers and sisters, and stricter guidlines on handling familial donations, such as between sisters, is also being considered. Demand for fertility treatment is increasing and the shortage of sperm and eggs has worsened since donor anonymity was removed in 2005. The use of donated gametes is controversial, occupying 80 per cent of the time of the HFEA, despite accounting for only 12 per cent of in vitro fertilisation.
Launching the review, Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA, cited a recent cover of the New York Times Review which showed three women, one man and two babies described as "twiblings" – an infertile couple with their two surrogate mothers who had carried babies simultaneously using donor eggs.
Exisiting rules limit compensation for egg donors to expenses and lost earnings up to a maximum of £250, with less for sperm donors.Reuse content