Egg and sperm donation rules to be reviewed

A major review of the rules regarding sperm, egg and embryo donation will take place over the course of next year.

The most controversial area to be discussed concerns expenses payments made to donors.



Also on the agenda will be age limits for male and female donors, and restrictions on how many families a man can donate his sperm to.



Currently in the UK payments for sperm and egg donations can only be made to reimburse travel costs and loss of earnings.



Some other European countries interpret the rules more liberally to include compensation for "inconvenience".



Under EU law donors cannot be paid directly for their eggs and sperm, as happens in the US where people earn large sums of money helping infertile couples. An EU directive limits compensation to "making good expenses and inconveniences related to the donation".



In the UK expenses payments for donors are broadly in line with those given to jurors. There is an overall limit of £250 for each course of sperm or egg donation.



Four years ago the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates fertility services and research, decided not to allow compensation for "inconvenience". It was felt that paying "inconvenience" money might encourage people to make donations without thinking enough of the consequences.



Since then there have been calls for more flexibility to better reflect the sacrifices made by many donors.



Members of the HFEA agreed to hold the review at a meeting today.



Professor Lisa Jardine, who chairs the authority, said: "The authority had a rewarding and well informed debate across a wide range of important issues and arrived at some significant decisions. I welcome the fact that we are now beyond the implementation of the new legislation and can address issues which have implications for all of our stakeholders.



"There was a general view that the HFEA's policy with regard to reimbursement for donors, which has now been in place for two years since the introduction of the European Tissue and Cell Directive, was one that could usefully be revisited in light of what we have learned over those two years. We will not prejudge the outcome of the review that will now take place."



Other issues to be addressed include whether to change the current lower age limit for egg donation, which currently stands at 18, to take account of potential health risks.



The authority will also look at whether its upper age limit of sperm donors should be brought in line with professional guidelines. The official age limit is now 45, while the professional guidance recommends 40 or younger.



Also under discussion is the 10-family limit for sperm donors. This prevents a man donating his sperm to more than 10 families, irrespective of the number of babies that result.



Egg sharing, donations between family members, and the possibility of allowing people only to donate to certain patient groups will also be considered.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links