The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority today decided that women who donate their eggs for others’ treatment should be compensated £750 per cycle, and that sperm donors should be compensated £35 per clinic visit.

The Council recommended in its recent report ‘Human bodies: donation for medicine and research that lost earnings should be fully reimbursed for those donating eggs or sperm for others’ treatment, so that they are not left out of pocket. The Council specifically recommended that the cap of £250 on recovery of lost earnings for egg and sperm donors should be removed.

Director of the Council, Hugh Whittall said:

“We believe that altruism – the desire to help another person – should remain the primary motivation for egg and sperm donation. However, we also believe that donors should not be left out of pocket as a result of their donation. We therefore broadly support the HFEA’s decision to offer reasonable compensation to cover expenses and loss of earnings incurred by egg and sperm donors. The previous cap of £250 on the recovery of lost earnings may have put some potential donors off, and this is something we should avoid, given the shortage of donors in the UK.”

Public discussion tends to focus on gamete donation for the treatment of others. However, there is also a shortage of donated eggs and sperm for scientific research. Given that egg donation is an invasive medical procedure, the Council further recommends a pilot scheme for offering payment above and beyond expenses to those who are prepared to donate eggs for research purposes.

“Donating eggs for research purposes is different from donating to help someone else’s treatment as it is not for a particular individual, and it will not result in any child being born. As such it is more akin to healthy volunteers participating in medical research. We think it would be ethically justified to offer payment over and above direct expenses to women who are willing to give their time and undergo uncomfortable procedures in order to donate eggs for research, as is the case for volunteers in clinical trials,” said Hugh Whittall.

Find out more about the Council’s work on donation for medicine and research.

Visit the HFEA website.