Fertility Friends Support Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I live in the USA and I have undergone 2 egg donorships ( and 2 surrogacies) for infertile couples. I was a known donor to them. In the UK is it not allowed to be known? Also in the USA it is allowable to receive a fee for such things (to compensate for the discomfort), is that illegal in the UK? I was wondering since I see so many ads lately from couples in the UK searching for donors. I was wondering why not that many ladies wanted to help out infertile couples in the UK.
Thank you for all replies in advance,
Devoted Donor
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,037 Posts
Hiya devoted donor,
I'm also an egg donor, I'm in the middle of an egg-share ICSI cycle.
Firstly, you must be an amazing lady to donate eggs and becomme a surrogate Mom, I bet you brought so much joy to those families. :)
It is illegal in the UK to be paid for egg donation, bar costs for travelling etc, which I 'think' is about £15.

I found this on the HFEA website.

HFEA confirms UK position on payment for egg donors

Date issued: 25 February 2004

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has confirmed that under existing UK regulations egg donors can only be paid a maximum of £15 plus reasonable expenses.

Women receiving donor eggs in the UK can only be treated at an HFEA licensed clinic. All licensed clinics must abide by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act and the HFEA Code of Practice which includes directions on payment and guidelines on reasonable expenses for donors.

Angela McNab, Chief Executive of the HFEA said:

"There are clear and rigorous standards that apply to all licensed clinics on the use of donors and the amount of money that can be paid to them. The HFEA inspects and monitors the compliance of these standards and we take strong action if any clinic is found to be non-compliant. When new clinics and services are set up we scrutinise practices to check they are meeting the high standards required."

Under the guidelines on reasonable expenses donors can be reimbursed for standard class direct travel and accommodation costs, and be paid a maximum of £50 per day to cover financial loss and childminding expenses. The guidelines also cover basic subsistence rates and other costs such as car parking and telephone calls. It is the responsibility of the nominated head of the clinic, Person Responsible (PR), to ensure the directions on payment and guidelines on expenses are adhered to.
There was also a TV programme on the other night, which explained that if people were paid for egg donatiosn, they would be donating for the wrong reasons.
I persoanlly cannot see a problem with getting paid for donating eggs, as it is a lot to go through, although I do plan on donating my eggs for free once I've had my own child.
I think also the fact that from april 2005, anonymity from egg donors is being stopped, and sadly, I think it will stop a lot of egg and sperm donors donating.

Marie xx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your reply. I guess the low compensation is one reason for lack of donors. The clinics around here usually pay an average of $5,500.us for a first time egg donation. The amount goes up the second time (if you donate again) if the first one was succesful. Also if you have a good background fees are higher. Also here in the USA it seems most people want to know the donors or at least meet them. I wonder why it is preferred to be from an unknown donor in the UK? What is the general populations thought on egg donation? Is it looked down upon I wonder? It was a rewarding event in my life to donate eggs. I am looking to do it again actually. I guess I feel us women should help each other out. I have 3 children of my own and could not imagine my life without them in it!
Devoted Donor ^daisy^
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,037 Posts
Hiya devoted,

I think its wonderful that you have helped these women....theres a lot more people that wouldnt.

I think that in general, using or being a donor isnt really talked about in the UK, its a bit of a 'taboo' subject. I got pregnant last year through donor sperm, and I am so grateful that my donor gave me the few short weeks I had with my baby (I lost my baby at 14 weeks preg)
I vowed after that, that I would donate my eggs afterwards, to help another couple.

I don't know anything about the couple I am donating to - I just know they need an egg donor for a reason, I did ask that they were married, but that was it. I was told that I could say I didnt want a couple who live in my area, but I think its unlikely I'd bump into them, and start chatting about egg donor, and that was about it.

They get to know my physical characteristics, like hair, eye colour, skin colour, any family illnesses, etc, plus the hair colour of my sisters and parents.
I was also offered a form to fill in details about what kind of person I am, like for example, I'm a vegetarian, what hobbies I have, how I feel about egg donation etc.

From what I have read, and what I have seen on the telly, the USA is far more open about these issues, like you say, people can meet their donor.

I watched a programme the other night, which was saying that some people in the USA can go onto websites and bid for egg donors, like in an auction, when they cannot even be sure of the health of the egg donor, and it is not a strictly controlled as in the UK. However, I don't know much- only what I saw on the documentary.

We have a body called the HFEA and every clinic is a part of it, and is licensed by them. I think the idea is this keeps everything strictly controlled, and legal.

Wow, the amount of money you get in the USA is a lot! :eek: Can I ask if you get payment for surrogacy as well? It is illegal to be paid for surrogacy in the UK, but you can get out of pocket expenses, such as clothing, time off work, which runs into a lot of money I would imagine, but it has to 'be' for something, if you know what I mean?

Once again ,I think you're a wonderful person,
Marie xx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello Again.
Thank you for your kind words. I really do feel grateful for having been able to have helped someone have they baby they have been longing for. As far as surrogacy goes there are several ways to go about it. Some women choose to go through an agency which screens them and the couple who needs her. Some just go through a lawyer who will handle their contract and hold all monies in trust and make the payments accordingly. Finally some people go through the whole process by themselves. In the USA a first time surrogate can request a fee usually between $16,000.-$20,000.usd. That is just a base fee. In addition to that you receive compensation usually around an additional $5,000usd if the pregnancy is with twins. Also paid is additional fees for each cycle of medication, invasive medical testing and procedures, if a c section delivery is done you are paid an additional $1,500-$3,000usd, around $500-$1,000usd for maternity clothing, also all expenses for travel to and from the doctor. Plus all childcare costs and a housekeeper if bedrest is ordered by a doctor, and of course all wages lost by having to take time off work Then if a surrogate chooses to do another surrogacy her fee goes up because she has already gone through the process before. It can get very costly as you see but there are still many parents who use a surrogate to create their family. Also since we are very open about these things here many couples come from other countries to use American Surrogates and egg donors. As far as auctions for eggs I have only heard of one web site that did that and he was thought to be a "weirdo" and was not accepted in the community. He was basically trying to sell the eggs of beautiful young girls based solely on their looks. I know he was a minority in what is for the most part a good honest community. I use the web site www.surromomsonline.com to find the couples I have worked with. They have ads and also a highly used mesage board, where people can talk about their journeys. I currently have an ad running there in the egg donor section. It is free to post an ad for whatever you are wanting to do such as egg donor, surrogate, sperm donor, etc. I try to respond back to all who email me. I then try to pick a couple to work with who I feel is a good match for me, and who I feel will make great parents. I do see ads from women in the UK from time to time posted there as well. You should take a peek at it.
Devoted Donor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
Hi Devoted Donor,
Can I say, I think what you have done is fantastic. My own children were created by two lovely people, an egg donor and a surrogate mum. I can never thank them enough.
Hubby and I live outside the UK and so we had to go to the USA, which I found refreshingly open. In the USA, I could talk to total strangers about what was happening and they would say, “Congratulations, on your pregnancy/birth of your children”. In the UK, I have only told family and close friends. Some of them think what I did was weird and one person, I feel, is down right hostile. They don’t say anything, but I can tell, they think, what I did I was wrong.
Attitudes are so different between the UK and the US.
I think the biggest difference is that women in the USA are treated as adults, capable of making their own decisions and, if necessary, living with their own mistakes. In the UK, women must be protected from exploitation.
If we value something we protect it with a contract. In the UK, we have employment contracts to stop unscrupulous employers taken advantage of employees. They also protect employers. We have sales contracts to stop a conman ripping us off, etc. In fact I am hard pressed to think of an area of our lives that is not governed by contracts, except egg donation and surrogacy. Does this lack of contracts, mean we don’t value the contribution women make? I, actually, feel, women in the UK are far more likely to be exploited that those in the USA, where everything is written down in black and white.
The UK media throw in the red herring, “what about the 18 year student in debt?”. Firstly, clinics like donors to have completed their families, so it is unlikely an 18 year old would have done that. And secondly, when I was in the USA, we were advised to use an older (late 20’s, early 30’s) donor, who had had children. Older donors are more responsible and so tend to do a “better” job. They appreciate how wonderful children are, how fragile dreams are, and how easily they could hurt the recipient’s feelings. Having had children they are used to being prodded and poked by doctors and so less scared of all the procedures they have to go through. And they know what benefits, the money can bring their kids. They are much less likely to do a bunk at contract signing.
My feeling from reading all the egg donor profiles I waded through in the US, was that women genuinely wanted to help another women. We all lead very busy lives, and donors need an incentive to give up so much time. The money just got them out of bed. And for what they go through, it really wasn’t that much money.
Part of the problem is how money is viewed in the UK versus the US. In the US, money is seen as benefiting people, food on the table, roof over your head, fun…... It can buy you a better quality of life and why not? In the UK money is seen as the root of all evil. The actual biblical quote is that “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil”: Timothy 6: 7-11.
Sperm donors have in the past, donated 10 times, collected 150 pounds. And if they were unscrupulous they went to another clinic and donated another 10 times! The level of compensation for men, set years ago, was such that men could make (a little bit of) money. But women had to be all noble and self sacrificing and do it for the good of others. Talk about a double standard. The media picked up on those men, that had a wild, often drunken, time. Egg donors have been and still are, IMO, viewed by the media as the same as men. Give egg donors a 1000 pounds, and think how drunk they can get. Yet all the research shows that a woman with children, will spend the money on her kids, then her partner and finally herself.
The number of sperm donors is falling, so the 15 pound fee is beginning to look very inadequate for men. Raise it to 50 pounds, and maybe numbers might start to rise. Egg donation takes 50 times as long, is painful, very stressful and there is a risk of death, albeit a very small one. Also with sperm, you can take a sample and check it before use. Eggs must be used fresh, so donors must be very responsible, so that the best results are obtained. USA egg donors are compensated around 60 times (or more) that of a sperm donors, so that means egg donors should be compensated, around 3000 pounds.
I keep hearing, well that would put IVF with egg donor, tied up with contracts, beyond my means. Sadly true, but women should be respected and compensated accordingly. Why should another women do something for nothing for you? Men aren’t expected to do something for nothing, so why should women? I suspect the self sacrificing women routine, probably does all women more harm in the long run.
And anything I have said about egg donation, goes double for surrogacy. There was a story on Casualty that graphically illustrates the problems that the lack of money in surrogacy causes and the fact that there are no enforceable contracts. Roxy became a “traditional surrogate” for Julie and Adam, the parents. They wanted Roxy to stop work at 28 weeks and rest. She didn’t and she was pushed at work. The baby was born at 30 weeks. The premature baby suffered a brain haemorrhage and was probably brain damaged. The parents bolted. And Roxy ended up caring for the baby and bonded with the child.
If there were enforceable contracts, the parents could have made one of the conditions of the contract, that Roxy stopped work at 28 weeks and they would have paid her wages. Even if the parents could have created an enforceable contract, the limit on expenses meant that Roxy’s wages would have taken them over the top, so it would have been illegal. And the BMA, in 1996, thought the lack of money in surrogacy caused problems. The limits on expenses is so low, that even in 1996, it was known, that parents had to pass a British surrogate plastic bags of used notes, other wise the surrogate would be out of pocket.
The fact that the law on surrogacy is a “largely irrelevant panicked measure”, doesn’t help either. Those are the words of the BMA, not mine.
Surrogacy might be costly in the USA, but, IMO, it is professionally done. Compare that to the UK, where paying people to help you through surrogacy is illegal. That means no professional organisations allowed. If your child goes to nursery, there has to be a certain number of professionals there; take your child to a doctor’s surgery, professionals only; schools only professional, fully vetted teachers allowed, etc. And so on. You don’t even have to vet parents to check they are not child molesters. COTS does, but it is still insane it is not a requirement. Basically, it is illegal for the local social services to get involved in a surrogacy arrangement, until it goes wrong.
And boy do things go wrong in the UK. There are around 2-3 contested surrogacy cases per hundred, in the UK. In the USA, it’s 1 per 10,000 -20,000. This rate of contested custody cases isn’t good for the surrogates, the parents and it certainly isn’t good for the child.
One of the problems of creating enforceable contracts for surrogacy, is the fact the law in England and Wales and I suspect in Scotland and also Northern Ireland, does not recognise a foetus as having any rights. We tried making wills prior to the birth of our babies and found it next to impossible. It is difficult enough, if you are carrying your own child, but there is just no wording, if someone else is carrying the child on your behalf. According to the law of England and Wales, mum is the one who is pregnant.
Devoted Donor, I’d love to see a more open system in the UK, one that fairly compensates women for their time and effort. But I won’t hold my breath. If we had a sensible set of egg donation / surrogacy laws, the newspapers wouldn’t have anything to titivate their readers over the breakfast table. And for the UK media, that would never do.
Lorna
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,229 Posts
Devoted donor, I would just like to add as an egg donation co-ordinator that what you have done for couples is the most precious thing you could do. I am in the process of moving to Spain where the laws are different to UK and am setting up an egg donation programme there in the hope I can help couples from the UK. UI can't change the laws in the UK especially with the change in anonymity next April, but can hopefully make treatment more accessible. Going to a foreign country can be daunting at the best of times, my hope is being English will encourage couples to consider other options as the UK is hell bent on making dreams as difficult as possible to occur.

Sarah
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I just wanted to say thank you to Lorna for that very informative message.

I am in the process of using an egg donor in the US and you have given me hope. Like you I think the situation in the UK is tragic and it is only through message boards like this that women in the UK are starting to realise that there are alternatives for them, eg the clinics in Spain, I had no idea they were there until I came onto this board.
I hope there will come a time when the egg donation situation in the UK will change, sadly I don't think it will.
To be honest I couldn't care less if the girl donating her eggs to me was basically doing it just for the money!!
To have to use the drugs etc. is very stressful and to give me just the chance of a baby is beyond money.
I think the media do have a lot of influence in Britain and I am a journalist. I know that most of the articles in which egg donation, clinics abroad etc. are painted in a bad light are done by women who have never had to experience the misery of infertility.
I refuse to have anything to do with those sort of articles and would only ever write positively about egg donation and surrogacy.
Sadly even my own workplace would probably take a dim view of what I am doing,,,we are in the dark ages in Britain when it comes to this subject.
One interesting thing I found while undergoing this egg donaton process here is that while we were able to choose an agency where I could see photos of the egg donor, even meet her if I wanted....when it came to the sperm donor (who we also needed) I could find only ONE clinic in the whole US which has some adult photos and info on the sperm donor.
So we had this bizarre situation of being able to tell our child lost of info about their donor mother and even show her a picture but when it came to the donor father - nothing!!!
My donor egg clinic says it is because most sperm clinics were set up years ago and most are run by men, things are changing but slowly.
Can you imagine it in years to come: "Oh yes honey here's what your biological mum looked like, here's her history, here's her phone no if you want to talk to her.
"Um, as for your biological father well he was just no.7777!!"
Thankfully we found that one clinic, so we know what both looked like and what they are like.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top