Going Abroad For Egg Donation

Egg donation in UK clinics is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in accordance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. The rules around who can be an egg donor in the UK are very strict to protect you as the recipient, the donor-conceived child and the donor. Egg donors must:

  • be between the ages of 18 and 35
  • be willing to be screened for medical conditions
  • have no known serious medical disability or family history of hereditary disorders
  • know (or be able to find out) their immediate family medical history – children, siblings, parents and grandparents
  • agree to be registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) as a donor and be willing to be known to any child born following their donation
  • not put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • not knowingly leave out any relevant information which could affect the health of any children born as a result of their donation
  • receive implications counselling
  • NOT receive payment for donating other than compensation for expenses (up to £750 per donation cycle).

Additionally, egg donors in the UK can only donate to up to 10 families. The reasons for such controls are to provide a safe donation environment for all the parties involved so that everyone’s physical and emotional health is protected, and also to offer a clear legal framework around parenthood.

Going abroad for egg donation treatment

If you’re considering going abroad for egg donation treatment then it’s important to be aware of the following factors and how they might impact on you and your donor-conceived child’s physical and emotional wellbeing:

  • lack of stringent HFEA regulation governing donation in the country of origin (often there is no regulation or it’s very different from the HFEA system)
  • donor’s screening tests, and personal and family medical history are often not investigated as thoroughly
  • an absence of counselling for the donor may mean that they are less aware of the implications of their donation
  • many egg donors donate anonymously which means your donor-conceived child will be unable to make connections with their donor or half siblings
  • an absence of robust recording systems in some countries means that even if egg donors are willing to be identifiable, the information may not be available when you want it
  • often the decision as to which donor to use is doctor led rather than patient led
  • depending on where your egg donor is from your donor-conceived child will likely have very different features and genetic origins from you and your family.

What are your alternatives if your clinic doesn’t have any egg donors?

If your clinic doesn’t have any egg donors, you could:

  • ask someone you know such as a friend or family member to be a known egg donor for you
  • investigate alternative UK clinics with egg donor availability
  • contact an egg donor agency such as Brilliant Beginnings or Altrui.