Donor treatment involves using gametes – eggs, sperm or embryos – donated by someone else to conceive a baby. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, around 1,750 babies in the UK are born each year using donated sperm, eggs or embryos.
UK law states that donors must be willing to be identified and any child born from donated gametes has the right to apply for identifying information on the donor once they are 18 years old. It is therefore important that all parties be fully aware of the legal situation before beginning donor treatment.
Gamete donation, whether it be sperm, egg or embryo, may initially sound appealing but often evokes a wide range of emotional, social and religious thoughts. It is therefore extremely important that clinics performing such treatments provide extensive counselling to help couples to discuss, identify with and accept the issues involved in donor treatment.
Some clinics offer egg sharing programmes. Egg sharing involves a woman undertaking fertility treatment who donates some of her eggs to the clinic where she is receiving treatment. In return, the clinic can reduce the cost of fertility treatment.