Should women be paid more for their eggs?

Is offering egg donors more generous compensation the answer to tackling the UK's shortage of supplies?

As the number of UK egg donors continues to decline, the fertility watchdog is considering the idea of offering women more generous compensation in a bid to increase supplies.

But the prospect has caused unsettlement among certain groups who feel that handing over more money for spare human parts may be a step too far towards using the body as a commodity.

According to one group of feminists, dubbed No2eggsploitation, paying more money could induce poor, vulnerable women to undertake ‘significant health risks’ involved with the process.

This, however, is the very reason why others think the fee should be raised.

Unlike sperm donations, which is relatively straight forward in comparison, offering eggs is a much more lengthy process, and not without its risks.

The main health concern is that a female donor may develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome after undergoing a cycle of IVF to stimulate her ovaries to release the eggs. In the most extreme cases this can be fatal.

The chair of the Human Fertilisation and Ebryology Authority (HFEA), Professor Lisa Jardine, says the situation does need to be reviewed if more women are to come forward and help tackle the chronic shortage of eggs in this country.

It has been suggested that this shortage is partly responsible for the rise in ‘fertility tourism’ from Britain.

Dr Tony Rutherford, the head of the British Fertility Society, believes any change in cash flow needs to be done with caution.

‘Higher compensation needs to be carefully considered,’ he says. ‘The women themselves would need to be very carefully selected and this certainly isn’t something we would like to see people making a career out of, doing over and over again.’

So what do you think? Is increased compensation the answer, or will this bring about a whole set of dangers and concerns? Tell us what you think by posting your comments below.

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