The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has indicated that it will reconsider its restrictive caps on payments to egg and sperm donors, due to donor shortages and the resulting reproductive tourism. Via the BBC:
More and more British couples are going abroad for infertility treatment since the ban on payments was introduced.
The number of women using donated eggs and sperm fell by 25% and 30% respectively between 2004 and 2006. . . .
Anonymity for sperm and egg donors was removed in 2005 - another factor thought to be behind the donor shortage.
The maximum any donor can receive in expenses is currently £250.
[HFEA head] Professor Jardine told the BBC a payment comparable to the cost of a cycle of IVF treatment - around £3,000 - might be more appropriate for women who donate eggs.
I discuss these and other shortcomings of the current U.K. fertility system in this working paper. HFEA rules requiring donor registration and limiting egg donor compensation to lost wages and reimbursable expenses have caused severe gamete shortages, and there are waiting times, the length of which vary by region, for many patients using NHS funding for fertility treatments. As a result, many British citizens pay out-of-pocket for treatment and seek less expensive fertility treatments abroad, rather than dealing with the wait lists, restrictive regulations, and other impediments to treatment in the U.K.
Issues surrounding egg and sperm donor payments in the U.S. have been a frequent topic of discussion here at The Lounge. See, for example:
And for discussions of legal controversy surrounding posthumous sperm donation and other developments in the human sperm business, see:
(HT: Jamie Boyle)