Should you have IVF with donor eggs abroad or in the UK?

1st December 2015 in Advice

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Many patients don’t realise that having IVF with donor eggs in the UK is even an option. Stories about the shortage of egg donors in the UK, coupled with perceived ‘cheaper’ treatment at a foreign clinic and an apparent ready supply of egg donors can make going abroad for treatment a very tempting prospect.

In the second of our special series of blogs all about egg donation, we talk about the benefits of staying in the UK for this unique treatment compared to going abroad: 

Are there really no egg donors in the UK?

At Manchester Fertility we have our own exclusive egg donors ready and waiting to donate to you right now, with no waiting lists. This is thanks to our unique and successful egg donor programme, which attracts women to donate to us either altruistically or via our egg-sharing programme. So don’t assume that there are no egg donors in the UK, you may find your local clinic can help you much sooner than you think. It’s always worth checking. 

Egg donor screening in the UK vs abroad

In the UK all egg donors are screened to the strict standards set by the HFEA, the regulatory body for egg and sperm donation and infertility treatment. Screening is extremely thorough to ensure that all sperm and eggs offered by donors for use in treatment are safe to use for both the patient and any child born. Screening at foreign clinics may not be as robust as in the UK.

Donor anonymity: for you

All UK egg donors are anonymous with regards to the patients using their eggs. Patients using donated eggs never get to meet or find out who their donor is, except for what is contained in their donor profile. This may not be the case abroad. 

Donor anonymity: for your child

Egg donors in the UK must however agree to be identifiable to any child you have. This means that your child is able to find out who their donor is when they turn 18 years old and can trace their biological origin if they want to. Foreign egg donors may instead be completely anonymous, meaning your child can never find out who helped them to be born.

Legal implications

In the UK egg donors have no legal, moral or financial responsibility for any child born. They are not the legal parent, the patient who has a baby using their eggs is the legal parent. These laws don’t govern egg donation outside the UK, so it’s vital to consider what the legal implication is of using a foreign egg donor.

Donor profile and counselling

All of our egg donors are aged 18-35 with good natural fertility, to ensure that the eggs we offer are of the highest quality. They all complete detailed personal profiles including goodwill messages, and are extensively counselled by our experts so that they’re fully prepared for the process of egg donation and completely understand what’s expected of them. All patients who use donated eggs in IVF treatment are also counselled to discuss the implications of the treatment not just for them, but for any child born. Will a foreign clinic offer this level of support for both donors and patients?

Follow up

You remain under our care throughout your whole IVF cycle, from choosing your egg donor to the transfer of embryos, pregnancy test and follow-up scan at 6-7 weeks to check for fetal heartbeat. We’re always here to reassure you and talk to you if you have any worries or concerns at any stage. This continuity of care may not happen abroad as most women will return back to the UK post embryo transfer.

If you’re considering IVF with donor eggs, why not come and see us to talk through your options and ask us any questions? Contact our dedicated Donation Team on 0161 300 2737.

Last updated: 1st December 2015