Young British women are donating their eggs in return for money that enables them to clear their student debts, according to a report in the Sunday Times. It claims that some infertile couples are recruiting egg donors directly - rather than via a clinic - on the promise of thousands of pounds. Only a week ago it was also reported that American women were selling their eggs for up to 100,000 dollars to pay Ivy League college fees, and that some egg 'brokers' were advertising aggressively across US campuses.
Egg donors in the UK are only allowed to be paid reasonable 'expenses' when they donate eggs through clinics. But, claims the article, an increasing number of couples are placing advertisements in 'youth' magazines and those, such as the Big Issue, read by students. American clinics are allowed to advertise freely for paid donors on both sides of the Atlantic. Some are said to be offering payments of up to £10,000, especially to egg donors that are 'scarce', such as those from certain ethnic groups.
The director of the Beverly Hills based Centre for Surrogate Parenting and Egg Donation, Karen Synesiou, says that the centre is receiving an 'increasing number of inquiries from British women wanting to pay for their education'. British clinics do not support the 'trend'. Gedis Grudzinskas, director of the Bridge Fertility Centre, said that British clinics would not knowingly take eggs from paid student donors but that if a really young donor came forward 'alarm bells would start ringing'. He also said that clinics see their role as 'ensuring there is no coercion, but it is not up to us to check private arrangements for payment'.