Women could be paid hundreds or even thousands of pounds to donate their eggs to infertile couples, under plans to be considered by the fertility watchdog.
Currently women can only receive loss of earnings compensation up to a limit of £250 plus reasonable expenses but the dire shortage of eggs in Britain is increasingly driving couples abroad where payments are allowed.
In America auctions are held with tens of thousands of pounds being paid for the eggs donated by highly educated and accomplished women.
Such a system is unlikely to be allowed in Britain but the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has agreed to review the current policy.
Professor Lisa Jardine, Chairman of the HFEA said: “There was a general view that the HFEA’s policy with regard to reimbursement for donors which has now been in place for two years since the introduction of the European Tissue and Cell Directive, was one that could usefully be revisited in light of what we have learned over those two years. We will not prejudge the outcome of the review that will now take place.”
Other policies that will be reviewed including whether to lower the upper age limit for sperm donors from 45 to 40, to bring it in line with guidance from fertility experts and whether the lower age limit for egg donors should be increased from 18 due to the health risks involved with female donation.
The HFEA will also consider whether the current limit on donations from one donor being used to create children for no more than ten couples should remain given the shortages of donors.
Further consideration will also be given to whether guidance or restrictions is required on intra-familial and intergenerational donation, further advice on going abroad for treatment and whether donors should be allowed to restrict donation to certain people.