The changing landscape of egg donation in Europe: findings from the UK, Belgium and Spain.
By Professor Nicky Hudson
The EDNA study which looked at the social, political, economic and moral constitution of egg donation in Europe, ended recently, after 4.5 years of research. This large-scale comparative project was designed to provide a holistic overview of the changing landscape of egg donation. Here, I outline some of the main findings from the project.
Egg donation was first carried out in the early 1980s; making it almost as old as IVF itself. In the early days, egg providers were usually women undergoing treatment themselves and recipients tended to be heterosexual couples. The number of cycles carried out per year was very small and the profile of the practice – ie, one woman donating (fresh) eggs to another medically infertile woman – was how we imagine egg donation to work today. Fast forward to 2022, and the fertility treatment landscape has shifted considerably, as have the wider social norms around the use of donor eggs. One striking shift is the growth in the numbers of egg donation cycles – now over seven percent of all IVF cycles in Europe, as reported in Human Reproduction Open. Use has also expanded to include a wider range of groups: eg, gay couples using surrogacy or women experiencing age-related fertility decline
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