Buying fertility on the internet: fair play or risky business?


Buying fertility on the internet: fair play or risky business?

Your voice is needed! On Tuesday 8 March, UCL is hosting a panel debate entitled ‘Buying fertility on the internet: fair play or risky business?’

The evening will be dedicated to the topic of accessing fertility outside of the regulated UK IVF clinics, and will feature Laura Witjens, CEO of the National Gamete Donation Trust and Lucy Van de Wiel, a Cambridge sociologist specialising in issues in fertility. Chaired by Dan Reisel, research associate at UCL’s Institute for Women’s Health, the debate will cover the pros and cons of buying fertility on the internet.

However, there is a voice missing in this debate, and that is the experience of people who have actually done this themselves. As the chair of the debate, I feel strongly that the evening would do the topic a disservice unless someone whose life had been affected by ex-clinic donations was part of the conversation.

In particular, it would be important to ensure that we had represented on the panel LGBT people and their experience of accessing fertility services. There are structural inequalities and discriminatory processes that mean that same-gender couples have to pay considerably more at present, and this is one of the main drivers for excellent internet sites such as In healthcare there is a motto, ‘no decision about me without me’ and this applies to the policy debates concerning assisted fertility as well.

The debate is free and open to the public, and will be followed by drinks at UCL’s venerable North Cloisters. Please come along to attend and, if you feel able to, please contact Dan Reisel ( if you want to join us as a panellist. Your personal story is vital and would enrich the panel immeasurably.