Investigation Exposes IVF Abuses
The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is investigating several fertility clinics after undercover journalists from the Daily Mail accused them of exploiting couples desperate to have children.
The major allegation against the clinics visited by the undercover journalists was that women were being convinced to “donate” their eggs in return for free IVF. The journalists were encouraged to donate half their healthy eggs in return for free IVF cycles at clinics in London, Hertfordshire and County Durham.
It is illegal in the UK to sell eggs outright, to protect women from exploitation. However, HFEA guidance says that IVF centres “may compensate egg donors a fixed sum of up to £750 per cycle of donation”. It also lets clinics offer donors free or discounted treatment – worth around £3,000 a cycle.
Although women who choose to donate eggs are supposed to have extensive counselling, evidence was uncovered that only one short session was being given. Mail reporters recorded nurses saying that “an egg isn’t a baby” and “it’s just like giving blood”.
A doctor in one clinic admitted that the counselling given was so inadequate that an egg recipient who became pregnant ended up having an abortion because she could not cope with the thought of carrying another woman’s child.
The Mail says the revelations are part of a major investigation into the fertility industry.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the probe launched by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority had his full support.
SPUC. May 2.