Education And Debate

The culture of unpaid and voluntary egg donation should be strengthened

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 10 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1401
  1. Martin H Johnson, professor of reproductive sciences; member of HFEAa (
  1. a Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3DY


    It is prohibited by law to give or receive money for gametes and embryos unless authorised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The authority issued directions in respect of payments1 when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 came into effect on 1 August 1991.2 These directions permitted “monies or monies worth” to be given and received in respect of gametes only, up to a maximum of £15 per donation. The actual amount given by any licensed treatment centre was to be the rate in place at the time the act came into force. These limits also apply to payments or benefits that a treatment centre knows have been given, or will be given, through the involvement of an agency or intermediary. Thus, payment of any kind is prohibited for embryos at all treatment centres. It is also prohibited for gametes at any treatment centres which were licensed to use gametes in donation since the act came into …

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